Safeco Field to go LED to light the playing field

A view of some of the newly installed LED lights at Safeco Field.

A view of some of the newly installed LED lights at Safeco Field.

Safeco Field will be the first Major League ballpark to light the playing field with LED lights.

LED are light emitting diodes. They produce brighter, more uniform light that is as close to daylight as a man-made fixture can be.

For the players, that means fewer shadows on the field and less glare. For fans in the stands, and those at home, especially if you’re watching on an HDTV, the lights will make everything will look crisper and more vibrant. Because the light is more evenly distributed across the spectrum, there’s no flicker, which is necessary for today’s super-slow motion replays.

The LED lights can create different effects. Here the diamond is lit while the outfield is not.

The LED lights can create different effects. Here the diamond is lit while the outfield is not.

MLB had a team of lighting experts at Safeco Field last week to check the levels at precise points on the field. In every location the new lights met or exceeded MLB requirements.

In addition to benefits for players and fans, the new lights are a lot more efficient than the old metal halide lights. They’ll reduce electricity consumption by 60%-70%, and each fixture should last 50 or more years (as opposed to three years for the old lights).

The new LED Fixtures are four panels of 196 tiny lights.

The new LED Fixtures are four panels of 196 tiny lights.

The project was a partnership between the Mariners, Planled (of Federal Way, WA) and KMW, Inc. of Korea.

Although Safeco Field will be the first MLB ballpark to go LED, there are a handful of pro sports facilities that have already made the move: Staples Center in Los Angeles; NRG Stadium in Houston; and University of Phoenix Stadium in Phoenix, where the Seahawks will play under LED lights at Super Bowl XLIX on February 1.

MLB lighting expert Mike Owens measuring light at various points around the field.

MLB lighting expert Mike Owens measuring light at various points around the field.

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