Holman to add new scoreboard

NASHUA – Holman Stadium and the Nashua Silver Knights are set to enter the video era this spring.

Wednesday night the city’s finance committee unanimously approved the expenditure of $173,000 out of a stadium event fund to purchase a new scoreboard/video board/sound system for Holman Stadium to be installed in April.

“I’m excited,” Nashua Parks/Recreation Superintendent Nick Caggiano said. “We’re going into the 21st century with our scoreboard. … I think the stadium is going to come alive.”

The Telegraph reported back in the fall that the city and the Silver Knights – the stadium’s main tenant of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League – were in final discussions about a new scoreboard.

“It’s just been a continuous conversation with the city and Mayor Donchess,” Silver Knights general manager Ronnie Wallace said. “It’s not just for us, it’s for everyone and all the other events that go on here.”

According to Caggiano, ever since the professional American Defenders of New Hampshire baseball team left Holman in 2009, all the proceeds the city took in from stadium rentals and the lease payments from the Nashua Silver Knights went into an “event fund” that is not part of the city’s operating budget. There was, he said, approximately $300,000 in the account.

“It’s like a trust,” he said. “It’s built up over the years. Even with this payment, we’re still going to have over $100,000 in the account.”

Meanwhile, to aid the financial effort, Silver Knights owner Drew Weber has already paid the lease for the 2017 and 2018 seasons, adding $56,000 to help pay for the scoreboard. The team has a rollover lease agreement with the city, where it’s renewable on a yearly basis.

“Drew sent us a double payment,” Caggiano said, “as part of his way of saying, ‘I’m committed to Nashua.’ That helped pay for the scoreboard. … The key was this wasn’t affecting our operating budget. The money was put away for this reason.”

According to Wallace, the new board/sound system will open up a new world for the team and its fans.

“It will improve our fan experience exponentially,” he said. “Different things that we can do. The video is great but I think the thing that makes me most happy is the new sound system. If you’re sitting by the press box (with the current system), it’s too loud.

“We can now display people’s tweets and instagrams to get people more engaged with us during the game.”

The board, purchased from a family-run company in Mansfield, Mass., Scoreboard Enterprises, Inc., actually will have three components: The scoreboard, inning-by-inning and ball-strike-out component that is on the current board, and then a video board on top, and on the bottom is where the stadium sound system will be based. There will no longer be speakers in the stadium. The company came up in October and demonstrated the sound system.

“There was incredible quality,” Wallace said.

“It’s going to be night and day from what we’ve had,” Caggiano said.

The video component opens a lot of avenues, according to Wallace and Caggiano. For the first couple of years, the team and the city will be working with pre-recorded video before venturing into live video. There will be the ability to have player profiles for high school and Silver Knights players. Caggiano said that there’s even the chance movies can be played on the board to allow the city to have “drive-in movie nights” at the stadium.

A live video component can be added down the road, Caggiano said, “for not a lot of cost.” Wallace and Caggiano said that would have to include camera equipment, a production crew, etc.

“It didn’t make sense at this time but it’s something we could do in the future,” Caggiano said. “This thing is going to be there for the next 20-25 years.”

Caggiano and Wallace said the existing pole structure that holds up the current board will be used. Caggiano hopes to have the system ready for the high school baseball season.

“I think it would be so cool to have high school player profiles up on the board,” he said.

The old board had been a source of problems at Holman for the last few years with outages and other issues. The message board was rendered unusable the last four years and there is no replacement equipment available, Caggiano said. Thus the board will be used as sale-ready recycled scrap metal at the city landfill. Some parts of the sound system, Caggiano said, could also be sold.

The company that the video board is being purchased from has come, according to Caggiano, highly recommended from colleges around New England.

The board purchase caps off a steady stream of improvements the city has made in Holman. Both dugouts have been rennovated, the warning track surface has been replaced, as has the wood in the lower outfield wall.

“We’ve made some investments in the stadium, it’s been good,” Caggiano said.

“We have video now,” Wallace said. “It’s 2017. It just adds that whole new aspect of the entertainment value of our organization. We try to mirror ourselves after a minor league organization and this is the next step.”