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Planned Las Vegas Stadium to Feature Largest LED Screen in Baseball

by April 11, 2024
Vegas Stadium

Vegas Stadium

A new Las Vegas stadium for the Oakland Athletics baseball team is in the works, and recently-released plans show that it could be home to an 18,000-square-foot video wall displaying stats, replays, and more. The new ballpark is scheduled to open in 2028. If the enormous display is built as planned, it will be the largest LED screen in Major League Baseball. No ordinary jumbotron, the display is to be incorporated into a curved wall that will transition seamlessly into one of the building’s multiple ceiling surfaces. The design of the roof, which has drawn comparisons to the famed Sydney Opera House, features five overlapping layers inspired by traditional baseball pennants. The Bjarke Ingels Group is leading the design, with the American infrastructure design firm HNTB providing logistics. The Athletics released renderings of the proposed stadium in March, along with details of the estimated budget ($1.5 billion) and the 9-acre location at the intersection of Tropicana Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard. The 18,000-square-foot video wall would take the largest-screen title from the New York Mets, whose Citi Field boasts a screen measuring 17,400 square feet in the borough of Queens. The new stadium is also expected to feature the world’s largest cable-net glass window, which will supposedly provide stunning views of the Las Vegas Strip. Those familiar with the Strip will know that The Tropicana hotel and casino will need to be demolished in order to make space for the stadium and other planned projects. The hotel closed on April 2nd to begin preparations for the demolition, which is expected to take 12 months to complete. Construction of the new ballpark could then break ground in spring of 2025.

We wanted a design that was unique and would fit in with the incredible innovations and excitement that is the Strip. Bjarke and I actually came in a little over a year ago, and we walked to the site, we went up to the Tropicana and we looked at the Strip from the roof and looked south, east, north and west and were just thrilled with the opportunity.

— John Fisher, Oakland Athletics Owner

Vegas Stadium Roof

Not everyone is so optimistic about the new stadium. Las Vegas journalist Shawn Tempesta believes that it looks too good to be true. “At first glance, the stadium looks really fancy,” he wrote. “Look at those lines! That screen in right field looks incredible! It is almost as though they dreamt what a futuristic baseball stadium would look like in Australia and AI popped out these images. Once you get past the obvious window dressing, you start to realize things don’t necessarily line up.” The promised retractable roof has been scrapped, and there is no lighting system shown in the renderings. Also, the renderings don’t appear to be drawn to scale, and they don’t show a planned casino that is expected to obstruct the view of the Vegas strip — one of the stadium’s biggest selling points. Another is the massive jumbotron, but even that is stirring doubt among some fans. Melissa Lockard, a Senior Editor at a subscription-based sports journalism website called The Athletic, tweeted that the gigantic curved screen “may induce vertigo.” There are even folks who are actively fighting to prevent the stadium from being built. On April 9, the Nevada Supreme Court began hearing arguments in a case that will determine whether a group backed by the Nevada State Education Association can move forward with collecting signatures for a referendum on the stadium. The group Schools Over Stadiums hopes that voters would kill the stadium deal if given a chance. The construction of the stadium would use $380 million in public funding, and Schools Over Stadiums argues that the money should be allocated to more important causes, like education. Voters in Kansas, Colorado, Georgia, and New Mexico have recently rejected publicly-subsidized sports facilities in those states.

Despite the team’s abysmal 50–112 record for 2023, the Oakland A’s have a passionate fanbase that is desperately hoping that the plan will fall through, and that the team will stay put — even as other major sports teams have all but abandoned the city. The NBA’s Golden State Warriors left Oakland’s Oracle Arena after 47 years, relocating to San Francisco in 2019, ostensibly to take advantage of a wealthier fanbase. Meanwhile, Oakland’s NFL team, the Raiders, relocated to Las Vegas in 2020. But some fans believe that the A’s might not leave after all. I spoke with Matt, a local super-fan who has attended 357 A’s games since 2010. He said that the Vegas stadium is far from a done deal. At this point, it’s little more than vaporware. The team’s owner, John Fisher, reportedly has not outlined a plan for securing the $1.5 billion that it would cost to complete the project. “He’s inept, and doesn’t like to spend money,” Matt said. “So until shovels are in the ground and that Vegas stadium gets built, it’s possible it could all fall through.” Matt implied that the team’s poor performance in recent years is proof that Fisher doesn’t have what it takes to make the necessary deals to follow through on the planned stadium. “No one knows how it’ll get done,” Matt said. “If you Google John Fisher, you’ll find a treasure trove of sportswriters blasting him for owner malpractice.” When I asked Matt what he thinks of the Vegas stadium’s proposed video wall, he did not mince words. “If this AV system costs any money,” he said, “John Fisher will certainly look to cut corners, as he does with the construction of his so-called ‘major league’ rosters. He will likely never succeed in building his mythical Las Vegas ballpark.”

Soccer Stadium The Cube

One thing is certain: the AV installations at sports venues are getting bigger, better, and more expensive as their presence seems to take on greater importance. The New York City Football Club’s new purpose-built soccer stadium is expected to be completed by 2027, and will feature a humongous cube-shaped entrance lined with LED displays covering nearly 11,000 square feet and reaching seven stories in height. The stadium will also house a large LED wall, but the entrance cube “promises to create the most immersive arrival experience in New York sports,” according to HOK, the architecture, engineering, and planning firm working on the project. The angled, cube-shaped entryway will greet fans arriving via public transportation. I first heard about the project from the digital signage blog Sixteen:Nine, where writer Dave Haynes observed that “this may be a looming opportunity for an LED display manufacturer – a big LED portal leading into what would be New York City’s first purpose-designed (soccer) stadium. The entryway… would be a signature feature of the new stadium.” Haynes also pointed out that The Cube is just one element of the proposed AV installation for the site. “There is also a big-ass LED score/replay screen schemed into a corner of the seating bowl,” he said, “and the overall development includes a hotel, retail, housing, and even an elementary school. That could mean many screens.”

We designed The Cube to be an iconic gateway that symbolizes NYCFC’s bold ambition and immerses fans in an unforgettable game-day experience. Its cutting-edge technology and striking architecture will make it a true landmark for the city and the sport.

— Rashed Singaby, Principal and Senior Project Designer at HOK

Vegas Stadium Screen

It will be interesting to see whether these ambitious AV installations make it from the design stage all the way to the construction reality. Though certain elements may seem impractical or even unlikely for a sports venue, projects like the Sphere arena in Las Vegas have shown that there is virtually no limit to what AV can do when the imagination and the funding are both flowing. (The Sphere’s exterior is covered with 580,000 square feet of LED displays. The interior features a 16K resolution wraparound LED display, beam-forming loudspeakers, and even 4D physical effects.) Will increasingly advanced AV technology improve the experience of attending sporting events, or will the baseball and soccer games of the future eventually begin to feel like theme-park attractions? Share your thoughts in the related forum thread below.


About the author:
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Jacob is a music-lover and audiophile who enjoys convincing his friends to buy audio gear that they can't afford. He's also a freelance writer and editor based in Los Angeles.

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