SBD/August 13, 2013/Facilities

Texans To Unveil NFL's Largest Videoboards, But Not Meant To Be "In Your Face"

Reliant Stadium's videoboards will only have a short run as the NFL's largest
The Texans today are preparing to “unveil the biggest, flashiest addition” since the opening of Reliant Stadium -- $16.5M videoboards, according to David Barron of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. For total acreage, Reliant now "outstrips the Cowboys' boards." The AT&T Stadium boards, however, "more closely match consumer TV's 16-by-9 aspect ratio, so the Cowboys can use the entire board for live action or replays.” The Reliant Stadium boards will have a smaller space dedicated to live action or replays due to “limited space between the roof and upper deck.” Despite the new superlative, Reliant will “lose its Texas brag as having the longest video boards in 2014, when EverBank Field will add new end-zone boards.” Texans Exec Producer & Dir of Video Production Gavin Gehrt said that the boards “can be programmed in any configuration, from full-screen, sideline-to-sideline video to a mixture of text, graphics and live or replay video elements.” Barron notes like the AT&T Stadium boards, the Reliant boards "were manufactured by Mitsubishi Electric's Diamond Vision Systems division.” Comparing the Texans’ board with that of the Cowboys, Reliant Park Technical Services Dir Paul Darst said, “This one is not in your face. Their board is beautiful, but it's so in your face that you can't help but watch it. It almost detracts from what is taking place below it. With ours, you have the luxury of watching the game and the benefits of a video board on a grand scale without forcing you to look at it. You look at it when you want to” (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 8/13). Texans President Jamey Rootes said, “You’re seeing these large installations partially because that’s what the fans have come to expect, but the cost of ownership has come down to a point where it is affordable to do something like this and it’s a major part of the entertainment offering that we provide.” Rootes also said that "one-upping" Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones "was never a part of the plan" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 8/9).

NOT-SO-OPEN HOUSE
: In Houston, Eric Berger noted that since the Texans began an open roof policy at Reliant Stadium in ’05, the Texans have “adhered to their own policy half the time.” In 22 of the 46 closed-roof, regular season and playoff contests “the game time temperature was between 50 and 80 degrees and there was not a good chance of rain.” Team officials said that they are “simply catering to public desire.” Texans Senior Communications Dir Kevin Cooper said, “It's kind of a juggling act of trying to keep 70,000 people happy.” Berger noted with the exception of the ’08 season when damage from Hurricane Ike “forced the team to open its roof for all games, the Texans have closed their roof in 57 of 80 regular season games," or 71% of the time. The team also has “opened the roof less often as it has become more competitive.” Cooper “firmly denied that noise and a desire for a stronger home field advantage factor into the team's roof decisions” (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 8/11).
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