Triangle-based Cree to light up Sunday's Super Bowl
Posted January 31, 2015
Raleigh, N.C. — 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.