By Mike Harrington
The Buffalo Bisons announced roughly $500,000 in improvements to Coca-Cola Field today, with a new sound system to replace the dated version that has been in house since the ballpark's 1988 opening and the installation of new LED message boards on the facing of the club level down both baselines.
Both features will be ready for Opening Day, April 3 against the Rochester Red Wings.
The 120-speaker Distributed Sound System was approved and funded by the city's Capital Program to replace the centralized sound system that had been in place. It has a price tag of over $300,000 and will send music and public address sound throughout the park much more evenly than in the past. Speakers used to be only located in the center field scoreboard and weather, especially wind, impacted the sound quality. The new system has just three speakers in the scoreboard and the other 117 around the park.
The Bisons are footing the roughly $225,000 bill for the LED boards, which will be 50 feet long and 2 1/2 feet high. They will also take care of a major pet peeve I've always had: The score not being on display between innings because it comes off the center field board. The boards will feature real-time game statistics and out of town scores.
"Providing the absolute best ballpark experience has always been our number one goal and these two additions are great compliments to the action on the field," Jonathan A. Dandes, President of Rich Baseball Operations, said in a statement issued by the team. "The sound system will allow us to reach every fan in the ballpark with crisp and clear music and public address announcements, while the new message boards will be loaded with timely statistical and player information to enhance the baseball experience."