Northwestern football fans, rejoice: Your team is going to be looking bigger than ever. Maybe not so much on the field, but certainly if you peer just above it.
Northwestern announced Monday plans to upgrade the videoboards at Ryan Field in time for the 2014 season. The new screens are nearly triple the size of the current ones and will complement two new ribbon boards over both end zones.
"This is an exciting announcement for members of the Northwestern Football family and another indication of our commitment to providing the best possible gameday experience for fans and guests,” coach Pat Fitzgerald said in a statement. "I'd like to thank all those who played a role in making these videoboard upgrades a reality. We can't wait for our fans to join us in experiencing an enhanced gameday atmosphere when we take the field against the Golden Bears on Aug. 30."
Citing private donations and increased ticket revenue as the means for the upgrades, Northwestern plans to begin construction shortly after the school’s commencement ceremony on June 20. A more specific timeline is in the planning stages.
The new high-definition screen will measure more than 1,100 square feet, while the ribbon boards will stretch 138 feet, the school said.
NU isn't done: The Tribune’s Teddy Greenstein reported last November that the university is looking to finalize funding for a renovation to Welsh-Ryan Arena, which would include a new scoreboard among other upgrades. A source told the Tribune on Monday that the Welsh-Ryan plans likely will be unveiled this month, and the basketball court is expected to replaced by fall.