Swarbrick says JumboTron decision still pending
Matthew DeFranks | Sunday, February 9, 2014
Video will be part of the planned Notre Dame Stadium renovations but Irish Director of Athletics Jack Swarbrick said the University had not decided in what capacity — JumboTron, broadband improvements or something else.
As part of the newly announced Campus Crossroads Project, Notre Dame Stadium will receive a larger scoreboard on the south side. Swarbrick said the video element of the scoreboard would evolve as part of the stadium planning.
“As we said in the FAQs [of the Campus Crossroads Project], we’re committed to delivering a better experience to our fans,” Swarbrick said. “That’s got to have a broadband element to it. Got to be able to deliver better in-game data. And it’s got to have a video element to it.”
Swarbrick said concourse video was inevitable but the University needs to figure out what video is part of the stadium experience and what is delivered to devices like smart phones.
“You ought to stay connected to the game,” he said. “When you’re in the concourse before the game, you ought to get the pregame elements on it. It’s all about keeping you connected to what’s happening with the game.”
Notre Dame’s annual Shamrock Series game has allowed the Irish to use JumboTrons during games and Swarbrick said some fans’ views have changed on video boards.
“That wasn’t our intent but we recognized we’re going to use video boards there,” Swarbrick said. “It was an opportunity to show people how we would use them. We have done that all for University programming. We don’t do any advertising. People have really enjoyed it. The way we have been able to feature elements of the University, professors and their successes and some of the programs we do, it’s great.”
Swarbrick said the Shamrock Series has taught him about the role video could play in promoting the University. Given Notre Dame’s changing home crowd from game to game, Swarbrick said the University could benefit from video.
“We need to use that opportunity to talk about Notre Dame, to show the ‘What would you fight for?’ ads, to inform people about the mass schedule at the Basilica, to just tell the history of Notre Dame, to honor the professors and students who do remarkable things and the Shamrock Series has really proved to me our ability to do that,” he said.
Despite the seemingly successful test runs at the Shamrock Series, fans have still pushed back against the idea of a JumboTron.
“People are very protective of the environment, as they should be,” Swarbrick said. “This is a unique game day experience and because it’s so special and unique, you’ve got to be sensitive to that. You can’t let those traditions be obstacles to any change. But as you approach change, you have to be very mindful of them and ask yourself, ‘Does it impact it?’
Swarbrick said he does not think a video board takes away from the tradition of Notre Dame Stadium.
“I don’t think Fenway Park is less iconic because of video,” Swarbrick said. “I don’t think Lambeau Field is less iconic because of video. I don’t think Wrigley Field will be now that it’s adding video. The Rose Bowl, the experience was enhanced by it. Of that small list of stadia in America that are in that league, the experience appears to not compromised tradition at all.”