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JUMBO DREAMS
JACK MCCALLUM
January 26, 2009
THE GIANT VIDEO SCREEN, THAT ELECTRIC MIRROR OF OUR SPORTS CULTURE, HAS TRANSFORMED THE WAY WE WATCH GAMES—AND EVEN THE WAY THEY'RE PLAYED
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January 26, 2009

Jumbo Dreams

THE GIANT VIDEO SCREEN, THAT ELECTRIC MIRROR OF OUR SPORTS CULTURE, HAS TRANSFORMED THE WAY WE WATCH GAMES—AND EVEN THE WAY THEY'RE PLAYED

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The idea for the center-hung board came—as most great ideas do—at a C�line Dion concert in Las Vegas. Jones was in the audience watching the Canadian chanteuse perform in front of a huge LED board. So there was C�line, and there was 40-foot-tall C�line. "Because of seeing her at an exaggerated size," says Jones, "I noticed everything about her expression, her movements, her emotion, things you couldn't see from watching just her. When it was over, it didn't register whether you had seen her or the projection behind her. Whichever it was, it was fabulous."

This may have been a McLuhanesque moment in the march of time: Soon a live act will be irrelevant unless it is accompanied by real-time, supersized images of the live act. At any rate, the concert convinced Jones that a gargantuan, high-res scoreboard is de rigueur for the 21st-century stadium. (Dare he call it C�line-a-Vision?)

It remains for someone else now—someone confident that pro sports remains a recession-resistant business and that fans are always looking for the Next Really, Really Big Thing in a scoreboard—to out-Jones Jones, take it to the next level, whatever that might be. Virtual scoreboards that hover, ghostlike, above the stadium? Hologram boards whose displays disappear between downs and then—poof!—magically re-form before the ball is snapped?

In its own way, though, the center-hung Dallas board—more visible to fans in the upper deck than to players on the field—is retro. Scoreboards, after all, were originally tools for spectators. Now, at least in Big D, open-field runners will have to watch out for approaching tacklers the old-fashioned way.

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