Like one gigantic flatscreen TV, the high dynamic range PhanaVision Philadelphia Phillies scoreboard projects crystal clear images over Citizens Bank Park, a 43,000-seat stadium in Philadelphia. At half the length of a football field and 9 stories tall, the sign is among the largest stadium scoreboards around—large enough to display 516 life-size Phillie Phanatics (the Phillies’ mascot) simultaneously, according to MLB.com. It weighs in at nearly 120,000 pounds and is supported by 190 tons of structural steel. It’s also 77% larger than the one it replaced for opening day 2023.
Fans were ecstatic when the Phillies entered the playoffs for the 2022 World Series. This added two months to their season and a slew of home games. But that good fortune shortened the installation timeline for the new scoreboard in equal measure.
“The end date wasn’t moving,” said Dave Morris, project manager for Hatzel & Buehler Inc., Wilmington, Del., which installed the branch circuitry and fiber optic pathways supplying power to the scoreboard’s controls and lighting. “You can’t have an opening day without a scoreboard.”
The fact that the scoreboard was ready and code compliant for opening day all had to do with a strong working relationship between Hatzel & Buehler and Carr & Duff, Huntington Valley, Pa. Both electrical contractors have operations in the Philadelphia area.
“Basically, this was possible because of our ability to coordinate together, our commitment to getting people trained to handle this kind of work, but also teaching people to work with other trades,” said Matt McColgan, project manager for Carr & Duff.
Carr & Duff assigned 9–10 electricians to disconnect light fixtures, install new interior vapor-tight LED fixtures and exterior color-changing LED architectural floodlights, and make extensive modifications to the existing electrical infrastructure supporting the scoreboard.
Setting up the new electrical system required:
- Adding several new 30-, 225-, 300- and 500-kVa transformers
- Extending feeders
- Installing new raceways and circuits for powering the scoreboard’s lights, its broadcast and security cameras, control panels and even its cooling fans
“The scoreboard can operate in cold, but it can’t get too hot. It has to have ventilation,” McColgan said.
Besides the new feeders supplying the new Daktronics scoreboard controllers, Carr & Duff installed related breaker enclosures. They also supplied temporary power with multiple distribution points and voltages to all the trades called in for the project, including ironworkers and mechanical contractors, roofers and other laborers.
Bluestone Communications, a subsidiary of Hatzel & Buehler based in Folcroft, Pa., completed the low-voltage work and fiber optic portion of the project, installing around 300 circuit boards and several miles of fiber optic cable.
“At peak, we had 16 to 20 guys working two, 10- to 12-hour shifts,” Morris said. Much of that work took place on the narrow catwalks inside the sign, amid other tradesmen as well as Daktronics technicians overseeing installation of the sign’s controls.
A wintery homestretch to opening season also included bouts of cold, blustery weather. Technicians began testing the scoreboard just a few days before the season opener. “Seeing the colors come up on the board gave a real sense of relief,” Morris said.
With the scoreboard fully functioning for games, McColgan said, “There’s just so much clarity, incredible detail. If a coach or player or somebody isn’t happy with a play, you can just about read their minds.”
Morris and McColgan said the project instilled pride in workmanship but also a sense of accomplishment for having worked in concert with so many people.
“There’s just a sense of pride,” Morris said. “We can look up and say, “Hey, look what we were a part of.”
Header image: The Philadelphia Phillies scoreboard now projects crystal clear images over Citizens Bank Park, thanks to the work of two electrical contractors. Photo by Dave Morris, project manager for Hatzel & Buehler Inc.