Scoreboard pressure: why is it so?

We all know (or at least we are all told) that scoreboard pressure is crucial in the modern game. My first trip of the season to the MCG and the bigger, brighter new scoreboards got me thinking.

Now I am only going to say this once, so sit up straight and pay attention.

Pressure is defined as force per unit area:

P = F/a

Newton’s second law of motion states that force equals mass times acceleration, or in the case of gravitational force, mass times the gravitational constant:

Fg = mg where g equals 9.8m/s2.

Substituting for F then, Scoreboard Pressure (Ps) can be defined as

Ps = msg/as where ms is the mass of the scoreboard and as is the area of the base of the scoreboard.

Scoreboard pressure is therefore a direct function of the weight of the scoreboard and an indirect function of the scoreboard’s basal area. So a heavy scoreboard on large area may exert, somewhat counter intuitively, lesser scoreboard pressure than a lighter scoreboard on a proportionally smaller area.

From this we can further deduce that scoreboard pressure will differ markedly from ground to ground as the mass and basal area of each scoreboard will almost certainly vary. Those teams that consistently play on grounds with a high Ps could be expected to have a distinct advantage over those whose home grounds have a low Ps.

In order to address this glaring inequality, AFL needs to introduce a Scoreboard Equalization Scheme as soon as possible. If such a scheme is not introduced then the whole game will be, not to put too fine a point on the whole thing, buggered.

This also goes a long way to explain why Ps has seldom been a major factor in country footy where scoreboards are generally a couple of planks and a bit of corrugated iron.

About Frank Gleeson

Collingwood - enough said


  1. bD3i5_yBP4W9MnhCGeB6H8qUv5B4eRAFEjrP8m04Gl0. says

    Aha, this might go some way to explaining Port Adelaide’s resurgence. The gorgeous heritage scoreboard at Adelaide Oval must generate the highest scoreboard pressure in the AFL.

    For Adelaide to lose at home with such an advantage suggests they really aren’t playing well at all.

  2. MGLFerguson says

    Given that newer technology means both larger screens and lesser screen thickness – therefore less mass per unit area, this proposition implies that more spending on current technology reduces scoreboard pressure. Counterintuitive.

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