Noticed a lot of empty seats during NFL games the last few seasons? The league has. Attendance is down 5% over the past five years, a drop widely attributed to the rise of HD television and the arguably superior, and certainly cheaper, experience of watching games from the couch. To combat the flight of fans, this past off-season the Tennessee Titans poured more than $26.8 million into an overhaul of LP Field's multimedia system. The centerpieces are a pair of 157-foot-by-54-foot, 1,032-pixel scoreboards behind each end zone.
The mammoth screens are the first in the NFL to employ surface-mounted diodes, which produce extra-bright, and therefore sharp, images. SMD technology has been used in enclosed NBA and NHL arenas for years, but previous iterations couldn't handle inclement weather. The new weather-safe displays let the Titans pump a steady stream of replays that will look crystal clear from every seat, and the team will show them more often and from angles unavailable to at-home viewers. "The upgrades fall in line with the NFL's push to compete with home viewing," says Titans EVP Don MacLachlan. Now the team just needs to hope 3-D TV doesn't catch on.
[Image: Flickr user Matthew Tosh]
A version of this article appeared in the October 2012 issue of Fast Company magazine.