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Astros to install new video boards

Astros to install new video boards

HOUSTON -- Minute Maid Park will undergo significant renovations this offseason, including the installation of a 54-by-124-foot video board that will be the second-largest in Major League Baseball, smaller than only the one in Kansas City's Kauffman Stadium.

Pam Gardner, the Astros' president of business operations, went before the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority on Thursday morning and shared news of the renovations. The Astros, who lease the ballpark from the authority, will pay all of the estimated $10 million to $12 million price tag.

"It's been 11 years since it opened, so it's time," Gardner said.

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The new high-definition video board will be above right field, where the current scoreboard sits. The current video board high above center field will become dormant, and the Astros will add a second video board in left field that will be about the size of the current video board in center.

"That's so people on the bullpen side can look up and see the video board, which they haven't been able to do before," Gardner said.

The Astros had been exploring the idea of upgrading their scoreboard for a few years, and a member of the club's ballpark entertainment department was in Cincinnati last week to check out the video board at Great American Ball Park.

In addition, Minute Maid Park will have 1,000 feet of ribbon board stretching from foul pole to foul pole, replacing the 100 feet of ribbon board currently on each side of the ballpark. Also, the writers' press box, which sits at the top of the dugout boxes, will be moved up one level to be adjacent to the broadcast media area.

The area behind home plate that currently houses the writers' press box will be transformed into an area for premium season-ticket holders, allowing the Astros to generate more revenue.

"I guess I'd call it a hip club area," Gardner said.

Gardner said the Astros are using money from their asset renewal and replacement fund. They make yearly payments into that fund as part of their rent. She said the renovations will begin within the next month and will be ready for Opening Day. The Astros' home opener is set for Friday, April 8, at 6:05 p.m. CT against the Marlins.

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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