In 1980, Mitsubishi introduced its Diamond Vision large-screen display setup at the 1980 MLB All-Star Game. Since then, this scoreboard screen system has gone from using a CRT format to high-definition LEDs. The screen is able to not only display more pixels of data at a time but can also handle a massive variety of graphics, including live video displays and detailed information like scores and statistics. Of course, it also features plenty of room for advertisements.
The sheer size of a scoreboard like this one is amazing in itself. But not all teams use mega-scoreboards at their parks. The board that the Chicago White Sox have been using at U.S. Cellular Field since 2003 is only 28 by 53 feet in its size. On the other hand, the scoreboard at the Great American BallPark in Cincinnati has HD support with an LED system and is more than 100 feet in length.
It's clear that these large scoreboards are very popular among baseball teams these days as more teams are investing large amounts of money for cutting-edge systems. Teams want their ballparks to stand out and offer the best possible experience for fans heading out to a particular game. The ability to use them for a large number of advertisements helps as well, making them an additional source of revenue.
However, these massive scoreboards do not come for cheap. This listing covers the ten most expensive HD scoreboards in all of Major League Baseball as of the 2013 season. They are large and impressive but they can also cost a fortune to build. Simply put, the days of paying $100,000 for a nice scoreboard like the one the Chicago Cubs had made for the center field area of Wrigley Field in 1937 are long in the past.
10 Rogers Centre - Toronto Blue Jays - $7.5 Million
In 1989, the SkyDome in Toronto opened its doors for the first time. It was the first stadium in the world to have a retractable roof and cost $570 million CAD ($540 million USD) to build. The new scoreboard installed in 2010 from Daktronics is the same size as the original one built by Sony when the stadium opened. This 110 by 33 foot board in what's now known as the Rogers Centre cost $8 million CAD ($7.5 million USD) to build.
9 Kauffman Stadium - Kansas City Royals - $8.3 Million
From 2007 to 2010, Kansas City's Kauffman Stadium was renovated at a total cost of $250 million. $8.3 million of this money went towards replacing the scoreboard in the centerfield area with something new and beautiful. This board is different from others in the league in that it's taller than it is wide. It is vertically designed to fit in a shape that looks like the Royals' logo at 105 feet high by 84 feet wide.
8 Progressive Field - Cleveland Indians - $9.1 Million
Progressive Field, a stadium formerly known as Jacobs Field, cost $170 million to build in 1994, but its current scoreboard was not a part of this original project. It cost $9.1 million more than a decade down the line to bring in a board with a screen that's 36 by 149 feet. Even with its expensive price tag, the board has become useful at generating revenue for the team. It can cost around $50 to get one's name up on the board during a game for a birthday announcement.
7 Citizens Bank Park - Philadelphia Phillies - $10 Million
The Philadelphia Phillies replaced their original scoreboard at Citizens Bank Park with a Daktronics board that is 76 by 97 feet in size at a cost of $10 million. This large board can be found on the left field area of the stadium. The board was particularly designed just in time to be on display during the 2012 NHL Winter Classic outdoor game and is one of the largest boards in the league.
6 Comerica Park - Detroit Tigers - $10 Million
The old scoreboard at Detroit's Comerica Park was around 1,000 square feet in size. The new one is around six times as large in its full form. At 124 by 47 feet, the scoreboard was designed by Daktronics and went for $10 million. The board was less expensive than originally anticipated as the club was pleasantly surprised to find that it could fit into the existing framework that held the old model.
5 Great American Ball Park - Cincinnati Reds - $10.5 Million
Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati has a scoreboard that rivals the size of Cleveland's board. The screen at the GABP is 39 by 138 feet and cost $10.5 million to build. It was introduced in 2009 not too long after Cleveland's board came in but it still cost almost $1.5 million more.
4 Miller Park - Milwaukee Brewers - $11 Million
In 2011, the Milwaukee Brewers replaced their old scoreboard at Miller Park with an $11 million board that is 110 by 54 feet in size. The scoreboard hangs about 450 feet away from home plate, making it a nice target for home run hitters. Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder were known to have put some dents in this $11 million target when they played in the National League.
3 Minute Maid Park - Houston Astros - $13 Million
El Grande, the HD scoreboard that was installed in Houston's Minute Maid Park in 2011, cost $13 million to build. Interestingly, this is close to half the total payroll for the 2013 Astros. The board is 124 by 54 feet in size. For comparison's sake, the original scoreboard at the Astrodome cost $2 million but it also covered a length of 474 feet with all sorts of graphics and spaces for advertisements.
2 Chase Field - Arizona Diamondbacks - $14 Million
The 46 by 136 foot HD scoreboard at Chase Field in Phoenix is about 470 feet away from home plate in centerfield. A good portion of this scoreboard hovers over the famous pool located in the stadium's outfield. This scoreboard cost a whopping $14 million when it was constructed in 1998, the same year the stadium itself was built at a price of $354 million. This is close to half a billion dollars in today's terms.
1 Safeco Field - Seattle Mariners - $15 Million
The most expensive scoreboard on this list is also the newest and most technologically advanced. Safeco Field brought in a brand new scoreboard for the Seattle Mariners' 2013 season. This massive board cost $15 million to build and is the largest screen in the entire league. The scoreboard is 202 by 57 feet in size. This model was created by Panasonic and makes for a clearly dominating view for the stadium. As the late Mariners broadcaster Dave Niehaus would say about something like this, "My, oh my."