A few years ago, Jerry Jones, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys, built a new Cowboys’ Stadium (lovingly referred to as “Jerry World”). Jerry World is an absolute palace of sports and entertainment on a massive scale – the stadium can fit upwards of 100,000 people and cost close to $1 billion to construct. The home of the Cowboys included what is by far the largest screen most people had ever seen. It almost spans the length of the football field, going from 20 yard line to 20 yard line, and even has a “smaller” screen inside it that can drop down for events on a smaller surface, such as basketball, since the large screen dwarfs a basketball court. This stadium, and the screen in particular, exemplified the spirit of Texas and Jerry Jones himself – Bigger.
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Thankfully, we live in a world of habitual line-steppers and one-uppers where something that is deemed the biggest and best does not hold that title for long. Enter the City of Las Vegas, a shining beacon of light in the realm of entertainment and opulence. Nothing is too big or too outlandish to be done in Las Vegas, a place that replicated the Eifel Tower, a place where you can take a death-defying plunge on a roller coaster from a scaled reconstruction of the New York City skyline; a place where a man can sit and drink for free for hours on end because hey, he is giving all that money back in spades at the blackjack table, and he won’t even leave upset because “That’s Vegas!!”
Las Vegas has decided to extend this creative idealism and ingenuity to their flagship university – The University of Nevada Las Vegas. Not wanting to be outdone by the flashy team owner from North Texas, UNLV has decided to build a new football stadium that has a screen that stretches the entire length of the field. THE ENTIRE LENGTH OF THE FIELD!!! That’s right, so if you are too lazy or hung over to crane your neck down for your eyes to look maybe 10-15° lower to see the field and the real action happening, you can just look pretty much straight ahead from wherever you are in the stadium and see the entire field replicated before your eyes to scale. I have too many adjectives running around in my brain to even settle on one that is sufficient to describe my feelings for this. It is undeniably and wonderfully fantastic and over the top… but good god. A 100+ yard screen.
Somehow, The Seattle Mariners have also entered into this foray to challenge for the nation’s largest screen. That’s right, the (hopefully formerly) sad-sack Seattle Mariners, who last year probably didn’t even have enough people at the games to even make a new video board a requirement because you could fit them all within a whisper of the players, have plans to install a new video board that is longer than the screen at Jerry World. We Northwesterners may not be as concerned with the opulence aspect that Las Vegas is, but us nerd will be damned if anyone outdoes us in the technological realm!! The new Mariners screen will be wider than the one in Jerry World (200+ ft vs 175 ft), but is slightly smaller in square footage (11,425 vs 11,520). I, for one, am happy that the M’s are stepping their game up to make sure that at the very least, they still have one of the most beautiful stadiums in Major League Baseball. And that screen is beauty defined, is it not?
Let me tell ya… These are the days.
UPDATE 6/19/2013: The Jacksonville Jaguars announced plans today to make $65 million in upgrades to their stadium, including what will become the largest scoreboard in sports. This has REALLY got to grind Jerry Jones’ gears – not only does his scoreboard have competition now, but the competition is from within his own league! The gall of those Jackson-villains! Additionally, there will be not one but two of these ginormous scoreboards: one at each end of the stadium. The Jags’ scoreboards will each measure 55 feet high and 301 feet wide, making them the largest in the NFL.
This comes on the heels of the Houston Texans announcement recently that they would be installing a new video board at Houston’s Reliant Stadium. It was to become the largest screen there was, right up until the Jags’ announcement today. The Houston scoreboard will measure 52 feet tall and 277 feet wide, falling short of Jacksonville’s new scoreboard by approximately 72 square feet. So close Houston. Soooooo close.