Cowboys Taps Sony for Stadium Tech; Owner Jones Appears at NAB

By Ken Kerschbaumer

Dallas Cowboys owner and General Manager Jerry Jones highlighted Sony’s NAB press conference, taking the stage to discuss the new Cowboys stadium, which will open in June with more than 3,000 Sony LCD displays, Sony production equipment, and a massive, 60-yard-long center-hung scoreboard from Mitsubishi.

He pointed out the increasing importance of technology in the presentation of games at the stadium, saying, “Half of my time is spent looking for ways to involve the fans.”

The centerpiece of the system will be a massive scoreboard hung 95 ft. over the field with 30,000 sq. ft. of display. “Players will be 72 ft. high on the screen,” Jones said.

More than 3,000 Sony LCD displays will be located throughout the luxury suites, concourses, concession areas, and more, offering fans viewing options that extend beyond the action on the field. Fans can view replays, interviews with players and coaches, and content produced exclusively for the stadium’s in-house TV network, according to the team.

The displays will be used to show game content and other Cowboys-produced video and advertising elements. The Sony HD monitors, which range in size from 19 to 70 in. (viewable area, measured diagonally), will be connected via RS-232 interface to a Cisco IPTV network for digital signage and other content-delivery applications.

The stadium’s HD control room has a Sony MVS-8000G production switcher and BVM and LUMA LCD displays, with Sony HDC-1450 cameras, XDCAM HD PDW-700 camcorders, and PDW-HD1500 decks also used.

“Our new stadium will be an entertainment destination, and more than just a great place to watch a game,” Jones says. “We were looking for the right company to work with on delivering an entirely new type of immersive fan experience with the latest cutting-edge technology. With its consumer and professional HD-technology expertise, Sony was the right brand.”

Plans and sponsorship opportunities may also include use of Sony consumer-electronics devices, such as Blu-ray disc players or PlayStation systems, to add to the level of fan excitement during games.

“The Dallas Cowboys have a well earned reputation for putting quality into everything they do, from the team on the field to the video material they produce,” says John Scarcella, president of Sony Electronics’ Broadcast and Business Solutions Co. “Their brand and their vision of how entertainment can and should be delivered is a perfect match for our HD technology, and we’re extremely proud to be working with them on this beautiful new stadium.”

Jones got the idea for the massive scoreboard at a Celine Dion concert in Las Vegas. The huge screen behind the star offered fans far from the stage a close-up of her singing. By the end of the concert, Jones felt as if he were close to Dion while she sang. The goal with the new stadium is to give football fans that same sense of intimacy.

“We asked for the very best, and Sony came up with the technology,” he says, adding, “This [technology] is like heart surgery for us, and we needed a real-time system that works without skipping a beat.”

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