Texas Motor Speedway is almost ready to turn on its television, the giant video board it is calling “Big Hoss TV — the Largest HD Screen in the World.”
In other words, more than you’ve got at home.
“We think it’s the ultimate fan amenity,” speedway president Eddie Gossage told reporters during a tour Friday of the construction of the 12-story structure that holds the monster board.
“When you come here, you’re never going to miss a pit stop. You’re never going to miss an incident. It gets the couch potatoes off the couch,” he said.
It also keeps TMS’ reputation as an innovator among NASCAR facilities, a reputation that might prove valuable as the sport retools its championship structure and potentially its schedule in the coming years.
NASCAR announced two weeks ago that its new Sprint Cup playoff format would eliminate drivers over the final 10 races, ending with four drivers with a chance to win it in the season finale in Miami.
“What’s best for the sport, for the teams, the sponsors, the TV networks — if they think that’s us, we’d love to have the finale,” Gossage said. “But we have not had any of those discussions. We’re not campaigning for it.”
Instead, TMS is boasting — rightfully.
The screen will be the largest not only among NASCAR facilities, but among all sports and entertainment facilities, Gossage said.
It sits in the center of the backstretch, where its 218-foot-wide, 94-foot-tall display will reach 120 feet above the track. It will be 79 percent larger than the video board at AT&T Stadium. Only the board at sister track Charlotte Motor Speedway will rival it.
“It’s the standard in the world for sports and entertainment, when you think about LED boards, whether that’s in Times Square in New York or in China, Tokyo — places like that,” Gossage said. “There’s nothing like this elsewhere on the planet. This is it. This is the standard.”
The track is planning a public unveiling in March, likely with an open infield and entertainment.
About 70 percent of the screen was in place Friday. The track said construction has been under way seven days a week for the past month, with a completion target of March 1. The next Sprint Cup race is April 6, the Duck Commander 500, and that is when the full screen will debut. Gossage said the track will use only part of the screen during the undercard races.
“Elvis didn’t open for anybody,” he said with a smile.
Naturally, Gossage hopes the screen — which will show not only network coverage of the race, but also an in-house production and replays and race statistics — pays off with bigger attendance.
But he said it’s also about keeping up with today’s fan.
“I think you’re going to see more and more of this occur, not just in auto racing facilities,” Gossage said. “I know Churchill Downs announced a megascreen shortly after we announced in September. You’re going to see more of that because fans are more demanding, and we’re all battling the same thing — really good television coverage, and we want to give fans a chance to come to a live event. This is kind of that cherry on top.”