The Evolution of Jones AT&T Stadium|
The north end zone redevelopment project has redefined Jones AT&T Stadium.
by Britton Drown
Sept. 7, 2013
LUBBOCK, Texas - The view from Deputy Athletics Director Joe Parker's office truly is impressive. Nestled inside the south end zone offices of Jones AT&T Stadium, a clear August afternoon provides quite the vantage point to observe just how much that particular scene has changed over the previous eight months.
Today, that view stretches across the freshly painted playing surface with its perfectly striped white lines and red and black end zones. Eventually it lands beneath the shadows of perhaps the largest symbol of the new era of Texas Tech football. When he arrived at Texas Tech in the fall of 2011 the north end zone, and the video board in particular, was an area that quickly called for his attention.
"I can't tell you the number of emails we got," Parker said. "It became pretty apparent after the first few games that our fans were not satisfied with the experience. What you have seen across the conference is people moving to pretty large boards and increasing the quality of the picture and sound systems."
Those emails and the consistent feedback from the Texas Tech fan base led Parker and Athletics Director Kirby Hocutt on a search for an upgrade to the stadium that already had a reputation for one of the best fan bases in the country.
Now, it just needed one of the best video boards in the country.
"We identified a funding model that would put us in a position to support a large investment into a video board," Parker said. "At the same time we knew we needed to upgrade the control room at the United Spirit Arena so it quickly became a pretty comprehensive project."
That model, an $11 million game plan, would provide Texas Tech fans and Jones AT&T Stadium with not only one of the largest video board structures in all of college football, but a significantly upgraded sound system, interactive ribbon boards and colonnade enclosure to complete the remodeled north end zone.
The high definition picture is generated by a total of over 1.3 million pixels. Each of those pixels includes a red, green and blue LED within the computer chip to combine for over 4.1 million LEDs capable of producing 281 trillion colors.
It's all geared towards producing a picture that Texas Tech fans will notice create a state-of-the art football gameday experience.
"It's a night and day difference," Texas Tech director of sports broadcasting services David Hougland said. "This is a true high-definition video screen which is something that we have never had."
As part of the video board investment, Texas Tech devoted $2.8 million to upgrading the United Spirit Arena control room which serves both the football video board as well as video productions across campus. That investment helped to purchase new high-definition cameras and lenses which will in turn produce an even better in-game experience for fans at Jones AT&T Stadium.
"Because we have improved cameras and lenses the picture they see will be identical to what they see at home on their television." Hougland said.
Hougland said the upgraded camera equipment will allow Texas Tech photographers to capture more crisp and detailed footage of the game as well and allow the video board to serve as an even better engagement opportunity for video board producers. Fans at Texas Tech football games will now see more of themselves on the video board and have the opportunity to participate with in-game video board features more than ever before.
With that in mind, Texas Tech hired Chris Humphreys as a full-time video screen producer responsible for developing game day content through the new video board.
"The video board is now geared specifically towards the game day experience." Hougland said.
Using an upgraded control room at the United Spirit Arena, the Texas Tech broadcasting services department is able to communicate with the board and control every facet of its broadcasting capabilities.
While the technology of the new Texas Tech high-definition video board, ribbon boards and sound system is certainly impressive, the architecture and aesthetic touch of the redevelopment process was a key component to the project.
Texas Tech sought out the services of Anthony James Partners for consulting on the design of the video board. AJP has worked with several high-profile sports organizations including the Green Bay Packers to design and engineer similar large-scale projects.
"We recognized pretty early that we as an institution and a staff we may do this size of a project once every 10-15 years," Parker said. "They live and breathe it every day. They were very, very helpful."
With the help of AJP, the video board not only brings state-of-the art picture and sound to the gameday atmosphere of Jones AT&T Stadium, but also reflects the trademark Spanish Renaissance architecture seen around the Texas Tech campus.
Parallel with the video board project, the north end zone colonnade project also included the addition of two seating sections with red chair back seating. Each section, located on the east and west of the new video board, has about 350 seats.
"We wanted to give closure to the north end zone," Parker said. "It has created more of a bowl enclosure to the stadium, and we have been thoughtful in the way we have done that in that we added chair backs with the idea of possibly repurposing the north end zone building sometime in the future."
Those final chair backs were being put in place that late August afternoon as Parker sat in his office peering out the large window as the redevelopment project neared its completion. The first home football game was less than two weeks away, and he was ready to see the entire project come to life.
"It's going to be great," Parker said. "The best part will be watching the fans experience it. We want to share it with them and let them be a part of it through seeing themselves on the board and experiencing the game day atmosphere better than ever before."