— Bally Sports Sun: Rays (@BallyRays) May 17, 2023
“Mets’ nightmare night hits new low with Citi Field video board malfunction,” was the headline in the Post. Harsh but fair? Picture it: the Mets are down 6-1. An $86 million pitcher back from injury has been booed off the field after Rays batters hit six runs in five innings. The folks in the stands are already wound up. Then the scoreboard goes out, play is delayed, and when the giant screen finally reboots, the Rays logo fills it from edge to edge.
The hometown crowd starts booing the scoreboard!
Nobody installing (or operating!) a scoreboard wants their installation to get that kind of notice. Preventing failures is core to any kind of mission-critical project. And while you might not consider scoreboards or signage at a stadium to be ‘mission critical’ in the same way you might think it is at the Pentagon, a broadcast failure, or a game delay caused by, say, a dead scoreboard can quickly add up to millions in lost revenue. And, let’s be honest, nobody wants angry fans asking themselves why they bother to make the trip to the stadium when they could have stayed home and switched the channel to Netflix.
Let’s be honest, whether you call it force majeure or an Act of God, stuff happens. You can work diligently with your installer to engineer reliable systems that eliminate single points of failure from the start. And things can still go wrong, even if you have maintenance contracts, train all your techs, and keep spares in-house ready to swap in when a critical tool fails.
That’s why we advise everyone to make a plan. It’s something the team over at CTI discusses in depth in “Prep for Scoreboard Failure Before it Happens.” That came out after SoFi Stadium’s scoreboard went black, minutes before the kickoff of a Cowboys-Chargers game. The seven-point checklist in that article is a good place to start figuring out -your- plan before you need it!
It’s doubtful we’ll ever find out what caused the glitch on the Mets scoreboard this week. It’s guaranteed that whatever it was, the team at Citi Field is working hard to prevent it from ever happening again, or, at the very least, that the Mets logo shows up every time the system reboots. Trust us, they hate being booed as much as the players on the field.