FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Thousands of TinCaps fans are expected to get an improved experience during the 2020 season as upgrades to video and audio equipment are approved.
The Fort Wayne TinCaps staff has started working with Bluffton-based Neoti to replace it’s large video board with a high definition board. The current board was installed ahead of the 2009 season and replacement parts are getting more difficult to come by.
“We had a good run with those video boards,” TinCaps President, Mike Nutter said in a press release Monday. “Over the course of almost 800 TinCaps games, and hundreds more non-baseball events, the boards had just run the course of their useful life. All three were a part of the ballpark’s original construction in 2008 and parts for maintenance have become nearly impossible to find. It was time to replace them and we’re excited about the new possibilities for the fan experience with the upgrade to HD.”
Other improvements include the replacement of two smaller video boards along the outfield wall.
“Neoti is excited to partner with the Fort Wayne TinCaps to upgrade the LED Displays at Parkview Field.” Neoti President and CEO, Derek Myers said. “Having completed projects throughout the nation, we are looking forward to a great new partnership right here in Northeast Indiana. We recognize the standard that has been set by the TinCaps and the City of Fort Wayne with Parkview Field, and it is our honor and goal to exceed expectations with our LED Video Display products and services.”
A major overhaul will happen behind the scenes in the press box as well. Video broadcasting control equipment will be updated, much of which has been in place since the ballpark was built. New cameras will also help capture and project much improved video to fans in the stands and people watching at home.
The improvements total more than $1.3 million and will be paid for through the ballpark’s maintenance fund. That money is accumulated in part through tickets, the stadium naming rights and contributions from the team’s owner Hardball Capital. That fund was at $2.1 million before the request was made. Director of Redevelopment Nancy Townsend expects about $300,000 will be generated in the fund in 2020.
The need for the new video boards was expected to be met in 2020 but was requested early, in part because of tariffs on the equipment coming from overseas. The expected cost could have spiked.
The team was approved last year to begin the process of replacing speakers around Parkview Field. Sweetwater company All Pro Integrated Systems was picked to handle the task and began work once the 2019 season wrapped up. The improved sound system is expected to be tuned up and ready to debut fully with the completion of the video work early next year.
“We’ve been a part of a wide variety of audio and video projects across the United States, but this one is extra special,” Don Banowetz, All Pro Integrated Systems President added. “Parkview Field has established itself as one of the premier minor league ball parks in America plus a staple of Fort Wayne entertainment scene for the past 11 years. It is an integral part of the downtown experience so we are thrilled to be able to play a role in taking it to the next level. As a Sweetwater family company, we love that this is a project our co-workers in the community will experience for themselves by attending ballpark events. Upon the completion of this project Parkview Field will once again be in a league of its own providing a best in class immersive fan experience.”
The TinCaps organization has hinted at additional improvements to come ahead of next season. WANE 15 will show you the park’s new look leading up to the home opener’s first pitch.