FBS vs FCS Video Boards (Slideshow)

Along with new stadiums and major renovations, a common upgrade to the NCAA football experience nowadays is installing a bigger stadium scoreboard screen. The scoreboards in FBS are predictably much bigger than in FCS.

Texas – Darrell K Royal–Texas Memorial Stadium

But are boards getting bigger? And is it helping increase attendance? Yes and maybe.

New Stadium Screen Sizes and Average Since 2001

Nearly two-thirds of NCAA Division I stadiums have upgraded their scoreboard screens since 2001, and the sizes of them keep getting bigger. Each blue mark on the chart represents a new board, and as you can see from the red line, the average size has skyrocketed from around 500 square feet in 2001 to nearly 4,300 square feet in 2012.

Percentage of Capacity Increase & Decrease Before & After New Screen

Size doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to draw more fans. Looking at the average game attendance the years before and after a new screen is installed, there are a few teams that increase attendance a great deal, a few that drop, but most are stable.

Miami – Sun Life Stadium

When we examine stadium size, however, we can see that there’s more inherent risk for smaller teams and stadiums.

Percentage of Capacity Increase Decrease Before and After New Screen Compared with Stadium Size

Of course scoreboard screen size isn’t the only thing driving home attendance – that team on the far left, past 30% in the chart, went 8-4 the year before their new screen was installed and 2-9 in the year after.

Percentage of Capacity Increase Decrease Before and After New Screen By Year

As you can see, there’s been a slight increase in the average attendance gain in the last ten years, going from about -3% to +2%, but not the shift we would expect to see if technology was having a tremendous impact on attendance.

Arkansas – Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium

Finally, is there any evidence that bigger screens are drawing more fans now than they did ten years ago? Since fans have increasingly been able to watch games in more comfort on bigger screens at home, does having a bigger screen in the stadium counteract this draw? Not really.
Article posted on February 1, 2013