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Keeping Score of March Madness

March 13, 2020

There’s a Keystone in every great invention.

As the college basketball season is set to enter its yearly tournament, affectionately known as March Madness, lets take a look at the evolution of the devices that will ultimately display the crowned champion.

The first known scoreboards were manual and date back to ancient greek and roman athletics like wrestling. They did not keep time, and could actually be quite time consuming to update the aspects of the ongoing event. Manual scoreboards have been a part of American sports since the late 1800s. Harvard claims that it unveiled the nation's first scoreboard during a Thanksgiving Day football game in 1893, while Penn claims Franklin Field had the first scoreboard in 1895.

Electric scoreboards were invented for America’s pastime in 1908. George A. Baird, a Chicago inventor, developed the electric baseball scoreboard that simply recorded balls, strikes, and outs. From here, scoreboards evolved from electro-mechanical devices with relays or stepping switches controlling digits consisting of incandescent light bulbs to solid-state devices. This transition occurred in the early 1980s with the development of higher power semiconductors such as thyristors and transistors.

Innovations in integrated circuit (IC) technology has enabled complex computer control. Light emitting diodes (LEDs) have replaced incandescent bulbs to improve illumination while lowering costs. The newest light emitting diodes are more energy efficient and can last up to 100,000 hours before having to be replaced. LEDs are controlled to display a myriad of details beyond the score. Today’s college basketball scoreboards include shot clocks and the number of time-outs left for each team. Larger scoreboards include statistics on the players in the game. Basketball scoreboards must include a horn or buzzer to signal the end of a half and substitutions. Large digital displays have been added to scoreboards showing replays, highlights, and advertisements.

Wireless technology enhancements allow scorekeepers to easily update scoreboards remotely.

Scoreboards have become a focal point in new stadium construction. These technology improvements enable deigners to be more creative, and enhance the viewing experience for fans.

Keystone Components Help Keep Score

A wide range of Keystone products can be found in electronic scoreboards. This includes LED holders, spacers and lens caps; fuse clips and holdersPCB test points and terminals; spacers and standoffs; panel hardware and PCB plugs, pins, jacks, and sockets and more.