By Will Martin
Whenever you have a Grand Opening for something new it usually is a given that the people behind the innovation, vision, addition, or enhancement will be present to discuss the roots of why such an event has come to pass.
Last September 23rd, before a packed house in the Towers at Texas Motor Speedway, Eddie Gossage introduced the racing world to a novelty that would make history for fans of NASCAR and IRL racing. He used a term called, ‘Big Hoss TV.’ Gossage promised that this new addition would potentially revolutionize the way fans of racing would watch an event.
Back in 2009 Jerry Jones set the technology world ablaze with the birth of what is now AT&T stadium. Back on June 6th 2009, George Strait set the crowd oohing and aahing at the sight and size of a huge videoboard that was beyond huge. Whether Jerry knew it or not his idea spawned an ideology that plays on the idea that, ‘If everything’s bigger in Texas, then…’
It was reported that Texas has six or seven of the largest HD screens in the world. March 19th, three weeks before the actual debut for the usage of Big Hoss TV, the newest innovation was unveiled for a curious media and all the fans could attend the evening event for free. You were asked to bring your cooler and lawn chair to fill up the infield. And fill it they did!
Bigger than the Lincoln Memorial, 9,000 square feet larger than the Cowboys video board, two times taller than Big Tex, over 108 tons of high definition TV which weighs more than seven and a half elephants, 281 trillion possible color configurations, two jumbo jets, able to fit nine Alamos inside of it or stack up to 373 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Cars, 4.8 million pixels, even bigger than 32 standard billboards!
Say hello to Big Hoss TV. Coming to NASCAR on April 6th 2014 for the Duck Commander 500. One day in between the Final Four at AT&T Stadium. In the event the NCAA teams have a strong NASCAR base like Texas, Arizona, or North Carolina. You can fathom a record turnout for this new addition to the techno world. Big Hoss TV!
On hand to talk about this unveiling was TMS President Eddie Gossage who said from the very beginning the reason behind putting forth an LED screen that is 79% bigger than what Jerry Jones has. For the ultimate fan experience!
“Everybody is competing in sports with the ever improving-technology that we all put into our houses with home theater,” Gossage said. “This is a big place and you could be watching somebody race down into Turn 1 and 2 and something occurs up in Turn 3 and you completely missed it. You could miss a moment on pit road. Now with the big screen you are not going to miss a thing.
“You are going to see the replays. You are going to see the up close, tight shots. The fans won’t miss a thing. It is the ultimate fan amenity. To have the biggest one in the world, that’s just one of those ‘Everything is Bigger in Texas’ stories that we are really proud to be a part of.”
SMI President/CEO Bruton and Marcus Smith were on hand along with the Panasonic VP of Eco Solutions, Richard Ballard. They did a Q&A with Eddie Gossage with the media beforehand to discuss how the whole concept of how Big Hoss TV came to be.
They worked feverishly nonstop the last four months to make this idea a reality. Richard Ballard offered the following:
“When you are here tonight but also the Duck Commander 500 weekend, you will see a visual racing once you come to Texas Motor Speedway that you will have to have this every time you go to a NASCAR race track,” Ballard said. “Not only will you see the size of this screen, but it’s one of the most powerful broadcast screens you will see in all of sports.”
You also had an added bonus of the husband and wife duo of Duck Dynasty’s Willie and Korie Robertson (who bears quite the resemblance to one time NBC newscaster Jane McGarry) in attendance to talk about the show and being a part of the 2014 racing card. It was also announced that the Robertson’s will also be sponsoring the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La. later in the year.
Helio Castroneves and Kyle Busch also were on hand for the pre-unveiling to give their insights on how racers might do things a little differently as they can see their visage go as high as 220 feet across and 98 feet high.
“My living room TV is 75 inches, so it’s not a 2,844-inch TV, that’s for sure,” Busch said. “That’s quite interesting to put into perspective with what you have in your house.”
“We’re going so fast down the backstretch that I don’t know if I’ll have time to look up, but I’m going to try to look at myself and see if my hair is in place,” Castroneves joked.
Kyle Busch will have his sights set on completing the sweep of the O’Reilly Parts 300 and Duck Commander 500 like he did in 2013.
When Willie Robertson was asked about seeing himself on Big Hoss TV his answer drew a chuckle.
“Only in my mind,” Willie said.” “We’ve got some cool things happening here and with that big TV screen I can’t wait to see what we look like that big.”
As 8 o’clock neared there was a stage set up on the infield of the speedway where hosts, Paige Duke and Jon Wilson, discussed the many things they were excited about for 2014 with the arrival of Big Hoss TV. Also in attendance for the unveiling were NASCAR President Mike Helton, Hulman and Co. CEO Mark Miles. Many VIPs, dignitaries, Mayor Betsy Price of Ft. Worth and 8,000 fans who came out for an added bonus.
Once the unveiling was completed, fans of the A&E show Duck Dynasty were able to watch an episode of the popular series (with the Robertsons in attendance) on the big screen. One nice surprise given to the Robertson was a specially made racing helmet that bore the Duck Dynasty characters on the top. The artwork was done courtesy of artist David Arrigo. A name familiar to fans of Mike Modano and hockey for artwork he had done during the 2007 All-Star Game.
Q&A’s preceded the unveiling with Kyle Busch, Helio Castroneves, Ballard, Gossage, and the Smiths with the added caveat that on April 6th people from the Guinness Book of World Records would be on hand to lay claim to Big Hoss TV as the largest LED videoboard anywhere in the world!
All that’s left to ponder now is how popular this new addition to Texas Motor Speedway is going to be… and how long before someone (no doubt in Texas) will try to outdo the behemoth that is Big Hoss.
Seeing Willie Robertson and Uncle Si on that LED I thought only one thing…That sucker is huge. Going to a Cowboys game now will be a letdown.
Kudos to Eddie Gossage and the staff for the vision, the idea, and the cojones to make this happen!