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New scoreboards to make preseason debut



The boards, 101 feet wide by 24 feet high were previously upgraded in 2002. The old boards included permanent panels on each side that showed advertising, diminishing the size of what images could be shown in between.

The new technology can make use of all 101 feet of the boards, tripling the size of images that can be shown such as replays, White said.

Falcons Vice President of Marketing Jim Smith said the old boards were too small to display a replay image and, as a result, few were shown.

The new boards will provide the ability to show many more replays, he said.

"It was like watching a replay on your telephone in the past," Smith said. "Now when you go to this format, you can show a replay. Fans will really like seeing the replays. One of the things we really heard -- or that the NFL has heard -- is that fans feel you can get a better viewing experience at home. Some of that's due to the replay. Now we're going to show replay better than what you can see at home."

The boards were manufactured by Taiwan-based Opto Tech Corp., which also made the old boards. The company was the first to make an outdoor LED board, according to Randy Dobrinska, the project manager with CBS Outdoor Digital who oversaw the boards' installation at the Georgia Dome, and currently is installing one at the University of Virginia's Scott Stadium, where the Cavaliers' football team plays.

CBS Outdoor Digital is the exclusive distributor of the company's technology in the United States.

Dobrinska said crews began taking the old boards down on March 16 and had the new ones installed by the first week in June. They were ready for the exhibition soccer game between the Mexican and Venezuelan national teams who played at the dome on June 24. The original deadline for installation, Dobrinska said, was July 15.

Dobrinska said the there were no bugs with the system.

"Everything worked right out of the box," he said.

So, as of Saturday, *futbol *replays will have to make way for *football *replays. Other than the that national team soccer exhibition and another between pro soccer clubs AC Milan of Italy and Club America of Mexico on July 22 and the "Roam the Dome" event, the boards have yet to be shown before a large American football audience.

"It wasn't in its full effect like it will be seen at Falcons games," the Falcons' Smith said. "…The entertainment experience is 100 times better so whether we're showing highlights from around the league, sponsor features, player interviews -- it's all presented in a much more enjoyable viewable format."

The first regular season football game in which the boards will be used will be a college one, as Alabama plays Virginia Tech on Sept. 5 in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game at the Dome.

During game action, the screens will display "wing ads" that are 16 feet long on each side with the game action running at 69 feet wide in the middle. Those ads will rotate in 60-second increments.

In addition to the screen, the control room also was re-fitted with new technology, according to White. He said his staff will use videotape but more technology has gone to digital.

"The viewing experience for the fans will be the best it's ever been between what's going on on the field and then what's going on on the video boards," Smith said.

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