Reporting John Shumway
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The crowds that have been gathering outside CONSOL Energy Center to watch Penguins’ playoff games on the big screen have gotten so large that the organization has decided to make the screen even bigger.
But that’s not the only change fans will notice during Game 5 on Friday night.
Sixteen feet by nine feet is pretty big if you’re in the front row, but not so much if you arrive in the Fan Zone late.
“The screen has been so insanely popular that we decided to find an even bigger screen,” Penguins’ Vice President of Communications Tom McMillan said. “And we found it in time for Friday’s game.”
So, Friday night when Penguins’ fans settle in at the Fan Zone across from the arena, you will notice the difference.
“Instead of 16 by nine, it will be 27 by 15 – that’s 11-feet wider and six-feet taller,” said McMillan.
He says it’s really more of a necessity than a luxury.
“The crowds here have been so phenomenal and so large; it will give those people in the back and the sides a better view of the game,” McMillan said.
It was the crowd outside CONSOL that first noticed the lights at the top of the Gulf Tower getting Penguins’ fever.
“It happened real quick,” said Larry Walsh, of the Gulf Tower. “I met with the Penguins, and I told them I could light the roof anything they want.”
So, they decided to turn it into a red goal light.
“The second goal people here started to notice, and they started to Tweet, and it kind of became its own mini-phenomenon,” said McMillan.
“Twitter went crazy on Friday night. Fans love it; and it’s just something we’re all happy about, and it’s a great way to continue the excitement with the Stanley Cup,” added Walsh.
The light got a real workout Wednesday night. And, in case you’re wondering how they’re doing it, Walsh explains.
“I actually gave the Penguins log-in authorization to connect to it over the Internet, and they can do it anywhere with an Internet connection,” said Walsh. “They push a button on their computer screen, and it goes whatever it’s in to a goal light instantly.”