Major League Baseball opens with LEDs in San Diego and Arlington (UPDATED)

April 13, 2016
New LED sports lighting projects extend the energy savings, control, and special effects capabilities of SSL to America’s Pastime.

New LED sports lighting projects extend the energy savings, control, and special effects capabilities of SSL to America’s Pastime.

Musco Lighting and Eaton’s Ephesus Lighting each have announced new high-profile, sports-venue, LED-based lighting projects that came to light with the dawn of the 2016 Major League Baseball season. Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres in San Diego, CA, has the new Musco Lighting installation. Globe Life Park, home of the Texas Rangers in Arlington, TX, has the new Ephesus Lighting installation. In both cases,the solid-state lighting (SSL) has raised light levels and slashed energy usage while DMX-based controls enable the teams’ production crews to generate special effects for the fans.

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We will dig into the technical details of these two projects in a feature article for our June issue. Meanwhile, let’s take a look at the high-level benefits of the LED retrofits.

The Padres pursued their lighting project with glare control as a prominent goal. The ballpark is located in the downtown area, and glass-encased, high-rise buildings are scattered around the facility. The facilities personnel wanted to ensure that direct glare from the lights did not impact the players or building residents, and that reflections from the buildings did not cause a problem. The team selected the Musco SportsCluster Green LED systems after visiting numerous baseball and football venues that have been illuminated with LED sports lighting.

The team said the system offers baseline energy savings of 40%, although that number could go up because ultimately the lights will not need to be operated at full output to meet MLB lighting standards. Meanwhile, the team said the LED sports lighting improves the ability of players to track the ball and also has eliminated the flicker effect that is sometimes noticeable on high-definition TV broadcasts.

“The San Diego Padres are extremely pleased to partner with industry-leader Musco Lighting, with Petco Park being the first professional baseball venue to implement its LED sports lighting technology,” said Mark Guglielmo, Padres vice president of ballpark operations and general manager of Petco Park. “We are proud that Musco LED sports lighting will provide not only a brighter and more uniform lighting experience for our athletes and fans, but also will make our ballpark more energy efficient. Musco’s ability to install, test, and commission its product during a busy non-baseball event schedule this offseason is a reflection of its experience and professionalism.”

Musco has supplied LED sports lighting for other prominent facilities. For example, we reported last year on the move to LEDs at the Dallas Cowboys football stadium. The company also has worked with the Houston Astros to install new LED lighting at their baseball park.

Texas Rangers lighting

The Ephesus LED sports lighting project in Arlington is projected to reduce energy consumption by 60%. As with the Padres’ project, Globe Life Park is now lit with fewer fixtures and more efficient technology. The Rangers said the lighting is more uniform even after the fixture count was cut in half.

“The Rangers are excited to collaborate with Eaton to bring this state-of-the-art technology to Globe Life Park,” said Rob Matwick, executive vice president of business operations for the Texas Rangers. “Reducing the fixture count and being more energy efficient represents significant advantages and we’re especially impressed with the improved field lighting for our players, fans, and broadcast partners. The Rangers are thrilled to be among the early adopters of this new LED technology.”

Ephesus also has some major projects under its belt in terms of professional-level sports lighting. For example, we covered the University of Phoenix Stadium LED retrofit that ultimately would make the first instance in early 2015 of a National Football League Super Bowl being played under LED lighting. Ephesus also supplied the LED lighting for the Nashville Predator National Hockey League (NHL) arena that was home to the NHL All Star game earlier this year.

“Since we installed the first solid-state lighting system in a North American sports arena, facility operators have come to understand that our digital lighting solutions create an enhanced stage for fans and performers,” said Mike Lorenz, president of Eaton’s Ephesus Lighting business. “We know that the Rangers fans, players, broadcasters, and even their opponents will see the game better with our industry-leading digital lighting and control system.”

About the Author

Maury Wright | Editor in Chief

Maury Wright is an electronics engineer turned technology journalist, who has focused specifically on the LED & Lighting industry for the past decade. Wright first wrote for LEDs Magazine as a contractor in 2010, and took over as Editor-in-Chief in 2012. He has broad experience in technology areas ranging from microprocessors to digital media to wireless networks that he gained over 30 years in the trade press. Wright has experience running global editorial operations, such as during his tenure as worldwide editorial director of EDN Magazine, and has been instrumental in launching publication websites going back to the earliest days of the Internet. Wright has won numerous industry awards, including multiple ASBPE national awards for B2B journalism excellence, and has received finalist recognition for LEDs Magazine in the FOLIO Eddie Awards. He received a BS in electrical engineering from Auburn University.