“When you do things right, people won’t be sure you’ve done anything at all.” This pearl of wisdom is a quote from the TV show, Futurama, and it applies to a myriad of little things that people don’t notice. In the world of sport venues (like domes), one of these little things is lighting.
Most people walk into a dome and notice things like the huge, open space or the unique shape. Lighting isn’t really something people notice because it’s one of those things that’s simply expected. It’s only noticeable when it’s not there, and for sport venues it can be disastrous when the lights don’t come on.
If you’re a football fan, you might remember what happened at Super Bowl XLVII in 2013. If you vaguely remember the game, you might not recall the final score but you’ll most likely remember what happened to the lights.
The Baltimore Ravens met the San Francisco 49ers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans to finish out the season and decide on the league’s victor in front of a packed stadium and hundreds of millions of people watching from home. Halfway through the game, though, there wasn’t much to see. The stadium had literally gone dark.
Somehow, the power was flipped off and the entire stadium lost electricity. The lights, and the TV broadcast, was down for 34 minutes and without light, the game to a screeching halt.
Eventually, power was restored and the game continued—apparently, the system detected a problem and shut everything down. The problem was solved, but everyone noticed and would remember this Super Bowl as the one when the lights went out. Had the lights stayed up, nobody would have been talking about the lighting, but because they went down, the mishap made national headlines.
This unfortunate incident should stress just how important lighting is in an indoor sport venue. Even though there are no Super Bowls happening inside our domes, this is exactly why we spend a lot of time thinking about dome lighting. The lights don’t just need to be bright enough to see, they need to be bright enough to see everything that’s happening in a sport dome.
Just think about how important it is to be able to see a soccer ball from the other side of a field, or to see a little baseball that’s arcing 30 feet up in the air. The lighting needs to be just right to maintain the best possible conditions for play. They also need to be durable enough that a wayward football or golf ball won’t damage or knock them down should they over come into contact and give them a good whack.
For sports, lighting is one of the most important environmental considerations to keep in mind, because should they ever fail, it can bring any game to an immediate end. In a sport dome, the lights need to work, and work well. Just don’t expect anyone to notice.