Like a wide-screen TV delivery just before the Super Bowl, Raymond James Stadium is getting an incredible video upgrade just before the excitement begins.
On Thursday, representatives from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, TSA, Daktronics and Manhattan Construction gathered on site to provide an update on the massive stadium enhancements that are underway. The enhancements to Raymond James Stadium will take place in two phases, with phase one completed this year and phase two taking place in 2017. While the upgrades also include reconstructed suites and a new Hall of Fame Club, the most anticipated new feature is a wildly improved video and sound system.
"It's going to complement what's on the field and it's really going to give a game day experience so people can enjoy what's on the field," said Brian Ford, the Buccaneers' chief operating officer. "The game day experience, from the scoreboards through the ribbon boards, it's going to be unbelievable. We're going to be firing the cannons a lot this year, and they're going to hear it."
A look at updates being made to Raymond James Stadium.
With the new end zone videoboard structures in place – and standing 60 feet high by 160 feet wide – work has just now begin on installing the LED video displays. The north scoreboard will be put in place over the next 20 days, after which work will begin on the south scoreboard. New ribbon boards on the east and west stadium façades are also being installed, measuring six feet high by a total length of 680 feet, and each of the stadium's four corner towers will also be covered by 61'x43' videoboards.
In all, Raymond James Stadium will feature more than 39,000 square feet of LED space, more than 28,000 square feet of which will be capable of displaying high-definition video. That's an enormous upgrade over the previous system, which totaled 4,400 square feet of video space. In addition, the stadium will graduate from a single speaker cluster to full surround sound.
"The game day experience is going to be unbelievable," said Ford. "Raymond James Stadium I feel is a crown jewel of the NFL, but [it's even better] when you go from having 2,200-square-foot scoreboards to 9,600. We're going from one speaker in the whole stadium to having surround sound. It's going to be unbelievable.
"We're very proud of how we try to enhance [game day] with the pirate ship and firing the cannons and trying to get the crowd into it, but all of this new technology is going to give us the ability to provide a game day experience that's second to none."
Not only will Buccaneer fans witness replays in far more size and clarity, but the replays themselves will be more informative. That's because the stadium is going from six replay cameras, which is relatively standard in the NFL, to 18. Raymond James Stadium has already played host to two Super Bowls and will be the site of next January's college football championship game, but these significant enhancements should only help draw additional big events to the venue.
"I'm quite confident that as these improvements and enhancements to Raymond James Stadium take place over this year as well as Phase 2 next year, it's going to enable us to attract those larger events, including the Super Bowl," said Ford. "The national championship game coming on January 9th is going to have all of these enhancements from a video and from a sound standpoint and they're very excited about that."
Buccaneer fans will get their first look at the new video system at Raymond James Stadium on August 26, when the team plays a preseason game against the Cleveland Browns. While Buccaneer players and coaches head into one final break before the start of training camp, the construction at the stadium continues on schedule, promising to deliver an exciting new experience this fall.