|A rendering of the new HD screen. (Lightning.nhl.com)|
Since new owner Jeffrey Vink bought the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2010, it's been his mission to make not only the team one of the best in the NHL, but the arena and its game-day atmosphere as well.
Tampa Bay uses the ice rink as a giant projection screen before games for an awesome display. They renovated the arena for some subtle changes last offseason including putting in an organ on a giant stage above one end zone and a huge display behind. Oh yea, and they added Tesla coils too.
That was just the tip of it. Here is the renovation plan that began last summer.
But there's another new aspect to come this offseason, one which would make Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones proud.
The Lightning have invested $5 million in a new high-definition video screen to be hung over the ice and it will be in place by the start of next season. From the Lightning's release:
The system, developed by renowned industry-leader, Daktronics, will feature the largest high definition center-hung video displays in any U.S. or Canadian arena. It will include a state-of-the-art control room, and allow for a true high definition signal with 1,296 lines of resolution.
The two “smaller” suspended displays will be positioned at the ends of the larger displays, creating incredible viewing for all fans in the venue. Dimensions of these displays are approximately 28 feet high by 20 feet wide, tapered at the bottom. By comparison, the arena's current video board measures 16 feet high by 28 feet wide on all four sides. The new board will offer four times as much display space on the sidelines as the old board and two times as much display space on the end zones.
“After completing the transformation of the Tampa Bay Times Forum this past season, we recognized the need to hang an appropriate state-of-the-art video board in the arena,” said Steve Griggs, Chief Operating Officer of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Tampa Bay Storm and Tampa Bay Times Forum. “Like many other new elements in the Times Forum, the board will be recognized nationally for its innovation, quality and fan-friendliness. It promises to be among the best in North America and allows us to further enhance the in-arena presentation for all of our events.”
Hard to argue there. As I said, it would make Jerry Jones proud as it seems to be the hockey equivalent of the massive HD board he had installed at his new palace for the Cowboys in Arlington. It's unrivaled in the sport.
Personally, I never saw a great need for massive video screens in arenas. I'm there to watch the game in person, not on TV. But the occassional replay is nice and sometimes they are hard to see with any clarity on the screens at most arenas.