On a recent sad weekend in which neither the University of Alabama nor Auburn University won its Saturday college football game, a video circulated on the Internet that tried to sort out how the state’s passionate fans deal with such a novelty at work on Monday.
The punchline of “How Auburn and Alabama fans cope with losing on the same day” comes when the Auburn fan laughs nervously and blurts out, “LSU’s Jumbotron is so small!”
The gag, of course, hangs on the truth that Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium can at least briefly boast of having the largest video board in college football. At 10, 830 square feet, the board turned upright would be taller than Italy’s Leaning Tower of Pisa, while lengthwise it’s longer than the White House.
Anyone who’s ever tried to balance one TV atop another in the old days of rectangular sets, however, can attest to the quirkiness of keeping everything upright.
A construction team from Brasfield & Gorrie, along with engineering firm LBYD and architect Infinity Sports Facilities, dealt with the 700 tons of structural steel that makes up the superstructure keeping the screen in place.
According to a B&G blog about the video board, the challenges of anchoring the screen were significant. It’s rated to withstand 95 mph winds, the equivalent of an EF 1 tornado, despite its structural similarities to a sail.
Their secret: a special high-performance concrete mix with a design strength of 10, 000 pounds per square inch. The foundation has six 7.25-foot-thick concrete mats, or pile caps, two of which are designed to withstand 1.2 million pounds of force.
The job was finished in 180 days, easily in time for the first home football game of the season.
Text by Dave Helms