Let's dispense with the "bigger in Texas" jokes right off the bat. Also, no "size matters" quips, if you please.
The Rockets installed a massive video board inside Toyota Center before last season. If you were wondering just how big it is, imagine installing a 60-inch flat screen in your bathroom three feet from the toilet. That was installed just two years after the Astros put in their own massive video board at Minute Maid Park. Now the video board arms race continues with the Houston Texans installing the largest video board in any sports stadium in the world in Reliant Stadium, with an unveiling this afternoon for media.
This would appear to be for people who prefer to watch games on TV but enjoy the comfort of a stadium seat and about two hours of traffic every Sunday during football season.
It is unlikely the Texans are competing with the Rockets and Astros, but perhaps they did take notice of the enormous video screens inside the Dallas Cowboys stadium. Fans have compared watching those boards to sitting in front of their televisions at home. If that is the case, consider this a home theater.
The Houston Business Journal got a preview last week and had this to say:
Although Bayou City residents are keenly aware of the rivalry between Houston and Dallas, Rootes said one-upping Cowboys owner Jerry Jones -- whose stadium video board was previously the largest in the world -- was never a part of the plan.
"That certainly was not our objective going in, to be larger than anybody," [Texans' President Jamey] Rootes said. "We wanted to have the biggest and best presentation... These replacement cycles have a long horizon so I wouldn't envision (the Cowboys) would be in the market very soon (for a bigger board)."
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SHOW ME HOW
The video board is 277 feet wide, six times larger than the last video board at Reliant, and will cost $16.5 million. That price tag comes out of the stadium repair and replacement fund, which is derived from hotel, motel and rental car taxes. So, every time you rent a car or stay in a local hotel, you're helping to pay for the world's largest flat screen. Lucky you.
Roots was quoted in the HBJ article saying, "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."
I'm all for improvements, but let's not start throwing around "cost of ownership" and "affordable" when it's the taxpayers who are footing the bill, not the team.
The board will be unveiled at the Texans home game against Miami on August 17.