Texans to provide big screen view of inauguration

Thousands gathered near the steps of the U.S. Capitol this week will watch a new president be sworn in on new light-emitting-diode screens provided by Argyle-based GoVision.

The North Texas provider of mobile large screens was busy in January retrofitting its tractor-trailers with brand-new screens that are now making their way to Washington, D.C., for the inauguration ceremony. Workers were welding new metal frames for the trucks and installing the screens, making sure all the LED lights worked prior to the ceremony, said company President Chris Curtis.

“We have 11 screens that are part of the official swearing-in and then we have some other activities around town,” Curtis said. Most of the other activities Curtis could not discuss, although he said he is allowed to say that GoVision’s screens will be used at a party at the Canadian Embassy, located along the inaugural parade route.

The two screens on the Capitol stage are 19 feet by 33 feet, and the ones on the Mall vary in size, with the smallest screen at 9 feet by 16 feet. Two screens came straight from the college football national championship game in Tampa, Fla., Curtis said.

This is the fourth presidential inauguration where GoVision is providing large outdoor screens for the audience. The company had screens at President George W. Bush’s second inaugural ceremony and both of President Barack Obama’s inaugurations.

GoVision has grown significantly from one truck with a screen driving around Fort Worth to promote TCU football games in 2002. Now, the company provides screens for almost 1,000 events a year and has 72 employees at its 50,000-square-foot headquarters in Argyle. GoVision, which was purchased by Plano-based Learfield last June, plans to expand its facility with a 25,000-square-foot building by the end of the year.

In 2016, the company built “Colossus,” a center-hung digital display of four LED screens that are 30 feet by 63 feet, suspended over Bristol Motor Speedway. The display includes 8,694 square feet of LED panels. And, like similar deals GoVision has with the Dallas Cowboys and TCU, the screens are taken down between races and used by GoVision for other events. GoVision then shares the revenue from the events with the speedway.

“Instead of having a huge asset sitting out there, they are generating revenue and helping us out with inventory,” Curtis said.

GoVision has also started building custom trailers with screens for companies like Coca-Cola to use on promotional tours. The company also fabricated the 70-foot-tall digital star used at Chicago’s New Year’s Eve party this year, using a new lightweight material that can be made into custom shapes and spheres. Curtis said the lighter LED panels can be hung from the sides of buildings and from ceilings that previously could not have supported the weight of traditional LED screens.

“The technology has continued to get better,” Curtis said. “We try to keep up. Eight of our midsized trucks we’re putting new screens on as we speak.”

Andrea Ahles: 817-390-7631, @Sky_Talk