By Kristie Rieken
HOUSTON — The Houston Texans are hoping two massive new video screens will help lure the 2017 Super Bowl to Reliant Stadium.
The Texans are in the process of installing the video boards, which will be ready for use in Houston’s first preseason game in August. Cowboys Stadium in Arlington currently has the biggest screens, and Houston’s will be about 30 percent larger than those.
The two new boards will have about six times the area than the current video boards and will be placed in each end zone.
Each of Houston’s boards will be 53 feet high and 277 feet wide, which is wider than the wing span of a 747 jet.
The screens at Cowboys Stadium are each 72 feet high and 160 feet wide. Screens at both stadiums are manufactured by Mitsubishi Electric’s Diamond Vision.
Host sites for the 2016 and 2017 Super Bowls are expected to be voted on by owners next month. San Francisco and Miami are finalists for the 2016 game, and Houston will vie with the runner-up for the 2017 game.
“This is going to be an important part of our presentation to the ownership,” team president Jamey Rootes said. “We think it will be a compelling selling point for our bid.”
The Texans hosted the Super Bowl in 2004, and Houston has come up short in campaigns to bring it back in recent years.
“The NFL likes to play in the latest and greatest stadiums with the best technology and you’re not going to find a better video-related technology,” Rootes said. “I think we’ve got a lot of great advantages and this is one of the things we’ll be talking about.”
The new screens will be immensely larger than any end zone display in the NFL. They will be about 70 percent larger than LP Field in Nashville, which currently has the biggest NFL end zone screens.
The screens that Houston has had in the stadium since it opened in 2002 were just 2,592 square feet and were not HD. The new ones will be 14,549 square feet.
Officials didn’t simply make the improvement to snag the Super Bowl; they’re also hoping to enhance the overall experience for fans.
“From a video perspective, we will be able to provide the fans similar or even better than they have in their homes from a video presentation,” Rootes said. “We will have the clarity of high definition for the first time. This is the type of board that will pay dividends for us for years to come.”
The Texans wanted the screens to remain in the end zones as to not take away from the action on the field.
“That’s where we want the primary focus,” Rootes said of the field. “But during break in the action, we’ll have that available up in each end zone for the fans.”
The new boards will also have the capability to access a number of different feeds, allowing highlights from games outside of the stadium to be shown, which wasn’t possible in the past. They’ll also have statistics from the Texans game as well as scores and statistics from around the league on the boards.
Another addition will be a new slow-motion instant replay machine that will have four extra camera angles for replays.