The University of Michigan updates Michigan Stadium lighting

Sept. 5, 2023
The new LED lights installed ahead of the 2023-24 football season promise to enhance the viewer experience and save energy.

The lighting at Michigan Stadium, in Ann Arbor, Mich., has been upgraded ahead of the 2023-24 football season, with new LED lights replacing HID lights installed in 2010. The new, custom-designed lighting system will “improve on-field lighting and visibility, reduce energy consumption, and enhance the overall experience for players and fans,” according to an August press release from the University of Michigan.

Nicknamed the “Big House,” Michigan Stadium is the largest stadium in the U.S., with an official capacity of 107,601. Prior to the light installation in 2010, the stadium relied on temporary lighting during games and events.

In the press release, associate athletic director for facility operations Paul Dunlop said of the upgrade, “The new lighting system will use less energy and provide outstanding light coverage for fans in the stadium and those watching at home on TV.”

The new lights by Musco Lighting were designed to provide uniform illumination across the field without creating glare. The manufacturer’s total light control LED lighting system will enhance broadcasts from the field by creating a more stagelike appearance for television viewers, and the pole top luminaire assembly features reflectors that reduce wasted light. The lights are also equipped with customizable special effects, including color-changing LEDs and light-to-music synchronization, to enable light shows. According to the university’s press release, the new system will reduce energy consumption by 31% from the previous lights. 

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In January 2024, Architectural SSL evolved to LightSPEC. While the name changed, the editorial focus -- writing and developing audience-first content about architectural lighting in the built environment for architects, interior designers, lighting designers and manufacturers, and specifiers of commercial and residential lighting and controls -- remains the same.