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Chicago Sun-Times

It has been a busy summer for the athletic department as it works to upgrade the game-day experience for fans.

Having already announced upgrades to the video screens at Ryan Field, the university is expected to announce on Wednesday the addition of four high-definition video boards at Welsh-Ryan Arena, a source said.

A two-sided video display will be hung in the center of the arena, with the screens measuring 300 square feet. On the east and west ends of the arena, 238-square-foot video boards will be mounted on the walls.

Installation is expected to begin this month after the university's graduation ceremonies.

Currently, men's and women's basketball, volleyball and wrestling compete in Welsh-Ryan Arena.

Northwestern's previous scoreboard had multiple components to its display. With the new boards, all components are integrated onto a single screen.

The upgrades come at a time when both basketball teams are on the upswing. Both men's coach Chris Collins and women's coach Joe McKeown have proven adept at recruiting.

On the women's side, McDonald's All-American Nia Coffey averaged 15.3 points per game as a freshman.

Collins is set to welcome this summer what is widely considered the best recruiting class in the history of the program.

While both coaches have sustained success in recruitment, these new upgrades should help to attract even more talent.

At Ryan Field, the university announced that it will install a video board that is nearly 1,100 square feet and add LED ribbon boards overlooking both end zones.

"This is an exciting announcement for members of the Northwestern Football family and another indication of our commitment to providing the best possible game-day experience for fans and guests of Chicago's Big Ten Team," football coach Pat Fitzgerald said in a statement on Monday. "Initiatives of this magnitude don't happen without the hard work of many individuals across campus and the support of our terrific fan base, so I'd like to thank all those who played a role in making these video-board upgrades a reality. We can't wait for our fans to join us in experiencing an enhanced game day atmosphere when we take the field against the [California] Golden Bears on Aug. 30."


Twitter: @SethGruen


June 11, 2014


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