Wimbledon’s Centre Court Gets LED Makeover
If you’re watching Wimbledon this year, you might be thinking that the Centre Court action looks better than ever - and you’d be right, all thanks to some new outdoor LED lighting.
In the run up to this year’s event, Wimbledon’s Centre Court was given a lighting makeover with the addition of new, state of the art LED lighting in the stadium’s signature retractable roof which is used when play needs to continue into rain or darkness.
The project is one which signals a change in why sporting venues are making the change to LED lighting. Originally, the main goal was long-term savings that come from the energy efficiency and low maintenance of LEDs, however, recently the main aim has been to improve light quality for not only the athletes, but the viewing public both in the stadium and at home according to LEDs magazine.
The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) also made the change for practical reasons - LEDs have very little warm up time, meaning they can close the roof and turn the lights on with instant results.
Robert Deatker, AELTC estate director, said: “The purpose of the project was to improve the quality of lighting for broadcasters, whilst simultaneously improving the functionality of the lighting as part of the roof operation… thus making it quicker to resume play.”
To get the lighting right for players in particular, professional tennis players were brought in for tests before settling on the right lighting in a mocked-up version of Wimbledon in the US. The lighting system also offers settings which combat sunlight glare according to The Telegraph.
It seems that this year was a good time to make the switch to fast-acting LED lighting was a good move, as severe rain has been forecast with flood warnings issued for London. That iconic closing roof is sure to come in handy this year.
This year, more than ever, the AELTC seem to be bringing Wimbledon into a new technological age. New apps and live streams are opening the doors to a much bigger audience than ever before. Wimbledon had been criticised before for not offering wi-fi to public guests also, but this year, it is now available in three public areas.
And, of course, this new lighting is not the only instance of LEDs being put to good use on Centre Court. In 2008, the traditional dot matrix scoreboards were changed to LED scoreboards. This gave the organisers many more avenues for using the boards to not only keep score, but add new elements for the crowd watching in the stadium. Hawk-Eye replays and additional match information are all displayed on these new scoreboards, and have been since their introduction.
It’s not just the British favourite tennis that’s been given the LED lighting makeover in recent years to up broadcast quality. US baseball games, European football clubs and even Super Bowls are now playing under LED lights - with many more to reap the benefits of switching to LED in due course.