Track football teams with this LED scoreboard

At the time of writing here in the UK, it’s still Super Bowl Sunday for you over in the US, so I found this football*-themed project in an attempt to join in.

*For the purposes of this blog, ‘football’ refers to the sport some know as American Football. And I’ll try my best to say ‘game’ and not ‘match’, because soccer football is played in matches over here. Christ, but sportsball is complicated.

Anyway, Redditor u/lalder95 (aka Lucas Alder) came across a readymade wooden board plastered with football team logos and decided to make it smart with Raspberry Pi.

How does it work?

The LED next to each team logo represents their current status:

  • Light off means no game this week.
  • Purple light alerts you there is an upcoming game
  • Green light means they are currently winning or just won a game
  • Red light denotes the sad news that they are losing or just lost a game
  • And yellow lights shows a tied score

If the LED is slow blinking it means the game is in progress. Blinks speed up as you the game reaches the final quarter. If the light is static then it means the game has already finished or has not yet started.

Control panel for the scoreboard in Home Assistant

The setup means that you can also control LED brightness, data refresh rate, and update delay (to prevent spoilers due to broadcast delay) from a Home Assistant. No one needs a flashing red LED to spoil the final quarter of a match game you’ve been dying to see.

What’s it made from?

Raspberry Pi 4 powers the board, programming tool Node-Red collects game data online, and a Python script controls the LEDs.

This smart scoreboard was built for around $200, though you could shave some of that cost off by using a smaller Raspberry Pi. The maker had a Raspberry Pi 4 going spare so used the super-powered board, even though it’s a little bit of an overkill for a build like this.

The big wooden sign was bought pre-made from Hobby Lobby for $50. And all the LEDs cost $40.

All in all, it took around 30 hours to build, though it was Lucas’ first time using Python, so there was a bit of a learning curve that added to build time.

nfl game data is the kind of website this project could pull score data from

Could someone please make one of these for a sport whose rules we understand in the UK?

1 comment

Scott Milliken avatar

Is the board covered with epoxy?

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