Colonial Life Arena, home of Gamecock Basketball since 2002, unveiled a brand new, state of the art center-hung scoreboard for the upcoming season.
Built by Daktronics, the new scoreboard has 12 displays and four 12-foot-high by 20-foot-wide screens, which will provide guests with an improved view of what’s happening on the court.
The men’s basketball team held its first exhibition game against Erskine on Oct. 30 , and just from one game, Eric Nichols, USC Senior Associate Athletics Director, said he noticed improvements in terms of the building's overall atmosphere.
"Just walking in, it feels like a completely different arena," Nichols said. "It feels tighter in there, which is great. It enhances the atmosphere. The ribbon boards – you can’t describe it without going. It’s just a ... different environment altogether there. Both the ribbon and the main board are the nicest and clearest you’ll see in any arena in the United States."
Bringing a new scoreboard into Colonial Life Arena was a simple decision to make for not only the University of South Carolina marketing department, but also for head coaches Frank Martin and Dawn Staley. Despite part of the renovations being what Nichols said was necessary, the brand-new ribbon boards were an added bonus for the building.
“Part of it was a need,” Nichols said. “The other one needed replacing — it was being held together with duct tape and twisty ties. We needed to replace it. Adding the ribbon board was a 'want.' Both coaches wanted to enhance the atmosphere ... to do that was with bright lights and motion. Both programs wanted it and we all felt that it was going to help the programs, and so we thought that we’d transform the arena.”
Following outstanding performances from each of the Gamecocks' basketball programs during the 2016-17 season, which included a national championship for the women’s program and a Final Four appearance for the men’s program, Nichols has a positive outlook for each of the teams this season.
“I think every team is different,” Nichols said. “Part of what makes Championship and Final Four teams is team chemistry. They’re the greater of the sum of their parts. It’s hard to tell until they get out there and play. I think we have great pieces just like we had last year and personally, I have fantastic expectations. I hope we win every game. I think both coaches have set the culture to create championship programs.”
Fifteen minutes before tipoff, the men’s basketball team will raise its Final Four banner at its home-opener against Western Michigan University on Nov. 13.
To celebrate its first National Championship title in USC history, the women’s team will take to the court at 6:45 p.m. on Friday for a pre-game banner raising ceremony prior to its 7 p.m. tipoff against Alabama State University.