The Florida State baseball program has made significant investments to improve the fan experience the last few years.
First, it was a new videoboard in left-center field. Now? New lights.
Crews have installed new LED lights at Dick Howser Stadium ahead of the start of the 2020 season. The lights will give players better vision and also provide opportunities to highlight players and accentuate big plays.
“We can turn them on and off,” FSU coach Mike Martin Jr. said. “They’re instant. They don’t have to warm up. We can do a light show for introductions or when somebody hits a home run. They turn garnet color. It’s pretty neat. And it saves a ton of money since they are LED.”
A group of eight donors contributed about $700,000 to make the new LED lights a reality, Martin Jr. said. And the program was able to use the current light poles, saving significant funds.
The lights have also been installed at an ideal time with the ACC Network planning broadcasts for the 2020 season. Martin Jr. said the investment became a necessity so that FSU could enjoy primetime slots on the ACC Network, which plans to showcase national broadcasts on Friday nights.
FSU’s full broadcast schedule for the 2020 season has not been set but expect that every home game will at a minimum be streamed live on ACC Network Extra. And regardless of whether fans are watching at the stadium, on TV or on a web stream, the quality of lighting will enhance the viewing experience.
Martin Jr. has been active with fundraising since taking over as coach in June.
“There are a lot more people who follow recruiting than I realized,” Martin Jr. said. “And some of them would give – ‘Hey, you guys are kicking tail here in South Florida. Here’s our donation to the bullpen club.’ ”
FSU added the new videoboard in 2018 and lights ahead of the 2020 season, which begins on Feb. 14 against Niagra at 6 p.m. What’s next on the long-term vision? Martin Jr. would like to see major improvements and one of the items at the top of the list is closing in booster boxes on the first-base line.
“Places for donors to go and to call their own is important,” Martin Jr. said. “All of the new parks – some of them go from foul pole to foul pole. … Tallahassee does get cold. Tallahassee does get hot. The open-air concept is great but there’s not many days of perfect weather where people want to be exposed to the elements.”
Martin Jr. also envisions an opportunity for boosters to tailgate in their box at Howser and then make the short walk to Doak Campbell Stadium for football games.