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September 24, 2013 Tuesday
FA CHASE EDITION
SPORTS; Pg. 2C
|Texas Motor Speedway plans world's largest HD video board
Nate Ryan, @nateryan, USA TODAY Sports
Everything's bigger in Texas -- or biggest, in the case of Texas Motor Speedway's latest addition.
The track will unveil the world's largest high-definition video board next season, a 108-ton structure on the backstretch that will be 218 feet wide and 94½ feet tall and rise nearly 125 feet above ground level. Nicknamed "Big Hoss," the Panasonic display will feature 20,666.64 square feet of 1080p HD, topping the 16,000-square-foot video board that was built two years ago at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
According to the track, Texas has seven of the world's 50 largest HD video boards. Texas Motor Speedway's will be 79% larger than the video board at the Dallas Cowboys' AT&T Stadium (11,520 square feet). The track's screen, which will be completed in March, has nearly 4.8million pixels that can display 281 trillion colors.
"We live in the original big-screen market," track President Eddie Gossage told USA TODAY Sports. "It's not just the Cowboys, but the University of Texas, Texas A&M and so forth. There are high school football stadiums in Texas that have screens bigger than the eight big screens we were using around the property. It's a little different here in Texas. We want to be competitive and serve our fans."
Gossage said NASCAR tracks were facing the same challenges drawing crowds as college and pro football teams because some fans are more inclined to watch games on big-screen, high-definition TVs along with the accessibility of reliable Internet access for social media applications.
"All stadiums are trying to do battle with guaranteeing our fans aren't going to miss a thing," Gossage said. "Fans won't miss a replay or a pit stop. We're trying to get them off their couch and see, smell, taste and experience great racing.
"Now we've taken away one of the arguments some people have. They don't need to stay home."
Gossage said the track also planned to upgrade its WiFi capabilities for fans by next year but faced the daunting prospect of wiring not just its grandstands but its campgrounds for connectivity.
"It's a much more complicated issue for a speedway than an NFL stadium, because you can fit 41/2 Cowboys stadiums in our infield," he said. "Physically, we have to make a much larger area hot and serve a much larger number of people. We have 40,000 people camping, so we have to find a way to make 1,500 acres covered."
Texas Motor Speedway also revealed changes to its 2014 schedule. Its spring Sprint Cup race, which was on Saturday night the last three years, will shift in a one-time move to Sunday afternoon, April 6, to avoid a conflict with the NCAA Final Four; the national semifinals will be played that Saturday at AT&T Stadium.
For the 18th consecutive season, the track will play host to an Izod IndyCar Series/NASCAR Camping World Truck Series doubleheader June 6-7. The IndyCar event has been renamed the Firestone 600 to reflect the addition of 50 kilometers to the race distance.
Texas will end its 2014 season with a Camping World-Nationwide-Sprint Cup tripleheader Oct.30-Nov. 2.
September 24, 2013