New 50-foot video board installed in Matthews Arena


Dylan Shen

The new Matthews Arena scoreboard was installed in early December.

Samuel Kim, news correspondent

After a rebrand in fall 2018, Northeastern Athletics took another step forward by installing a new video scoreboard in Matthews Arena. The new scoreboard, which is one of the largest in New England, was installed in late December and got its first use in early January.

The sides of the scoreboard are 13.5 feet high by 50 feet wide, while the endcaps, which face the ends of the arena, measure 9.5 feet high by 13.5 feet wide. Two new ribbon displays at each end of the arena measure three feet high by 30 feet wide.

Josh Lifton, associate director of athletics video productions, said the new scoreboard is a marked improvement from the old scoreboard installed in 2009.

“[The old scoreboard] was very small and the pixel pitch was terrible,” Lifton said, referring to the space between each pixel. “You could kind of see images and replays. Text was a real struggle to put up there, so it was very clear even early on that we kind of missed the mark on it and wanted to do something better when the time came.”

The new scoreboard can display videos and text in high definition; It boasts a six-millimeter pixel pitch. Lifton said this new scoreboard is on par with high-end scoreboards in professional arenas such as TD Garden.

Northeastern Athletics also added a new and improved sound system. The old system made it difficult for fans to hear PA audio, videos and music due to poor acoustics caused by the wooden roof and concrete floors. The new one was specifically designed to accommodate those obstacles.

The whole process, starting from taking down the old scoreboard to installing and testing the new one, took approximately four months. Deconstruction of the old scoreboard began in mid- August. The hoist, which lowers and raises the scoreboard, was installed during Thanksgiving break. In early December, construction teams brought in the skeleton of the scoreboard, and by Dec. 20, the board was up in the rafters and undergoing testing.  

Talene Pomfret, associate director of marketing and game day experience, said the increase in image, video and sound quality has allowed the athletics department to produce and display engaging content that improves the fan experience.

“We have really tried to utilize the features of the new scoreboard including how big it is for the game day experience,” said Pomfret. “Something that we tried to do is mixing and matching content. We have social media going on in one spot while video goes in another and stats on a different spot.”

This new content can be anything from high-quality replays of game action to entertaining videos that feature the players themselves. During games, fans can use #HowlinHuskies to submit their photos to be displayed on the board as part of a continuous social media feed.

The new scoreboard has also improved the game experience for the players themselves, including Jeremy Davies, a junior defender on the men’s hockey team.

“I think the new scoreboard adds a lot to our rink,” Davies said. “It gives us a lot of energy knowing it’s up there. We already feel so fortunate to play in historic Matthews Arena so this is a huge bonus. It was a cool and special experience to play under it the first time, so we’re really excited to play under it moving forward.”

Davies and his teammates also enjoyed engaging with fans through the fun videos and trivia questions displayed on the scoreboard during the games.

“I think the fans love the videos,” Davies said. “We’ve done a lot of them. There will also be questions like ‘What do you think so and so player’s favorite food is?’ posted on the board during a TV timeout, which the fans can respond to and vote for through text. It gets them to know us a bit.”

Lifton said the scoreboard allows fans to have the best experience possible when they visit Matthews.

“Matthews is such a historic barn,” Lifton said. “With the Bruins and the Celtics starting here and Hobey Baker playing here, there’s a lot of appeal for people to come here. We’re trying to maintain as much of that feel as possible while bringing in another aspect to hold their engagement. We want to help them appreciate the talent of our student-athletes on the court and the ice.”

Pomfret said the video board ultimately helps the athletics department accomplish Athletics Director Jeff Konya’s goal to create a unique athletics experience for everyone at Northeastern.  

“At the end of the day, we’re here for the student-athletes and students to create the best experience for them,” Pomfret said. “If this enhances it, that’s great.”