By: Mike Stone
Comerica Park and Ford Field are arguably two of Detroit’s most well known attractions and with good reason. The side by side stadiums provide entertainment for approximately 4 million fans every year, they are clean, modern, have terrific sight lines(especially Ford Field) and have two of the best scoreboards in sports. But it is those scoreboards and the way they are used that drive me nuts. I attended a Lions and Tigers game the last two weekends and came away shaking my head at the waste of a resource those scoreboards are.
At Ford Field there are two beautiful video boards that are each 27 x 96. The quality of the high definition video is excellent, but that is not the problem. It is how the video is used. Most replays take up just half the screen with the replay sponsor’s logo bordering both sides of the replay. Then when they do show replays it is usually not the network telecast, so the fans at Ford Field do not get the same pictures the folks at home are seeing. I thought Roger Goodell wants to make the in game experience better for the paying customer than the guy sitting at home. I do give the Lions some credit, because usually they will show controversial calls on the board, especially when the referees are under the hood checking out to see if a call should be overturned.
That’s more than I can say for Comerica Park and their gorgeous scoreboard and it is spectacular. The structure is almost 6100 square feet and the LED system provides the clearest video I have ever seen at a ballpark, but in my opinion it is not used properly. Yes, the Kiss Cam, commercials, and crowd shots look superb but it could be so much more. The other night there were at least two fly balls that were misplayed by the Orioles where we got no replay. This is not an aberration. I understand the Tigers may have to abide by MLB rules by not showing controversial plays, but there should be at least one replay of every scoring play, error, and great play by EITHER team. Fans pay too much money to constantly text people at home to ask what happened on a particular play.
Both Ford Field and Comerica Park provide their fans with great video boards. It’s incumbent on them to use them to the benefit of the most important people in their stadiums, their fans.