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Third Premier League club goes LED – how long before the other 17 follow?

LED floodlights make Hull City's stadium ready for HDTV filming and new kinds of events | Photo: James Russell via Flickr

Premier League football club Hull City is planning to upgrade its pitch lighting to LED floodlights this summer. The move is aimed at meeting the needs of modern high-definition TV broadcasting as well as opening up the KC Stadium to a wider range of events.

Hull is the third Premier League club (at least it’s a Premier League club for now – relegation was on the cards at the time of publication) to adopt LED lighting for its stadium, after Southampton and Chelsea. With the technology getting cheaper and more powerful all the time, others are bound to follow.

It has opted for Philips’ ArenaVision LED floodlighting system, which has been specially developed to meet the TV broadcast requirements specified by the Premier League. It can also provide the entertaining lighting effects needed to build atmosphere and excitement before and after matches.

The lighting will be installed at the KC Stadium during this summer’s break in time for the start of the next season.

The main objective of going LED is to keep pace with the evolving needs of sports broadcasters, who require natural, flicker-free lighting to cope with high-definition super-slow motion.

LEDs are increasingly taking over from metal halide as the floodlighting source of choice. LED technology allows sports stadiums to use lighting in a more creative way, making them attractive venues for events such as concerts. Control systems allow individual floodlights to be switched on or off or dimmed. Systems such as Philips’ ArenaVision makes it possible to create pre-set light scenes for specific applications, such as dimmed energy-saving levels for cleaning and maintenance.

John North, managing director of the Stadium Management Company, said: ‘The new state-of-the-art, energy-efficient LED pitch lighting system for the KC Stadium delivers the ability to instantly change from one light setting from another. This is not just a game changer for spectators but also for the future of the modern multi-purpose stadium, a key feature of the operational strategy for our sporting venues.’

Hull will also benefit from the maintenance savings accruing from the long life of LEDs. Typically, metal halide floodlighting lamps should be replaced every three seasons to maintain the lighting levels required. The Philips LED system is expected to last more than 10 seasons.

Andy Gowen, director of public lighting at Philips Lighting UK, commented: ‘The main priority for professional sports venues has always been to ensure the correct light levels on the pitch, but with the arrival of the digital age, there is a great deal more on offer.

‘Our ArenaVision LED floodlighting bridges the worlds of entertainment lighting and static, high quality pitch lighting to deliver a memorable experience for visitors, whether they are coming to watch Hull in action or to hear their favourite bands perform.’