Study Says Bracings Should Have Saved Jumbotron


An engineering study done before the 1988 installation of Anaheim Stadium’s Sony Jumbotron said the stadium’s bracings should have been able to safely support the scoreboard during the Northridge earthquake, documents released Monday show.

In a 1985 report, the construction firm of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill said the original scoreboard that the Jumbotron replaced weighed 38,000 pounds, and that the bracings had been engineered to support a scoreboard weighing up to 42,000 pounds, and perhaps more.

The 35,000-pound Jumbotron collapsed during the Jan. 17 quake, crushing and damaging about 1,000 seats in the stadium’s upper left field deck.


City officials have said repairs will probably cost several million dollars, and would not be covered under the city’s earthquake insurance policy, which has a deductible of $6 million.

Skidmore, the San Francisco firm that in 1979 built the stadium section where the Jumbotron was located, said in its 1985 report that even if a replacement scoreboard weighed 4,000 pounds more than the original one, it would be “a manageable increase.”

The contract for installing the board eventually went to Sony, which subcontracted the work to White Way Sign Inc. of Chicago. It completed the installation in 1988.

In a 1985 letter to White Way, former Assistant City Manager Cynthia King wrote: “The architectural/engineering consultant has concluded that this area can be modified to support a weight of no more than (between) 40,000 and 50,000 pounds without major structural improvements.”

Skidmore officials, Stadium General Manager Greg Smith and City Atty. Jack L. White did not return calls Monday. Sony, which has its American headquarters in New Jersey, and White Way, in Chicago, had closed for the day by the time Anaheim released the documents Monday.