Sarnia Sting eye new scoreboard, other arena improvements

Progressive Auto Sales Arena

Troy Shantz

The Sarnia Sting are looking to upgrade the Progressive Auto Sales Arena and are asking the city for some help.

The team, which has been the primary tenant for 20 years, is looking a new LED video scoreboard, exclusive change room and training area for Sting players, and an LED ring around the fascia of the arena

“It’s important that you keep up. We want people to be proud of our building,” said president and CEO Bill Abercrombie.

“We have great fans and we owe it to them to keep up-to-date and make sure they’re getting the same experience that everyone else in the league is.”

The organization says that since the team’s ownership changed hands in 2015 it has generated more than $1.5 million for the city through gate fees, suite lease revenue, food and beverage commissions and other sources.

Included in that is $292,000 generated by a ticket surcharge the city has said would be used for capital improvements.

Sting staff has been getting quotes for a new scoreboard, which they expect will cost about $500,000.

Abercrombie said the current scoreboard, which is over 20 years old, has exceeded its lifespan and detracts from the fan experience. A new scoreboard would have high-definition screens and an LED ring around the bottom to display information and ads.

He said they would like municipal help but are prepared to finance the scoreboard themselves and have it installed as soon as the next season.

“We’re playing catch-up,” said Abercrombie. “We’re one of the smaller centres, but, still we have to stay even with everybody and keep up with the times. It’s time, and we’re prepared to move forward with it.”

An LED screen around the perimeter of the upper level would replace the backlit signs mounted on the front of the executive suites. The city currently earns about $20,000 a season through advertising on these signs.

Team management also wants to create “Sting Exclusive Area” consolidating team rooms and facilities at the west end of the building, at a cost of about $100,000.

“It utilizes the space here better,” said Abercrombie.

City council has requested more details on the upgrades along with financial details pertaining to the Progressive Auto Sales Arena.