PROVO Sundays after BYU plays football on an autumn afternoon, a smart fan can tell at a glance where their friends sat during the game.
A sunburn generally means a seat in the east bleachers, where the sun bakes until it finally falls behind the west stands. And a crick in the neck is a telltale sign of someone who had tickets in the south end zone and kept craning around to peek above and behind themselves at replays on the only video scoreboard in LaVell Edwards Stadium.
Those cricks become a pain of the past starting with No. 16 BYU's home-opener against Northern Iowa on Saturday, when the school will unveil a new video scoreboard above the stands in the north end zone.
The scoreboard has three screens. The main LED screen will show replays on a board that is 16 feet by 23 feet. The screen on the existing south scoreboard screen, in place since the early 1990s, is 23 feet by 30 feet.
"The new north board has better resolution than the south board," said Drew Allsup, the multimedia events coordinator who controls the board during games. "Now the people sitting under the video board on the south end can look north and see the same feed."
The two other boards on the renovated north scoreboard are about as tall as the main video screen but about half as wide. Allsup will continue to use them to provide game statistics, update scores from around the country and present animations.
As part of the project, BYU replaced nearly all of the copper wiring in the stadium with fiber-optic cable.
The scoreboard upgrades were paid for in part through an exclusive sponsorship with Nu Skin Enterprises.
The sponsorship was negotiated for BYU by ISP Sports. The university outsourced much of its athletic marketing to ISP a few years ago. ISP is a national company that managed marketing for 55 college and university athletic programs, specializing in facility sponsorships, property revenue enhancement, signage and sales development.
The scoreboard model is an ISP product like one just added to the stadium at UNLV, said Peter Pilling, senior vice president and Mountain West/Big 12 Conference Relationship Manager.
The cost of the scoreboard has not been released, but BYU made the deal without taking on any debt. Nu Skin is the sponsorship partner, and ISP and the BYU athletic department provided some of the funds.
Some of the equipment arrived a week later than anticipated, so Allsup, the board operator, and his team are scrambling to prepare pictures of the BYU players and animations for the board for this week's game. That process will be much easier with a 21st century scoreboard.
"This board gives us a whole lot more flexibility," Allsup said.
The old system ran on old DOS computers, and Allsup spent about 40 minutes per player just to prepare a single photo for use on the scoreboard. The new board's system allows him to import a player's photo and clean it up with Windows XP in just minutes.
"This will be a lot more streamlined, a lot more polished," he said. "It'll be even more professional by the second game and in the next few years as we have more time with the system."
Fans will also notice a change to the south scoreboard, but it will only be visible from outside the stadium. Last week, workers secured a white wrap to the side of the scoreboard that faces the south parking lot. The wrap is dominated by the football helmet logo of a white "Y" set in a blue circle. Below is the phrase "Tradition. Spirit. Honor."
Stripped across the bottom in smaller letters are the words "Championship football."
Coach Bronco Mendenhall has used tradition, spirit, honor as a summary of the team's mission but said this week he didn't know about the wrap until it was going up and someone sent him pictures.
"It's ironic to me," he said, "because when I first became the coach, the principle questioned most was the spiritual component. I was encouraged not to use that because it would make us a target.
"Now, four years later, it's ironic to see it up on the scoreboard. ... There's no better way to remind myself and our players what's expected here."
Nu Skin is celebrating its 25th anniversary as one of the largest employers in Utah County. Two years ago, it renewed its 10-year sponsorship contract with BYU, said Gary Garrett, vice president of corporate relations.
Nu Skin's annual sales exceed $1 billion in 45 international markets.ISP partner schools include Notre Dame, Florida State, Georgia, Miami, Alabama, Cal, UCLA and Washington. The company expects $140 million in sales this year.