Centennial Authority approves new scoreboard for PNC Arena

The enhancement and updating of PNC Arena continued Thursday when the Centennial Authority approved the installation of a new Daktronics HDR scoreboard, a $4.7 million project.

The “blueline to blueline” centerhung scoreboard and video display is scheduled to be in place by August and will first be used by the Carolina Hurricanes in their preseason exhibition games. Later in the 2019-20 season will come N.C. State men’s basketball games, although the new videoboard will improve the fan experience at other venue events.

The Hurricanes had hoped to have the scoreboard in place this season, and Tom Dundon made a pitch for it soon after becoming the team’s majority owner in January 2018. The current scoreboard, also made by Daktronics, has been used since 2009.

Structural changes to the roof of the 20-year-old arena had to first be completed to accommodate the new, heavier scoreboard, pushing the project back a year. The authority, the arena landlord, approved those arena changes while funding the installation of a 3D projection system and theatrical lighting for this season that have been used by the Canes and Wolfpack.

Daktronics, based in Brookings, S.D., has new scoreboards in such arenas as Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn., and the Target Center in Milwaukee, authority executive director Jeff Merritt said.

“When you go in these buildings and see these scoreboards, and how they liven up the building and the crowd with what you can do with them, it’s a big part of fan entertainment and fan engagement,” Don Waddell, the Canes’ president and general manager, said Thursday.

The authority has proposed making significant changes and renovations to PNC Arena, opened in 1999, that could cost as much as $200 million, adding a rooftop restaurant and other amenities.

In more than 30 years at The N&O, Chip Alexander has covered the N.C. State, UNC, Duke and East Carolina beats, and now is in his 11th season on the Carolina Hurricanes beat. Alexander, who has won numerous writing awards at the state and national level, covered the Hurricanes’ move to North Carolina in 1997 and was a part of The N&O’s coverage of the Canes’ 2006 Stanley Cup run.