LOUISVILLE, KY.—Churchill Downs has teamed with Panasonic in a $12 million project to install a 15,224-square-foot, high-definition LED video board in time for the 2014 Longines Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby.
The video board was installed about midway along the backstretch and outside the dirt course of the historic track. This position maximizes the 170-degree viewing angle for fans in the 55,638 clubhouse and grandstand seats and the tens of thousands of fans in the track’s famous 26-acre infield.
The bottom edge of the 171-foot wide video board is 80 feet above the ground and tops out at 170 feet in height. The video board and supporting steel structure weighs more than 1 million pounds and must be capable of withstanding winds of up to 85 miles per hour. Although a similar Panasonic HD LED display unveiled at Texas Motor Speedway in March is larger (20,623 square-foot), the screen at Churchill Downs is the largest HD video board in the world capable of displaying 4K content.
So, just how big is the “Big Board”? According to Panasonic, it’s bigger than:
3 NBA basketball courts,
5 average size U.S. homes,
2,200 46-inch flat-screen TVs, and
320,000 Apple iPhone 5 screens
The software and equipment that controls the Big Board allows for multiple split-screen presentations of video, images, data and innovative live and recorded programming. Churchill Downs also adds full-1080i fixed and mobile HD cameras and a new audio system to deliver state-of-the-art picture and sound quality to its fans.
“Since 2005 we have invested over $160 million in improving our fans’ experience,” said Kevin Flanery, president of Churchill Downs Racetrack. “Along with our current $15 million Grandstand Terrace project we are investing over $27 million this year to make Churchill Downs not only the best venue for Thoroughbred racing’s biggest events, the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby, but one of the premier sports and entertainment venues anywhere in the world.”
The Big Board was unveiled to the public at “Opening Night” of Derby Week on Saturday, April 26.
Tom has covered the broadcast technology market for the past 25 years, including three years handling member communications for the National Association of Broadcasters followed by a year as editor of Video Technology News and DTV Business executive newsletters for Phillips Publishing. In 1999 he launched digitalbroadcasting.com for internet B2B portal Verticalnet. He is also a charter member of the CTA's Academy of Digital TV Pioneers. Since 2001, he has been editor-in-chief of TV Technology (www.tvtechnology.com), the leading source of news and information on broadcast and related media technology and is a frequent contributor and moderator to the brand’s Tech Leadership events.
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