Ballpark getting $13 million HD overhaul

The new video board, which spans 5,040 square feet, will replace the current 864-square-foot board atop the Home Run Porch roof. Illustration: Texas Rangers

ARLINGTON, Texas -- It won't be as big as Jerry's, but the Texas Rangers promise it will be just as spectacular.

Rangers managing partner and CEO Chuck Greenberg on Friday unveiled plans for a $13 million project to improve the video and audio presentation at Rangers Ballpark. The project is headlined by a 5,040-square foot, high-definition video board atop the home hun porch in right field and will extend to every television set on a wall in a suite and hanging in the concourses.

"This is a project that began as an attempt to upgrade the current video board and turned into something far greater," Greenberg said. "This is a project that we've pursued with tremendous energy and intensity since we formally took over the ballclub on August 12, and has become a project whose scope will significantly and very favorably impact the experience of every fan in the ballpark."

The new home run porch board will measure 42 ft. by 120 ft., nearly six times the size of the current square, standard-definition video board that has remained the same dimensions since the ballpark opened in 1994, about four years removed from HD boldly changing the game of video presentation.

The new board will be flanked by another high-definition video board in center field that will replace the old one between the Coca-Cola bottles atop the office building.

The video board built into the left-field wall in 2009 that replaced the manual scoreboard will be upgraded with HD technology, giving most fans a vantage point to at least one HD video board from anywhere in the ballpark. All three boards are being produced by Daktronics.

Greenberg said the project will be completed by Opening Day at Rangers Ballpark on April 1 when the Rangers play the Boston Red Sox.

The entire technology falls under the control of smiling, longtime Rangers vice-president of in-game entertainment Chuck Morgan.

"It's very special and personally it's been long, hard work to get something like this done and when the man from Pittsburgh [Greenberg] came in and he's all about all he can do for the fans and enhancing the fans' trip to the ballpark, the two Chucks worked pretty good together."

Jerry Jones can still claim the largest video board in the world at Cowboys Stadium, but Greenberg is clearly ushering in a new video age for Rangers fans. The project also includes every outdated television set hanging in the concourses being replaced by flat-screen televisions.

"I used to joke it looked like a Smithsonian Exhibit honoring 1994," Greenberg said of the concourses full of older model TVs. "These will all be high-definition, flat-panel Sony televisions and monitors. Every single one of them in every location in the ballpark -- in the concourses, outside the concession stands, in the suites, you name it -- all of the old TVs will be gone, and may they rest in peace."

Menu boards at concession stands will be replaced with flat-screens, and the audio system will undergo a total overhaul that includes replacing old speakers, adding new ones and upgrading production equipment.

All video boards, including the ribbon displays that wrap around the lowest suite-level seating of the stadium and more than 800 Sony LCD monitors throughout the stadium will be part of the IPTV System, creating a venue-wide digital media network.

It is not unlike the system at Cowboys Stadium in which the control room enables any manner of video, in-game statistics, advertising or even real-time, in-house marketing to promote anything from the next night's giveaway to that inning's price-cut at the concession stand, to be shown on any video board or television monitor at the press of a button.

Greenberg said it will not only enhance the fans' experience, but provide new revenue for the ballclub through new and creative streams of advertising.

"This really goes to the core of the experience of being at the ballpark and that was very important to us," Greenberg said. "We've taken an area that was antiquated and behind the times and this puts us ahead of most every ballclub and ballpark out there."

Jeff Caplan covers the Rangers for ESPNDallas.com. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his weekly mailbag.