Pending local approval, fans attending Pittsburgh Pirates spring training or Bradenton Mauraders (High A; Florida State League) games can expect a new scoreboard at McKechnie Field.
McKechnie Field recently underwent an extensive overhaul, but the scoreboard was one amenity that was left unaddressed. Certainly a new board would receive plenty of action over the course of spring and summer, but cost has been the issue to this point for both the team and Bradenton officials.
Under the current proposal, the Pirates would pay $1 million to have a new scoreboard installed in time for Spring Training 2017. That cost would then be reimbursed by the Manatee County Tourism Council, which has already recommended that county commissioners approve the project. More from the Bradenton Herald:
The agreement guarantees the city’s responsibility for all costs over the estimated $1 million recommended by the Manatee County Tourist Development Council last month. The Manatee County Board of Commissioners will have the final say when they vote on the recommendation. That vote is expected July 26 or the first week of August.
City administrator Carl Callahan said the city worked in partnership with the TDC, which expressed interest in funding a project the Pirates organization has desired for years, but funds were not available during the $10 million renovation project in 2013.
“The biggest fan complaint we receive is that fans in the stand can’t see the lineups, videos and more,” said Callahan. “We all knew a scoreboard would be an expensive item and no one had the money at the time the field was expanded years ago.”
Callahan said the new scoreboard would likely be installed in left-center field for optimal fan viewing.
The county is expected to reach its decision by either late July or early August.