A couple of weeks back, Sean Leahy of brother blog Puck Daddy brought you a look at the brand spankin' new high-definition video scoreboard set to be unveiled this season at the Pepsi Center, the home of the NHL's Colorado Avalanche and the NBA's Denver Nuggets. It is, as you might expect given the ever-steamrolling trend in stadium enhancements, monstrous. Here, via the magic of time-lapse videography, is what the effort to put it together and hang it looked like:
Yep, that's huge. Aaron J. Lopez of Nuggets.com has more details on the eye-commanding behemoth, unveiled Monday in advance of the beginning of the Avalanche's preseason schedule:
The scoreboard will broadcast in a true 16:9 aspect ratio at 1080p HD and boasts a surface area of more than 4,400 square feet, making it the largest in the NBA or NHL. The length spans 3-point line to 3-point line for basketball and blue line to blue line for hockey.
And from a story announcing the new board back in July:
The scoreboard will contain four large screens — two facing the seats along the sidelines and two facing the seats behind the baseline. The sideline screens are about 27 feet high and 48 feet wide; the other two sides are approximately 21 feet high and 25 feet wide.
That is, for sure, gigantic, though I'm not entirely sure how it winds up being a larger scoreboard than the one installed last summer in the Toyota Center — the Houston Rockets' home scoreboard has sideline-facing screens that measure 25 feet high by 58 feet wide (stretching from lane to lane, rather than 3-point line to 3-point line) and baseline-facing screens measuring 25-by-25. That seems like a larger total screen area, although it's entirely possible there's a simple explanation for why Denver's is bigger that I'm just missing; I've reached out to a Nuggets spokesperson to find out, and will update if I hear back.
UPDATE: Said Nuggets spokesperson did respond by sending specs that claimed Denver's big board outstrips Houston's by 384 square feet, due in large part to an apparent difference in the size of their respective "upper end auxiliary display" screens. The specs, however, cite the height in "linear feet" of the Toyota Center's sideline-facing and baseline-facing screens at 21 feet, which is four fewer feet than what the Rockets say it is. OK, then.
On some level, there's a bigger-better-faster-more element to the continuing drive toward progressively more massive scoreboards that began in earnest with the unbelievable structure at Cowboys Stadium. To hear the folks behind the Pepsi Center project tell it, though, the undertaking is less about having a shiny new toy and the status symbol that goes with it than about keeping fans' attention throughout a game, according to Lopez:
“This is all about the fan experience,” said Tim Romani, president and CEO of ICON Venue Group, which managed the project. “When you’re talking about fan experience, it’s not necessarily what you saw or what you heard — it’s what you felt emotionally. These are the kinds of pieces that bring people back to the building.” [...]
“There’s a great sense of appreciation of the Kroenke family going forward with this and making the investment to change the dynamic so aggressively,” [Tom Philand, senior vice president of partnership marketing and media sales for Kroenke Sports & Entertainment] said. “They only laid out one goal for us: We want the best. We want it to be the best quality. We want it to change everything about what it’s like to come to a game here.
“It’s all geared toward giving them what they are asking for. How do you give them real-time stats? How do you give them replays that make them feel like they’re part of the action? All these things are going to be available and change dynamically the experience of the game.”
The Rockets' production folks sounded a similar note last offseason, discussing the many ways all that screen space could be used to enhance game presentation and provide attendees with extra looks and information that were technically impossible before and that might make a fan on the fence more likely to plunk down dough to check out the action live rather than watching it in comparatively piddlin' HD at home.
Whether the new presence of the biggest television anyone in Colorado has ever seen tilts folks' ticket-buying calculus remains to be seen. More than anything, though, I'm excited about getting the crispest, clearest possible view of every interaction between JaVale McGee and Nate Robinson this season. If we could carve out just a small square of that giant board for a JaVale-and-Nate-Cam, I think that'd technically constitute a public service nearly as difference-making as most NBA Cares events; let's keep our fingies crossed, Internet.