SYRACUSE With baseball’s No. 1 prospect wearing a Syracuse Chiefs’ uniform, the season gets off to a rip-roaring start here at 2 p.m. Thursday, April 5. But 19-year-old power-hitting centerfielder Bryce Harper isn’t the only new draw at Alliance Bank Stadium.
A temporary tenant – the Empire State Yankees a.k.a. the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees – will play 10 of its 2012 home games at Syracuse’s North Side ballpark.
The stadium also has a new concessionaire and – within a few weeks – the Chiefs will unveil a newfangled scoreboard, a necessary amenity that has topped fans’ wish lists for a decade.
While Harper’s sure to send plenty of balls sailing into the cattails over the right field wall, the left field wall will be lit up like a birthday cake on steroids.
Daktronics, a video-display company based in Brookings, South Dakota, will manufacture and install the new LED display measuring 30 feet high by 55 feet wide. The old scoreboard often malfunctioned rendering unreadable players’ names, statistics and sometimes even the score.
With its 15HD-pixel layout, Daktronics promises pristine color clarity and brightness from all viewing angles.
They hope to flip the ON switch on new ABS scoreboard by May 7 when the Chiefs are scheduled to host the Durham Bulls. In the meantime, a temporary scoreboard will be installed in right field.
But fans won’t have to wait until May for better concessions. This season Ovations Food Services, a subsidiary of the Philadelphia-based sports and entertainment firm Comcast-Spectacor, takes over ABS food and beverage service from Centerplate of Spartanburg, S.C. Ovations summarizes its philosophy with its trademarked slogan, “Everything’s fresh!”
“We offer fans local and sustainable ingredients prepared after they order,” said Ovations General Manager Christopher Coonrad. “No soggy hot dogs here!”
Customized concepts include Flavors of Syracuse, featuring hometown favorites like Snappys and salt potatoes. Syracuse Land and Cattle grills hamburgers made from 100 percent fresh local beef. Hot Dog Nation serves specialty franks such as the Chiefs Dog.