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Big, Big Debut: EverBank Field upgrades, including world's largest video screens, are unveiled

Posted: July 26, 2014 - 10:46pm  |  Updated: July 27, 2014 - 3:47pm
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Fireworks rise from behind the south end zone Saturday night at EverBank Field. The Jaguars announced that 52,961 tickets were distributed for the Mega Event.  Bob.Self@jacksonville.com
Bob.Self@jacksonville.com
Fireworks rise from behind the south end zone Saturday night at EverBank Field. The Jaguars announced that 52,961 tickets were distributed for the Mega Event.

The video boards of EverBank Field had their own commercials, billboards and shout-outs from some of Jacksonville’s biggest politicians and businessmen. As Saturday night approached, one big question hung in the air: After months of hype and millions of dollars, would the boards live up to expectations?

EverBank Field unveiled $63 million worth of renovations Saturday night, including the 362-foot-wide video boards, touted as the world’s largest TV screens. Most of that money, $43 million, will come from taxpayers in the form of hotel bed taxes.

Fans gave Jaguars owner Shad Khan a standing ovation as he took the podium to debut the video boards. His smile projected on the screens, just about clear enough to pick out mustache hairs.

“We’re proud that the world’s largest scoreboards are up with the name EverBank,” he said. “Let’s turn on the boards.”

Khan and Jacksonville politicians counted down, and fans’ voices rang in the air for the “three, two, one.”

The screens cut to a series of shots of Jacksonville’s horizon as the sun rose. Those in the stands turned their heads, leaned onto railings and snapped photos. The boards lit up with aerial shots of Jacksonville’s beaches, sparks of lightning and close-up snapshots of everyday life: military homecomings, golf and children holding American flags.

Related: Fulham a strong first act, wins soccer friendly against D.C. United

Related: GET ON BOARD: A rundown of the new videoboards at EverBank Field

Slideshow: EVERBANK FIELD MEGA EVENT: Soccer, Giant Scoreboards and Carrie Underwood

Review: Carrie Underwood wears Jaguars jersey while performing in Jacksonville's EverBank Field

The screen went dark, and the stadium crowd erupted as the Jaguars flooded the screen — a reminder of the games to come in EverBank Field with the new screens.

Camera flashes dotted the stadium stands. Children leaned forward past the field railing to get a better view. One woman raised her hands and shouted when fireworks lit up the sky above the screens.

After the inaugural video, the stage was transformed for county singer Carrie Underwood’s concert — she came to EverBank Field in a Jaguars jersey — and some fans told the Times-Union they were generally pleased with the new screens.

“They hyped the screens and said it was going to be really good,” said University of North Florida freshman Jordan Arill. “They didn’t over-hype it.”

San Marco resident Naomi Kouri said the video boards exceeded her expectations.

“This is the biggest screen I’ve ever seen,” said Kouri, who came to the stadium in a Jaguars shirt. “They really captured the beauty of Jacksonville.”

Dennis Dickson said the video showed the best of Jacksonville.

“The way they really marketed Jacksonville had a wide appeal,” he said. “Are they worth $63 million? Eh, maybe.”

 

Meredith Rutland: (904) 359-4161

Comments (14)

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Buster1943
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Buster1943 07/28/14 - 04:50 pm
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Premium Member

Kahn got a standing ovation

Kahn got a standing ovation when he introduced the Kahntrons. Give me a break. This is the biggest boondoggle in the history of Jacksonville. What happened to spending money on getting a football team that can win games. Wake up folks. We are being fleeced by a Kahn artist (pun intended).

Mr McFeeley
1524
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Mr McFeeley 07/27/14 - 08:28 pm
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Premium Member

Makes sense.

Makes sense.

gunny48.5
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gunny48.5 07/27/14 - 04:05 pm
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Premium Member

Now if all the seats recline

Now if all the seats recline to face the big screen and I can bring my dog plus order in Big John's Pizza I'm there! Just kidding. GO JAGS!!

Bottomline
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Bottomline 07/27/14 - 04:00 pm
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My wife and I attended the

My wife and I attended the event and we thought the video boards were outstanding. They certainly are a gigantic improvement over the old boards in size and clarity. The improvements to Everbank Field should be used to attract top bands to perform at Everbank. I'm not an Underwood fan but her concert was very good and it didn't have the sound system or stage of a touring band. Given a top sound system and stage, Everbank Field could be a great stop for top bands and bring revenue to the city. I still don't understand the pools but the kids seemed to like it last night. I think the pools are a gimmick that will quickly lose their appeal but I'm an old guy so who knows. If you saw the Jacksonville video that was shown to christen the boards you would understand how great the video boards are. True high definition. Can't wait to see how they are used at Jaguars games.

traincompbox
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traincompbox 07/27/14 - 01:46 pm
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Mr. McFeeley, didn't you read

Mr. McFeeley, didn't you read the article...the purpose of the boards is to provide lighting on the field (and hopefully blind the opposing players, regardless of which direction they're heading).

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