Log In

Reset Password
News Education Local News Nation & World New Mexico

Fort Lewis College hopes interactive scoreboard will fire up sports crowds

Video display can show ads, replays and player profiles
Fort Lewis College Director of Athletics Travis Whipple, right, and FLC Deputy Athletic Director Mike Knipe talk about the college’s newest scoreboard on Friday, Feb. 16, 2024, that sits on the southeast corner of the football field. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

Fort Lewis College has what it hopes will be a new tool to boost recruitment, enhance the student-athlete experience and fire up crowds during football games.

A 28-foot by 28-foot scoreboard installed last fall on the southeast corner of Ray Dennison Memorial Field displays all the relevant data points of a game, including teams that are playing, their scores, what down it is, number of yards remaining for a first down, number of timeouts remaining and time remaining on the game clock.

But it also features a massive video display that can show replays, hype videos and advertisements for sponsors. The video compatibility also allows game day organizers to engage crowds during intermissions, including the possibility of hosting fan competitions at halftime.

“We’re striving to have the best game environment,” said Travis Whipple, director of athletics at FLC. “We’ve seen some awesome increases in fan attendance and participation, and I think elements like this just continue to take it to another level.”

Fort Lewis College’s newest scoreboard was installed last fall on the southeast corner of the football field. (Courtesy of Fort Lewis College)

The $157,000 scoreboard was paid for entirely by four corporate sponsors, including Bank of Colorado, the Bronson Family McDonald’s, Coca-Cola of Durango and CommonSpirit Mercy Hospital, according to the college.

Because the scoreboard was installed midseason last year, not all of its possible features have been put to use. Likewise, it has not yet featured a winning score for the Skyhawks football team, which went 0-11 last year.

Whipple said the scoreboard is part of the college’s larger goal to enhance athletic facilities. It replaces a traditional digital scoreboard that didn’t include any video components.

“Our setting is the most beautiful in all of Division II, and we really wanted to make this upgrade and innovation to our game environment,” he said. “… It’s something that Fort Lewis students, faculty, staff, alumni and fans in the community will all benefit from.”

The video display includes 115,000 pixels and is full color. It will also be used for lacrosse games and other FLC activities, possibly movie nights.

“We’re finding that we continue to have more and more uses for such a video board on campus,” Whipple said.

A new scoreboard on the southeast corner of Dennison field at Fort Lewis College is 28-feet by 28-feet in size. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)
Fort Lewis College Director of Athletics Travis Whipple, right, and FLC Deputy Athletic Director Mike Knipe look at the scoreboard that was installed last fall. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

Skyhawks football coach Johnny Cox said facility upgrades such as the scoreboard help the athletic department on multiple levels: It raises the energy level at games, which makes more people want to attend; it signals that the college and the community value the game day experience, which can help with recruitment; and it allows companies to advertise during games, which raises money for the program and makes other potential supporters want to become involved, he said.

“The replay portion of it and then being able to highlight different players – they’re going to really enjoy that,” Cox said.

The college also plans to integrate an outdoor sound system with the new scoreboard, he said.

A beer garden has proved to be “extremely” popular during games, he said, and now fans can watch highlights while enjoying the beer garden.

“As we keep improving our facilities, it is going to continue to make our recruiting and experience for student athletes that much better,” Cox said.

Whipple encouraged students and community members to check out a Skyhawks game – regardless of the sport – if they haven’t done so in a while, because the experience may be different and more exciting than they remember.

“We’re grateful for the community support, whether it be through projects like this or just coming up to attend the game,” Whipple said. “Every fan that comes up is so meaningful for us.”


Reader Comments