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New Video Boards in Houston’s Reliant Stadium Break Records

New Video Boards in Houston’s Reliant Stadium Break Records
  • Which football stadium in Texas is home to the biggest video board in the NFL?
  • If you guessed the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium with its famously massive LED display, as of this season, you’d be wrong.

Photo credit: Houston Texans

Mitsubishi Electric Corporation – the same company behind the Cowboys’ video board – installed two 3,385-inch Diamond Vision LED displays at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. The stadium is home to the Houston Texans and the planned site of the 51st Super Bowl in February 2017. The displays, which are currently the largest in any sports facility in North America, made their debut at the Texans' preseason home opener on August 17.

Each measuring 12,168 square feet (48 feet high by 253.5 feet wide,) the $16 million displays feature a resolution of 1000×5280 pixels with 4.4 trillion colors and a 960-Hz refresh rate. The boards will display live video of the game, in-game statistics, out-of-town scores and fantasy football updates.

The Harris County Sports & Convention Corporation (HCSCC) ordered the two Diamond Vision displays, which are approximately 6 times larger than the previous display. The original boards were standard-definition and measured just 96 feet by 27 feet. The stadium, as well as the Texans, had several motivations to swap out the old boards for new ones.

“The current displays had reached their end of life and were in certain need of replacement,” said Todd Stih, National Sales Manager for Mitsubishi Electric. “Another major factor was the pursuit of the 2017 Super Bowl, which has since been awarded to Houston. That said, both the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and the Houston Texans certainly had their own specific objectives as it relates to enhancing the fan experience. The Houston Texans assembled a focus group of fans to get feedback on what they wanted to see on the new displays and have since tailored a game day experience accordingly.”

Reliant Stadium will have more flexibility in the types of content they display on their new boards, thanks to recently relaxed league rules regarding encouraging crowd noise using in-stadium video. In an effort to enhance the fan experience, the NFL is also providing more video replay angles and live locker room video feeds.

As Stih points out, installing such large video boards poses some equally large challenges.

“The schedule was one of the biggest challenges, in that while football was not in season, we still had to contend with a very booked event schedule including a circus that took away most of July, our final month on-site,” said Stih. “There was also a significant amount of structural work that had to be accomplished before the displays were installed to reinforce the existing truss system to hold the new weight loads which had to be completed prior to the displays being installed and while events were going on below.”

Mitsubishi Electric has installed numerous Diamond Vision displays globally, setting several Guinness world records along the way. This is their seventh installation in a stadium hosting an NFL team.

Stih said fans should expect to see more and more (and bigger and bigger) video boards popping up in NFL stadiums across the country.

“This is the digital information age, and marketing departments are looking to replace the static ad panels and tri-visions that surround current video displays within the scoreboard,” Stih said. “This, of course, means larger scoreboard displays. In addition, the conversion to HD is also driving the display size as the 16:9 format inherently requires more space than the older 4:3 format. Therefore, as stadiums move forward in replacing their existing system there is no doubt that they will be larger than their predecessors. This new wave of systems, however, will also provide the real estate to provide the fantasy football data and other stats that people want to see, and overall the game day experience will be greatly enhanced. What makes these larger displays appealing to stadiums is their ability to generate additional revenue and to provide a truly state-of-the-art game day experience for their fans that exceeds anything they could experience watching the game from their homes.”

It seems the Texans may not be able to hold on to their bragging rights for long. Plans are in place for the Jacksonville Jaguars’ Everbank Field to install a 55-foot tall by 301-foot long display in 2014. This means the Jaguars’ board will be approximately 36% larger than the Texans’.