Venue News: Carolina Panthers Unveil Stadium Upgrade Plans; ‘Big Hoss TV’ Takes Shape in Texas

Compiled by Karen Hogan, Associate Editor, Sports Video Group

The Carolina Panthers recently unveiled the team’s first phase of planned renovations for Bank of America Stadium, which will include four new escalator bays and video boards that are more than twice as large as the current screens. The team said the $65 million renovations will make the 18-year-old stadium one of the NFL’s most modern, and that every fan visiting the 74,000-seat facility will benefit. The team will start renovations in two weeks…

…The massive steel beams that will compose the skeletal structure of the world’s largest HD sports venue video board being created by Panasonic will be raised over the next three weeks of construction at Texas Motor Speedway. The steel-beam skeleton will serve as the foundation and framework of the video board known as “Big Hoss TV” that will weigh 108 tons and rise 12 stories above the center of the backstretch at the world-class, Fort Worth-based motorsports venue. With dimensions of 218 feet wide and 94.6 feet tall, the video board display area will feature 20,633.64 square feet of HD imagery to earn it the official title of world’s largest…

…As they rework their front office, the Miami Dolphins also seem to be rewriting their playbook for winning public dollars for stadium renovations. Team CEO Tom Garfinkel told a business group last Wednesday that the team is working on a new approach to upgrading Sun Life Stadium after last year’s push for a tax-funded renovation failed in Tallahassee. He offered no specifics. The talk of a new stadium push comes as Dolphins owner Stephen Ross searches for a new general manager after the abrupt departure of Jeff Ireland…

…There is more tweaking than major renovation scheduled to take place at Dodger Stadium this off-season, not that the 52-year-old ballpark won’t undergo some noticeable changes. The most significant upgrade, however, will go unseen by the fans. After spending more than $100 million on stadium improvements last season that included a new Dodgers clubhouse, this season the visitors’ clubhouse gets a makeover. The Dodger Stadium visiting clubhouse was the smallest in the majors, but now visiting teams will have a new clubhouse behind the dugout that will be adjacent to the batting tunnel and training areas built last season…

…Four years ago, Vancouver entertained the world with the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. It was a multibillion-dollar effort, in the construction of venues and in the operation of the two Games. Canadian taxpayers shelled out much of that to help with the construction or upgrading of sports, operational, and training facilities. In an effort to prevent the construction of “white elephant” facilities that would sit unused — a problem all too familiar in other Olympic cities — the Vancouver Organizing Committee, with all levels of government, came up with a $110-million legacy fund for the three facilities most at-risk financially: the Whistler Sliding Centre, Whistler Olympic Park, and the Richmond Speedskating Oval. The Vancouver Sun takes a look at the 2010 Olympic venues, both sporting and organizational.