Sport Scoreboards


Sport Scoreboards

April 26, 2023

Building, operating, and maintaining athletic scoreboards requires a range of technologies, including hardware and software components.   These are central features in nearly every athletic event, governing the state of play and attendee response.   

Scoreboard Hardware: A range of hardware components, including display panels, control consoles, sound systems, and wiring, is necessary to build an athletic scoreboard.  While there are no universal standards for LED displays in athletic scoreboards, but there is a common vocabulary used by  manufacturers and installers follow to ensure quality, performance, and safety:

    • Brightness and Contrast: LED displays should be bright enough to be visible from a distance, but not so bright that they cause glare or eye strain. The contrast ratio between the LED display and the surrounding environment should be optimized for visibility.
    • Pixel Density and Resolution: The pixel density and resolution of an LED display should be appropriate for the size of the scoreboard and the viewing distance. Higher pixel density and resolution can improve the clarity and detail of the scoreboard display.
    • Color Accuracy: Athletic scoreboards often display team colors and logos, so color accuracy is important. LED displays should be capable of reproducing colors accurately and consistently.
    • Refresh Rate: The refresh rate of an LED display refers to how quickly the display can update its image. A higher refresh rate can reduce motion blur and improve the clarity of fast-moving action on the scoreboard.
    • Environmental Factors: Athletic scoreboards are often exposed to outdoor elements such as sunlight, rain, and extreme temperatures. LED displays should be designed and manufactured to withstand these environmental factors and maintain their performance over time.
    • Safety: Athletic scoreboards should be designed and installed to minimize the risk of injury to players or spectators. This may include factors such as the height and location of the scoreboard, the durability of the display panels, and the strength of mounting hardware.

Power Reliability.  Event timing and attendee emergency egress systems rest upon best practice found in Chapter 2 and Chapter 7 of NFPA 70 National Electrical Code and NFPA 110 Standard for Emergency and Standby Power Systems.

Lightning Protection.  CLICK HERE for our coverage of the “30-30 Rule”

Operation and Maintenance Safety.  Because so many scoreboards are occupiable the Chapter 3 Occupancy Classification and Chapter 10 (Means of Egress) of the International Building Code applies.  Many are several stories high requiring attention to stairway construction details.

Control Software: Software that enables the scoreboard operator to input game data and control the scoreboard display is essential. 

Mass Notification: Egress and Evacuation requirements are asserted in NFPA 72 – National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code. 

Audio Standards: lorem ipsum

Wireless Communications: Many modern athletic scoreboards use wireless communication systems to connect the scoreboard control console to the scoreboard display. This allows for greater flexibility in installation and reduces the need for cabling.

LED Technology: LED technology has revolutionized athletic scoreboards in recent years. LED displays offer superior brightness, color accuracy, and energy efficiency compared to traditional scoreboards but must conform to local night-sky regulations.

Power Management Systems: Athletic scoreboards require significant amounts of power to operate, and efficient power management systems are necessary to ensure reliable and continuous operation.  Maintaining temperatures — heating and cooling within specification — is a priority for maximum operable life.

Maintenance and Diagnostic Tools: To maintain and troubleshoot athletic scoreboards, specialized tools and software are necessary. This may include diagnostic software, specialized cables, and other testing equipment.

Overall, the technologies required to build, operate, and maintain athletic scoreboards are diverse and constantly evolving. A range of specialized hardware and software components, as well as skilled technicians, are necessary to ensure that athletic scoreboards remain functional and reliable.

Join us today at 11 AM/ET (15:00 UTC) when we review best practice literature.  Open to everyone.  Use the login credentials at the upper right of our home page.   This topic is also tracked by experts in the IEEE Education & Healthcare Facilities Committee which meets online 4 times monthly in Central European and American time zones and is also open to everyone.


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