Every weekend in college football is a big deal, especially in the southern half of the U.S., but this weekend featured the undisputed biggest game in the history of the sport.
Not only did the Battle at Bristol pit two of college football’s most successful teams—Virginia Tech and Tennessee—against one another, but it did so in prime time at the reconfigured Bristol Motor Speedway, with the largest crowd in the sport’s history AND under the world’s largest free-standing center-hung display, the world-famous Colossus TV.
Colossus TV weighs more than 67 tons and features four separate 63-foot-wide-by-29.5-foot-high Panasonic LED video displays. It is comprised of 8,694 square-feet of digiLED Toura 6mm LED panels.
Panasonic was at the heart of the action for about 160,000 hyped fans, directing the game-day production and manage the content that’s displayed on the boards throughout the historic matchup. GoVision managed, operated and maintained the screen since it was unveiled a few months ago after helping with design, engineering and proof of concept.
“The Pilot Flying J Battle at Bristol is a highly-visible and premiere event for us,” says Jerry Caldwell, executive vice president and general manager of Bristol Motor Speedway. “We’re inviting new guests into our home and, we need to ensure that all of our high-end production equipment and displays operate at peak performance for the best fan experience.”
Each of Colossus’ four custom-built screens is approximately 30 feet tall by 63 feet wide. In total, the system features almost 54 million LEDs and 18 million pixels. The Toura 6 product was custom designed by digiLED to meet GoVision, Panasonic and BMS specifications and has a 6mm pixel pitch, meaning that the pixels are grouped tighter than any other large-scale, permanent outdoor display.
The result: a glimmering visual experience capable of offering 281 trillion different colors and that is 23 times brighter and 25 percent sharper than the typical home HD TV.
The display hangs from a halo-shaped truss and features an additional circular LED display beneath the screens measuring nearly 6 feet high. Between the screens and the LED ring, that’s more than 10,500 square feet of high-resolution, active viewing area.
“This is truly a one-of-a-kind, first-of-its-kind installation and I’m proud that our organization is the one with the capabilities to pull it off,” says Chris Curtis, CEO and founder of GoVision.
Panasonic consulted on all technical aspects leading up to the game, including content production for the Colossus TV, placement of video cameras, booking of crews and engineering services. Panasonic also acted as liaison between Bristol and ABC/ESPN, overseeing the time clock and statistical data paths and ensuring that all broadcast requirements were met.
The company also created game-day scripts and timelines and specialty content designed to more fully immerse fans in the action.
On game day, Panasonic directed a 35-person production crew as it aired on-field, video, bands and fan engagement activities.
“The largest college football game deserves the best technology to create the ultimate fan and player experience,” says Michael Rocha, Panasonic Enterprise Solutions Company. “Bristol is the perfect place for this, as they are pioneers in the sporting world, boasting some of the most incredible technology around.”
Panasonic has been the technology provider for some of the world’s most iconic sports and entertainment venues, including Churchill Downs, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, NASDAQ Market Site Tower and Lincoln Financial Field, the home of the Philadelphia Eagles.
The company’s largest installation, “Big Hoss TV” at the Texas Motor Speedway, earned a Guinness World Record in 2014 as the largest High Definition LED video display in the world—larger than a typical 12-story building.
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