Baseball fans will notice a big difference in Riley Park this season.
New video boards at Riley Park
New show at the Joe
Video board: 23 x 42 feet
Scoreboard: 6 x 45 feet
The ballpark has added a new video board and new scoreboard that will be on display for the first time Friday when The Citadel faces Samford at 6 p.m.
The main video board in right field is one of the largest in minor league baseball, measuring 23 feet high and 42 feet wide. With more than one million LED lamps, it will provide a 30 percent higher image quality than displays at most major league and minor league ballparks.
The new scoreboard in left field measures 6 feet by 45 feet and offers more video capabilities than the previous scoreboard.
The price tag for the project - a joint venture between the city of Charleston, the Charleston RiverDogs and The Citadel - came to about $500,000, said RiverDogs general manager Dave Echols.
"We analyze the game day experience for our fans every game, every season, every off-season, and we try to figure out ways to enhance and improve it," said Echols, pointing out that the park opened in 1997.
Echols said the new scoreboard will continue to serve fans with the game's line score but also can be converted, with the click of a mouse, to serve as an additional message board.
"Now we have a board in left field and a board in right field that can act as ways to enhance the fans' experience when they are sitting there at the game," Echols said.
Citadel baseball coach Fred Jordan is impressed with the new additions to the ballpark.
"The technology is unbelievable and I know that the team is thrilled to have it. We believe that it will be very popular with our fans and it will enhance our entire program," Jordan said.
The new boards are the most visible changes, but additional technological additions are expected to make the games at Riley Park more exciting for spectators. Video cameras have been installed around the park that will allow instant replays and closed circuit broadcasts in the suites.
Echols said the new technology features a learning curve and the full capabilities will not be on display before the RiverDogs' season opener April 7. "We're hoping to shorten that (learning) curve for as few Citadel games as possible," Echols said.
"We will use Citadel games to fine-tune our skills, and as the RiverDogs season starts and when the Southern Conference Tournament rolls in (May 20-25), we expect to be operating without any glitches."