With most brackets busted long ago, the big fascination of the 2017 NCAA men’s basketball Final Four at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., is the 700-ton video board that will hang over the court when the Gonzaga Bulldogs face the South Carolina Gamecocks and Oregon Ducks square off with the North Carolina Tar Heels for the right to play in Monday night’s championship game.
If Colossus sounds familiar, thank you for being a loyal reader who remembers our story from the Battle at Bristol, a college football game between Virginia Tech and Tennessee in the middle of Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee last fall.
Colossus’ four high-definition screens stretch 32 feet wide by 18 feet tall and its four more statistics screens are 24 feet by 18 feet. Because the stadium in Glendale doesn’t have a center-hung video board, NCAA officials had to borrow one from somewhere and set their sights on Colossus, because why not aim for the largest center-hung video board in the world for such a momentous event?
Big Game Equals Big Hanging Hardware
The massive video board will hang high above the 75,000 hardcore college hoops fans at the stadium for the Final Four Saturday and Monday nights after making a 2,000-mile trip. Soon after one of the four teams cut down the nets and celebrate the 2017 championship, Colossus will head back to Bristol for NASCAR races April 21-23.
Colossus features 764 LED screens in a ring and measures only 14 feet shorter than the court below it. Along with video, it holds auxiliary lighting and sound needed to hover over the floor.
Crews needed 100 tons of cables, tied into the stadium’s scaffolding, to make sure Colossus would stay in place.
“It took about two years of designing and coordinating with our structural engineer,” says Fred Corsi, executive director of operations at the stadium.
After taking five days to “pre-rig” Colossus in late February, crews spent another 10 days constructing and hanging the technological beast earlier this month.
Making Final 4 court:
While Colossus will rightly grab a lot of the attention among fans and tech enthusiasts during the Final Four, that’s certainly not the only eye-popping element inside University of Phoenix Stadium. Pro Sound & Video of Miami installed a 54-foot-by-164-foot HD video board in the south end zone that spans the width of the field and a 27-foot-by-97-foot board in the north end zone.
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Pro Sound installed an Evertz EQX switch that features four so-called “dream catchers,” cameras that allow for freeze-frames, replays and zooms on important plays or in-stadium shenanigans, and one of the first Ross Acuity switchers and a DigiCo SD10 audio mixing console in a production suite that allows stadium staffers to broadcast in 4K.
The most recent Pro Sound upgrade came when they replaced the stadium’s sound system last summer.