The new Husky Stadium at the University of Washington is going to be pretty freaking awesome when it re-opens next weekend for the season’s first game against Boise State. Everything looks brand spankin’ new, the crowd is closer to the field, and heck, there’s now Ivar’s, Kidd Valley and Trophy Cupcakes — your mouth watering yet?
But one of the coolest — and geekiest — new aspects has to be the ability to play Xbox on the new jumbotron.
Yep, that’s right — when players are done with practice, they can plop down on a patio across the field and battle each other on the 31.2-foot-high, 108-foot wide Daktronics DVX-502-series display.
The new video board that sits atop the east grandstand has similar specs to the screens inside Times Square in New York City and can display 281 trillion colors. It’s 24 feet wider than the big screen at CenturyLink Field — home of the Seahawks and Sounders — though it’s not quite as insanely massive as the Safeco Field jumbotron.
There are many more tech upgrades at the new Husky Stadium, which underwent a $250 million renovation over the past year. At the most basic level, the stadium is now entirely cashless, whereas before it was solely a cash-only venue. Carter Henderson, UW’s Assistant Athletic Director for Public Relations, said that this should have a big impact on concession lines and concourse traffic.
The school also installed nine new LED video boards inside the stadium.
“One thing people will notice on the 31st is how lit up this building is,” Henderson said.
The content on those boards, along with the 700 other digital displays throughout the building, can be individually programmed and controlled throughout the game thanks to a significant upgrade in IPTV at the stadium. Henderson said that this flexibility is huge, especially when you look at the direction sports marketing is headed.
In the future, the team could collect market research on a specific suite holder, for example, and then deliver directed advertising to the TV screens inside a given suite.
The in-stadium Wi-Fi has also been upgraded, but the team hasn’t made a big investment in improving the Wi-Fi just yet.
“We spoke with a consultant who told us that LTE is expected to surpass Wi-Fi,” Henderson said. “We felt like an investment only in Wi-Fi at this point would be short-sighted.”
However, the team has worked with its mobile partners like Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T to improve connection speeds at the new building.
“Connectivity will be in a better place than it was, but don’t expect it to be flawless yet,” Henderson said.
So, which Xbox game would you like to most play on the big screen at Husky Stadium?