Thirty feet tall. One hundred feet wide.
High-def video boards. Coming to a stadium near you.
When the 2010 season begins at FedExField, the fan experience will include a dynamic upgrade in each end zone with stunning visuals. You like watching the game on television? Welcome to your new living room.
These babies are big and bold. They replace the old screens that measured 28 feet by 28 feet and they are state of the art. Dallas' may be bigger but these are newer, crisper and, most importantly, ours.
Fan reaction generally has been positive. The message boards at Extremeskins.com offers a variety of opinions but who can argue with the end result, which is an investment by the club in game-day enhancement?
Baltimore's M&T Stadium offers a pair of 24 by 100 boards. Philadelphia's Lincoln Financial Field sports dual 27 by 96 screens. FexExField will top those. Charlotte's Bank of America Stadium presents a 31.5 by 77 board. FexExField's will top that and offer better resolution.
As they say in commercials, and that's not all ...
The big screens can be configured into smaller views, to show replays from different angles. Ten other new screens will dot the lower bowl, giving fans scores from other games, the game statistics and fantasy football updates. Your living room doesn't do that, does it?
"I can guarantee this," says David Donovan, the Redskins chief operating officer, "these boards will be among the best in any sports stadium, anywhere, and they will be ready for the 2010 season."
There's no public money involved in the most significant renovations to the stadium since its opening. As a privately-held entity, it bears all the expenses. It won't be reflected in ticket prices because the club has already announced no increase for general-admission seats this season, marking a fifth season at current rates. Only one other NFL team has maintained its ticket prices in that manner over the same period.
Busy times at the stadium and at Redskins Park speak of the new era. Before last season ended, the Redskins installed Bruce Allen as general manager and then hired Mike Shanahan, twice a Super Bowl winner with the Denver Broncos, as head coach. Shanahan and Allen continue putting together a new staff and evaluating the roster.
Retrofitting a building to accommodate such improvements isn't easy but it's necessary. Until final designs and specifications fall into place, the club won't know whether or not any of the club-seat patrons will be displaced or if their view might be impacted. In such cases, Donovan said, "we will notify them of their upgraded seat location at the same price."
Better seat, same price. With a better look at the new boards. And the new team that the new administration will put on the field.
Thirty feet tall. One hundred feet wide. Just another sign that the Redskins are thinking big.
Larry Weisman covered professional football for USA TODAY for 25 years and now joins the Redskins Broadcast Network and Redskins.com to bring his unique viewpoint and experience to Redskins fans. He also appears on Redskins Nation, airing twice nightly on Comcast SportsNet, and on ESPN 980 AM radio, all in the Washington, D.C. area. Read his Redskinsblitz blog at redskinsrule.com and follow him on Twitter.com/LarryWeisman.