5 Largest Video Boards in Texas
5 Largest Video Boards in Texas
As the old saying goes, "it's always bigger in Texas." Whether that colloquial anecdote is applied to the food, the land, or the people, the great state of Texas has proved it true so far. And as a native Texan, I can tell you for sure that everyone in this state is proud of that saying.
We enjoy being world-renowned for doing things in the biggest ways (which is another way of saying the best). We've got big fried food, a big Ferris Wheel in the middle of one the biggest state fairs in the country, a big mascot in Big Tex, and big personalities. But perhaps that saying is now best applied to sports.
Sporting facilities have become for this generation what the "space race" was for the 1960s: two or more parties spending a heck of a lot of money and stockpiling a lot of resources in order to get what they want and protect against the apocalypse. Okay -- maybe professional sports franchises and collegiate athletics aren't protecting against the apocalypse or preparing for mutually-assured destruction, and they're certainly not stockpiling nuclear weaponry ... you're right, this was a bad metaphor.
Anyway, schools and professional teams are trying to outspend each other so they can be sure to bring in the most important thing in a capitalistic society: butts in seats. They're doing that in all sorts of ways, whether with crazy-nice buildings like the University of Oregon's new football facility, the ridiculous football cathedrals being made for high schoolers, or video screens that make it likelier for you to make the correct call than the umpires. Case in point: on Saturday's preseason game against the Miami Dolphins, the Houston Texans will officially unveil the longest video board in existence.
This got me thinking about the other big video screens in the Lone Star State, and I've now compiled a list of the five biggest video boards in the state, starting with no. 5:
5. The Ballpark in Arlington
The main scoreboard at the Ballpark in Arlington. The Texas Rangers installed this big fella in the spring of 2011 as the finishing touch on the ballpark's $13 million HD overhaul, and it debuted as part of their season opener against the Boston Red Sox on April 1, 2011 (I was at this game, and it was awesome).
It measures in at a respectable 5,040 square feet, or 120 feet long by 42 feet high. It narrowly beat out the "12th Man TV" at Texas A&M's Kyle Field (73 x 54) and the currently-in-construction "Tortillatron" (one of many proposed names for the screen) at Texas Tech's Jones AT&T Stadium (38 x 100).
This screen can operate as a single giant display, or be divided into multiple windows to show a variety of statistics, information, graphics and animation, as well as live and recorded video.
4. Minute Maid Park
"El Grande" , the new video board installed at the Houston Astros' Minute Maid Park, comes in at no. 4 in our "Really Big Screens" countdown. This screen installation was part of a multi-million dollar renovation project at Minute Maid Park during the 2011 offseason, and it debuted on March 30, 2011 in an exhibition game against the Boston Red Sox (unfortunately, I wasn't at this one).
Measurements for this bad boy come in at 124 feet wide by 54 feet tall, adding up to 6,695 square feet of HD goodness. This is the fourth-largest board in Texas and the fourth-largest in MLB. "El Grande" is also the largest video board in MLB to have the 1080i display format. It replaced the old video board that was a measly 26 by 45 feet wide.
3. Darrell K. Royal Memorial Stadium-Godzillatron
Third on our list of "Really Big Screens" is the screen affectionately dubbed "Godzillatron" by the students of the University of Texas. It's located in Darrell K. Royal Memorial Stadium, and is by far the oldest screen on our countdown, debuting in the fall of 2006.
This screen cost the Longhorns $8 million, and comes in at a whooping 134 feet wide by 55 feet tall. (I saw this one in person at a 2008 Baylor-UT game, and it's pretty stinkin' impressive). "Godzillatron" requires tree trunk-like support columns with five-inch diameter grounding bolts, and also needs 40 five-ton air conditioners to keep it cool in the unforgiving Austin heat. It still is reigns as the largest video board in college football (barely keeping that distinction over the University of Miami).
2. AT&T Stadium
At no. 2 in this countdown is Jerry Jones' baby, the 20-yard long video screens at the newly-dubbed AT&T Stadium. Home to the Dallas Cowboys (and Jerry Jones' ego), the stadium cost $1.2 billion to construct, and is a major part of the Arlington skyline now.
The screens are arguably the most notable attraction in the stadium (the Cowboys themselves definitely aren't), as they measure in at 160 feet wide by 72 feet tall each, or 11,520 square feet each. It would require 4,920 52-inch flat panel TVs to equal the size. They're the first true 1080 HD displays in an NFL stadium; each display contains over 10.5 million LEDs, and the entire unit weighs in at a mind-blowing 1.2 million pounds. It's been reported that it costs over $1 million in electricity just to raise or lower the structure, which Jerry Jones was forced to do by the NFL since punters kept hitting the bottom of it (they even had to institute new rules to cover the situation). The total cost of construction for this behemoth came in at $40 million, or roughly three percent of the entire cost of the stadium.
1. Reliant Stadium
The current title holder in the "Can You Top This?" competition is your Houston Texans. When the two end-zone boards debut on Saturday, they'll officially measure in at 277 feet long each. The entire measurement is 277.17 feet long (almost the length of a football field) by 52.49 feet high, or 14,549 square feet.
Sadly, there are two asterisks with this title:
The screen doesn't match the 16:9 ratio of commercial HD televisions, so not all of the screen will be used for the actual video screen. Much of the display will be utilized by ad space, instant replays, stats and other information tracking, and of course a fantasy football tracker. The actual video will normally be displayed in a 119 feet wide by 52.5 feet high section of the screen, which comes in at 6,247 square feet.
This is a little bit more than half of the Cowboys' video displays, which utilize almost the entire screen for their live feed. The Jacksonville Jaguars are currently in the process of adding even longer video boards to their stadium, EverBank Field. These end-zone boards will measure in at an astounding 301 feet long by 55 feet high, begging the question, "Why the heck are they spending so much money on this when no one really cares about the Jaguars?"
Even so, the Texans' new video boards will be extremely impressive, and will keep Reliant Stadium relevant for years to come.