The Big Picture

by Alex Linden, sports information director
Scoreboard in Abel StadiumFootball fans were eager this fall to get a glimpse of the updated high definition screen at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, and the Dallas Cowboys’ mammoth new video board at the new Cowboys Stadium. Meanwhile, at Nebraska Wesleyan, Abel Stadium received an upgrade of its own.

A 10’ x 18’ video screen was installed this summer alongside a new scoreboard with LED lighting. A brick display outlines the scoreboard and replay board to give NWU one of the finest displays at the NCAA Division III level of competition.

The dream of an Abel Stadium video board display began in 2007 when Lincoln Cable Channel 21 Sports rented a big screen for the NWU homecoming football game. That experience gave fans a chance to see what a video board could add to the stadium.

Very few schools Nebraska Wesleyan’s size would even think about adding a video replay board, but with generous support from the Gardner Foundation, and cooperation from Channel 21 Sports and Lincoln-based SignCoEDS, replays of Prairie Wolves touchdowns are now a part of each Saturday home game.

The project was officially dedicated at halftime of the NWU football home opener on September 12.

NWU head football coach Brian Keller is excited about what the upgrades mean for his team. “The new video board really enhances our game day atmosphere at Abel Stadium,” Keller said. “We look forward to putting a lot of highlights up on the board.”

Ira Zeff, NWU’s athletic director said, “Nebraska Wesleyan has been a leader in athletic facilities for small colleges in the region. The addition of the video board is another example of NWU leading the way.”

Instant replays are currently limited to home football games through the university’s partnership with Channel 21 Sports. While Channel 21’s camera crews and production truck produce the replays, current NWU students handle all other aspects of production and graphic design. The experience gives students a practical opportunity in an exciting sports-related field.

Football isn’t the only sport to see the benefit of the new replay board. During soccer games the board is a means to display player photos, entertain the crowd with graphics and recognize sponsors. Track meets will also use the board to show instant finish results and placings.

The Prairie Wolves have long claimed some of the finest facilities in small college athletics; this addition gives our student-athletes another home field advantage. “Our team always likes playing at home in front of our families and friends,” senior quarterback and team captain Matt Hagge of Plattsmouth said. “Now we get to see our great plays on the big screen and watch highlights of our win as we leave the field.”