Southampton are set to complete a historic double with the installation of LED floodlighting at St Mary’s ahead of the 2014/15 season.
The new lighting system will be in place for the coming campaign with the club moving in line with Premier League requirements for a higher level of light output.
St Mary’s will become the first stadium in Europe with LED floodlighting, 64 years after the club’s old ground, The Dell, made history as the first in England to have permanent floodlights installed.
Delivered by Eastleigh-based lighting developers Vision Accendo, the new system will provide a higher quality of broadcast lighting as well as significantly reducing the amount of energy used when compared to traditional metal halide floodlights.
Mark Humby, Stadium Facilities Manager at Southampton Football Club, said: “Since being introduced to Ian Williams and Calvin Caunter of Vision Accendo back in February, we have worked very closely to make sure we reach all the technical criteria stipulated by the Premier League. It has been a frantic but extremely interesting four months.
“Our first issue was to make sure the stadium roof structure could take the added weight of the new floodlight system required to produce the correct lighting levels.
“During this process I have been introduced to the technical term ‘flicker’ which only causes an issue during slow motion and super-slow motion footage.
“By using a top quality LED product we have all but removed this issue which can be seen on the majority of sporting footage that’s produced under floodlit conditions.
“We can now look forward to installing a superior innovative lighting solution that will enhance the viewing experience of both the fan in the stadium and the armchair supporter.”
Ian Williams, Chief Technical Officer at Vision Accendo, added: “This is the start of a ground breaking partnership between Vision Accendo and Southampton Football Club.
“We too are delighted to be the first to meet the Premier League’s new lighting specification using our latest generation of LED lighting. LED lighting has many benefits but for us it sets the new benchmark in the lighting industry.
“The supporters of Southampton Football Club will see the new installed floodlighting positioned 360 degrees around the stadium, while television broadcasters and viewers will also see the benefits of our installation at St Mary’s in the coming season.”
One of the additional benefits of the new LED floodlight system is the vast reduction in flicker during slow-motion broadcast replays.
Premier League regulations require that clubs’ floodlights have a flicker rate no higher than 6%, but testing on Saints’ new system has recorded a rate of just 0.2%.
As previously stated, the system uses considerably less energy than the club’s previous halide lighting, and can be instantly switched on and off ensuring there is no warm-up period required.
The installation of the system is now underway and will be completed well in advance of the 2014/15 campaign, which begins in mid-August.
The move ensures that the club is at the forefront of new lighting technology, just as it was in 1950, when The Dell became the first English football ground to have permanent floodlighting installed.
The floodlights were used for the first time on 31st October 1950, for an exhibition match against Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic.
On 1st October 1951, The Dell became the first British venue to host a competitive match under floodlights when Saints’ reserves faced their Tottenham counterparts in a Football Combination fixture.