Field-level LED signage coming to MLB -- but with restrictions
Duke and North Carolina meeting in the Final Four? What’s next, the DH in the National League, or a reality-show star as a global leader? To paraphrase Hunter S. Thompson, it hasn’t gotten weird enough for me -- yet.
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“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work" -- Thomas Edison.
Just when you thought there couldn’t be more signage -- virtual or otherwise -- on and around MLB diamonds, the league is allowing new sorts of ads in the field of play. We aren’t referring to the forthcoming ads on uniforms and batting helmets. Nope. This one has nothing to do with the CBA, which ended the 99-day lockout.
In a February memo, MLB told its teams that beginning this season, they were permitted to install “field-level LED signage" behind home plate and attached to the dugout facings. That will allow better looking ads and messaging to be changed easily and on the fly.
It will be interesting to see how much color and animation, if any, is allowed with the new LED signage. MLB’s instructions state the field-level LEDs “should only be used for static graphics during game play; animations are prohibited during game play.”
In the early days of MLB behind-the-plate signage, umpires stopped games to cover up signs, especially those that were too white and could potentially obscure balls hit into the field of play. MLB now says graphics "should be produced on dark backgrounds only," and any use of the color white -- like large lettering or logos -- "must include a minimum shading 20% black/grayscale."
Mets to be first MLB team to test LED signs behind the plate
Thus far, the only team we know to be taking advantage of the new policy is the Mets, installing a raft of new LED signage as part of a large sponsorship with Samsung that will eventually see them replacing the massive center-field scoreboard at Citi Field next season. Signage integration company ANC last year tested LEDs behind the plate with the AAA Syracuse Mets and a spokesman said the company has already installed camera-visible LED displays behind home plate at seven D-I schools.
“I would call these a test, but it’s certainly something clubs have been asking for,” said MLB CRO Noah Garden, who confirmed the Mets will be the first team with camera-visible LED signage. “It’s just a better sign, and it gives the ability to change out messaging quicker at at a time sponsor messaging is changing it more rapidly than ever. We want to get clubs something which can increase their revenue, but at the same time, it’s equally, if not more important, to make sure this isn’t affecting the quality of play."
Read the full story in Sports Business Journal.