SBD/September 5, 2012/Facilities

Toyota Center Set To Install Largest Center-Hung Arena Scoreboard In U.S.

Toyota Center's videoboard will be largest indoor center-hung scoreboard in the U.S.
Toyota Center for the '12-13 NBA season will unveil a new video board that will be the largest indoor center-hung scoreboard in the U.S. The board will debut at the Nov. 3 Rockets home opener against the Trail Blazers. The new scoreboard will be manufactured and installed by Panasonic. The larger sides of the scoreboard will feature screens 25' high by 58' wide, while the end panels will measure approximately 25' high by 25' wide (Rockets). In Houston, Jonathan Feigen reported the Rockets' "entire project -- from upgraded Wi-Fi to a new control room to run the video screen and game presentation -- will cost roughly" $15M. Rockets CEO Tad Brown said, "We wanted to make sure we created a better experience. We think this is going to put us on another level.” Feigen noted the makeover, which "was part of the city’s bid to host All-Star Weekend, is to be largely funded by the Houston Host committee, which received the money from the Texas Special Events Fund based on its obligation to provide upgrades for the NBA All-Star Game." The Rockets are "fronting the expenditures and will be reimbursed only for a portion of the cost, with the money coming from the trust fund." The team is "expected to be reimbursed" $8-9M. Rockets Senior Production Manager and Producer Joe Abercrombie said, "This thing will be like an IMAX movie theater. Our approach is changing to a more cinematic approach for everything from our intros to our pregame videos to our timeout videos. We want everything to feel like you’re watching a short film" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 9/3).

IMPACT AT THE GATE? Rockets Media Relations Dir Nelson Luis noted that the scoreboard at Cowboys Stadium "is much larger, but we do view that as an outdoor board since it has a roof. Our designation was for arenas in the U.S." YAHOO SPORTS' Dan Devine writes, "Regardless of whether you think the domed enclosure in Arlington constitutes an indoor space, the new big screen at the Toyota Center will represent a huge upgrade over the existing scoreboard." As the principal tenants of the building, the Rockets "stand to benefit most, attendance-wise, from artful deployment of the new upgrades' functionality." For a franchise that has "long finished near or in the bottom third of the league in overall annual attendance, including a 24th-of-30 mark last season, providing a more enticing in-game presentation matters" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 9/4).
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