The St. Louis Cardinals have announced a series of necessary upgrades to Busch Stadium, the team’s home since 2006: new videoboards and ribbon boards, beefed-up WiFi and suite overhauls.
Busch Stadium, the third Cardinals ballpark to sport that name, hasn’t been seriously updated since the 2006 opening. With technology upgrades increasingly affordable due to dropping prices — the Cardinals are spending $8 million on the upgrade package, less than the cost of a starting pitcher — changes like this are being played out at almost every MLB ballpark. For example, the Chicago White Sox are similarly upgrading video displays at U.S. Cellular Field for 2016 at a similar price ($7.3 million) as well.
The changes at Busch Stadium are already underway. The old scoreboards in center-field are gone, to be replaced with two high-def LED videoboards more than doubling the size of viewable space, with twice the resolution and brightness of the old scoreboards.
Interestingly, competition with the Chicago Cubs was cited as a reason for the videoboard upgrades, per MLB.com:
“We’ll be right up there with the best of them now,” said Joe Abernathy, vice president of stadium operations for the Cardinals. “It’s amazing how technology has evolved in 10 short years. Technology has progressed considerably since we put this in back in April 2006.
“But we did get upset actually when the Cubs had a better videoboard than us. Especially with how it ended [in the National League Division Series] and all they’re doing now, we don’t want to be sitting behind the Cubs in anything.”
And, as is usually the case, high-def ribbon boards and a new control room will be part of the equation.
Other changes on tap include an upgraded WiFi system that should support all gameday patrons and upgrades to some suites and lower-level seating areas. This isn’t actually a new initiative: the Cards had worked on a WiFi upgrade last season that ran into some issues.