Triangle-based Cree to light up Sunday's Super Bowl

Posted January 31, 2015

— This Sunday, for the first time, the Super Bowl will be lit with LED lights, thanks to technology developed in the Triangle. It’s a change that promises to be more efficient and better to watch.

Most people probably remember Super Bowl 2013, the year the 49ers faced the Ravens. It was also the year that half the stadium went dark for more than 30 minutes.

Once play resumed and the Ravens won, NFL executives started thinking about how to make sure a power outage like that never happened again. That's where Durham-based Cree Inc. came in with its energy-efficient LED technology.

This Super Bowl Sunday, Cree's LEDs will be center stage, used in the light fixtures at the University of Phoenix stadium.

“You don't want to have the greatest professional sporting event in the world be shut down,” said Michael Watson, Cree’s vice president of product strategy. “The Super Bowl and stadium lighting is sort of like the holy grail from an LED perspective.”

Cree has had plenty of practice leading up to Sunday’s big moment. They've created lighting around the world and across the Triangle at PNC Arena and the Raleigh Shimmer Wall. But Watson says lighting a stadium has its own set of challenges.

“It requires a lot of light. It requires the ability to tune the light so you just get the light on the field and not glare in the fans’ eyes,” he said.

Watson says the new lights will use 75 percent less energy. But more importantly for fans, they'll make everything look better and keep everyone out of the dark.

Cree showed an example of just how much more powerful its small LEDs are than traditional stadium lights. It will only take 300 LED fixtures to light up the stadium compared with the 780 lights they replaced. 


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  • Larry Wiandt Feb 2, 2015
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    View quoted thread

    Hmmm, sounds like a Amateur Radio person? And I had not thought of the RF interference from LED bulbs.

  • 68_dodge_polara Feb 2, 2015

    I just hope the LED lights don't end up going the same direction the compact fluorescents have. When they first came out they lasted for many years. Now they don't last much longer than the old incandescent lams did. Bait and which just to get us to pay more, much more for light bulbs.

    Made in China...

  • tgcmisc Feb 1, 2015

    I certainly do not wish Cree or the RTP any bad luck and Cree has been good for it. I have followed Cree since it was offered to Venture Capitalists when the NCSU folks broke out.

    Cree stock was a GO-GO stock, but if you look at the long range chart, it has really been a disappointment. It's ups and downs are the result of the large Stimulus package it got. Most companies can make money in the short term when they get $50 Million or so to "retool" or purchase new manufacturing equipment.

    Cree partners with Home Depot. THAT is the place to get the Cree bulbs at the lowest price.

    However, the recent layout of 300 contract employees (NOTE....Cree does NOT hire folks....they use the "service" so they do NOT have to pay HEALTH CARE) may tell the tale.

    One of the Investing Blogs has a lot of info. Cree is in a Price War. GE and WalMart have partnered. Guess who will win THAT skirmish.

    Cree's products will interfere with Routers and Garage Door openers. BAD RFI.

  • BlahBlahBlahBlahBlah Feb 1, 2015

    Proud of you CREE!!!!!

  • Rick Fetter Feb 1, 2015
    user avatar

    This is good news for the local area as long as it leads to greater demand and a reversal of their layoffs.

  • Apex Voice Feb 1, 2015
    user avatar

    I bought a Cree bulb, just to try it and see what I thought about the color of the lighting and the overall utility of it. I don't have any idea how much one bulb will save on electricity cost, or exactly the politics of its existence. What I do know is that I like the hue it puts off and I especially like the fact that it does not get hot.

    I have no plans to go out and buy enough to supply my house, but I have no qualms about purchasing more as bulbs need to be replaced.

    And, I kinda' like the added feature that Cree employs many people right here in the Triangle area.

  • Katie Falls Jan 31, 2015
    user avatar

    I have quite a few Cree led bulbs in my house and love them! Great light, color and lower my electric bills! Best of luck to them!

  • ohmygosh Jan 31, 2015

    Wish them luck. At my age LED bulbs will never pay for themselves. Besides I couldn't tolerate the RF interference their power supplies generate. It would wipe out radio reception.

  • 68_dodge_polara Jan 31, 2015

    View quoted thread

    follow the money.

  • tgcmisc Jan 31, 2015

    Background is Environmental Director for multi state and international operation facilities. Went through ALL the testing (EPA TCLP) of CFL (tubes) in the 90's. The total cost of disposal due to mercury in the CFL's. Google it and go to the EPA page stating why you have to SWEEP up all the bulb and why they need to be recycled. If you think the hoopla about "toxic" metals from the Coal Ash is spooky, do the math on the amount of mercury that will go into a landfill when all the CFL's are thrown away.

    Also, WHO saves the receipts for a refund on a prematurely dead LED?

    Ask electronics experts and service techs about the RF leakage from the LED's. You can NOT use a Cree or Philips or OTHER LED in a garage door opener or close KILLS the remote.

    If Cree and others had played on a level field....and the economies were in their favor....OK....but they did not. Just a government Ethanol. Total cost, $$ & environmentally, is MORE.