I wrote my column for Wednesday's newspaper about the new high-def TV screen at Charlotte Motor Speedway, which in true speedway style is apparently the biggest one in the world. It's 200 feet by 80 feet, or 16,000 square feet, and since it's 30 feet off the ground to begin with that means the whole thing is 11 stories high.
The screen itself weighs 165,000 pounds, so more than a couple of folks would be needed to carry it up the stairs should you decide to get one. Cost? Undetermined, but the Dallas Cowboys Stadium video screens (2 of 'em, but each about 30 percent smaller than this one) cost a total of $40 million.
It's really, really cool, and I'm not that much of a gadget guy. But this will change the way people watch races at the speedway, forever. DO NOT ever buy a ticket where you can't see that screen -- and there are some -- because your experience will be diminished for it.
I also proposed in the column that if the TV is ever non-operational that everyone in the speedway should get at least a 20 percent refund on the cost of their tickets. Because once they see that screen in action, they aren't ever going to want to watch a race without it again.
One note: The screen won't simply broadcast the TV feed of the race (the big ones this year are the all-star race May 21st and the Coca-Cola 600 on May 29th). It will have access to that feed, but it will also have access to a number of other in-house cameras and will be going from one thing to another. The sound won't be the TV feed, either -- at least not usually. It will still be the vroom of the cars.
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