Wednesday, June 10, 2009

American Airlines Center to get "true HD" upgrade

As a Dallas Stars fan, you got to be excited about what is coming next season when you attend a National Hockey League game at the American Airlines Center.

No, it is not in reference to the team on the ice, but it is what you will also appreciate when watching them play. In a joint announcement by the Center Operating Company, an entity that runs the arena in a joint partnership between Stars owner Thomas Hicks and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban:

American Airlines Center, home of the Dallas Stars and Dallas Mavericks, today announced plans to install the first and largest 1080 high-definition video replay system in an NHL and NBA venue in the country. Digital video throughout the arena bowl will be increased by over 300 percent with the addition of a new high-definition center scoreboard and two stadium-sized video displays that will dominate the upper end walls. The new video displays will be manufactured and installed this summer and ready for the 2009-2010 hockey and basketball seasons."

As presented in the Stars' news release, this is what the American Airlines Center's new HD scoreboard will look like. (image courtesy of Center Operating Company)

In addition to the new video displays, a "new generation" audio system will be installed. It will have the ability to create custom audio effects. So when you watch a Stars or Mavericks game in the future, it will be a large-scale version of a home theater system. You're certainly paying the big bucks to attend a game, why not have that money well spent by the arena company to have the best sights and sounds to offer?

The American Airlines Center opened on July 27, 2001 at the construction cost of at the time a staggering $420 million.

"When we opened the doors of American Airlines Center in 2001, we told the fans that we would remain on the forefront of technology," Mark Cuban Companies vice president Martin Woodall said. "We've gone beyond that commitment, with the highest resolution and largest video screens ever installed in an arena and we're combining this with a new custom digital sound system to greatly enhance the fan experience."

video courtesy: Dallas Stars

What does this mean for the Dallas sports fan experience? Center Operating Company president Brad Mayne explains on behalf of Cuban and Hicks about the arena's new video and audio system.

"Mark and Tom continue their commitment to make improvements to the American Airlines Center. These improvements will maintain American Airlines Center's position in hosting the 'best of the best' in the NBA, NHL and concert events for many years to come. I applaud our owners, staff, Mavericks & Stars, along with our vendors for delivering the very best live experience available to the sports and entertainment industry."

These arena upgrades come six months before Dallas will host the 2010 NBA All-Star Game on February 14, 2010. This mid-winter event will have the majority of its activities at the American Airlines Center while the game itself will be played at the brand-new 80,000-seat Cowboys Stadium in nearby Arlington, Texas.

Among the other NHL arenas that now have high definition video screen displays on their overhead scoreboards include:

*TD Banknorth Garden in Boston
*HSBC Arena in Buffalo
*Bell Centre in Montréal
*Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey
*Wachovia Center in Philadelphia
*HP Pavillion in San Jose
*St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa
*Air Canada Centre in Toronto
*Verizon Center in Washington

General Motors Place in Vancouver has their Daktronics ProStar LED scoreboard screens as HD ready. The RBC Center in Raleigh is currently in the process of installing their new HD scoreboard.

It is really hard to believe it has already been eight years since American Airlines Center opened. It feels like it was only a real short time ago that the Stars were playing at the Reunion Arena on the southwest side of downtown Dallas.

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