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Turner Field to have biggest screen in world


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Turner Field video screen will wow you

By TIM TUCKER

Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Published on: 02/24/05

Piece by piece, the sports world's largest video screen is being put together at Turner Field this week.

Modular panels ? 266 of them, each consisting of 20 lighting units ? are being removed from the boxes in which they were shipped here from Nagasaki, Japan. One by one, they are being raised by a giant crane to workers high above center field. There, each panel is quickly put into place, forming the enormous screen that the Braves believe will bring a new "wow factor" to Turner Field.

The finished product will be a video board that measures 71-by-79 feet ? almost three times the size of its predecessor and the largest at any stadium in the world, according to manufacturer Mitsubishi Electric Power Products. It also will be the first true high-definition mega-screen in a stadium, Mitsubishi said.

"We can't wait to get it turned on and see everything it's going to do," said Mike Plant, the Braves' executive vice president of business operations.

That's still a few weeks away, although the screen was mostly in place by late Wednesday. Massive amounts of circuitry still have to be installed along the nine levels of permanent catwalks that have been erected behind the screen, and massive amounts of control-room equipment still have to be installed on Turner Field's press level.

The $10 million board is scheduled to be operational in mid-March, a couple of weeks before the Braves play host to the Cleveland Indians in an April 1 exhibition game. The Braves' regular-season home opener is April 8 vs. the Mets.

While the Braves are preparing for the season in their Disney World training camp, the hard work is happening at Turner Field, where about $18 million worth of renovations are far from complete but on schedule, Plant said.

The new center-field screen is the most dramatic of the changes, but workers also are completing installation this week of a 1,085-foot-long, 42-inch-high, $2 million LED video display board that wraps around the field on the fascia below the upper deck.

In all, Plant counts 51 projects in progress at the stadium ? 26 construction projects and 25 operational or maintenance projects. Projects include a new dining area high above right field called "Top of the Chop," a renovation of the 755 Club, new ticketing kiosks, a new high-definition video screen in the entry plaza and a new employee gym.

Already, the impact of the mega-screen is evident.

"I sat in a seat in the lower bowl by myself one day, just watching it go up and visualizing the old board, and I think it's going to blow folks away," Plant said. "I think people are really going to be pleased with what the high definition [picture] does to the game experience."

The board will integrate live video, replays, animation and game information onto a single screen, which can be devoted to one huge image or split among multiple elements.

"I think a lot of people with other ballparks and new stadiums . . . . will say, 'We've got to go see Turner Field, because they have led the charge in this whole technology business,' " Plant said.

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