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Volume 22 No. 12
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Three more MLB ballparks adding Ephesus Lighting systems

Don Muret
The Cleveland Indians, Minnesota Twins and California Angels are switching to LED sports lighting this offseason at their ballparks, all equipped with Eaton’s Ephesus Lighting systems.

The technology has gained traction across sports over the past two years as teams recognize the benefits tied to higher-quality lights and cost efficiency.

LED sports lighting costs about four times as much as traditional lighting systems. At Target Field, for example, the total investment is $1.3 million, including parts and labor, said Gary Glawe, the Twins’ senior director of ballpark systems. The project is being financed through the stadium’s capital improvement fund, to which the Twins and the Minnesota Ballpark Authority both contribute money.

The Twins’ research showed LED lights will cut energy costs in half for a typical Twins game. The payback takes about 20 years, considering the lights are used six months a year in baseball, but the Twins won’t have to replace the new lights for the next two decades, he said.

That wasn’t the case with Target Field’s original metal halide lights, which carried a seven-year warranty. As the warranty neared expiration and replacement parts were ordered, it took sometimes three months before the Twins received them, Glawe said.

When General Electric informed the Twins that the fixtures they have on the light towers would no longer support the lights it manufactured, it made the decision to convert to LED that much easier, Glawe said.

The Twins presented their proposal on the switch to the ballpark authority, which approved it unanimously. Ephesus, Musco Lighting and Planled competed for the job. Ephesus proved to be the best fit for Target Field, Glawe said.

Outside of Target Field, Angel Stadium of Anaheim and Progressive Field, five MLB parks have installed LED sports lights over the past two years, Ephesus President Mike Lorenz said. Globe Life Park, home of the Texas Rangers, is another Ephesus client.

Planled has completed installations at Yankee Stadium and Safeco Field, which in 2015 became the first MLB ballpark to make the conversion. Musco was the vendor of choice at Petco Park and Minute Maid Park.

At SunTrust Park in Atlanta, GE/Carolina High Mast and Southern Lighting Source combined to install LED sports lighting at the Braves’ new stadium opening in March. It marks GE’s first LED project in MLB, said Derek Schiller, the Braves’ president of business.

By this time next year, closer to half of the 30 MLB ballparks will have made the move to LED sports lights, Lorenz predicted.

Toshiba’s expanded sponsorship includes a planned area near AEG’s Berlin arena.
> TOSHIBA LIVE: AEG has expanded its sponsorship agreement with Toshiba to include products and interactive zones at L.A. Live as well as at arenas in London and Berlin.

The multiyear deal, valued at seven figures annually, also covers the Mercedes Platz, a new entertainment district in Berlin set to open in 2018 next to Mercedes-Benz Arena and across the street from the remaining pieces of the Berlin Wall, said Jon Werbeck, AEG’s vice president of global partnerships. AEG owns and operates the 17,000-seat arena and is an investor in the district.

Under terms of the agreement, Toshiba will supply 315 televisions and 130 point-of-sale systems at Mercedes-Benz Arena, in addition to 20 outdoor screens in the entertainment district.

The district encompasses a 4,000-capacity nightclub, a 2,500-seat movie theater, a 28-lane bowling alley, restaurants, bars, two hotels and 10,000 square feet of office space. Space is reserved for Mercedes-Benz accessory and technology stores.

As part of the district, AEG and city officials plan to build a green buffer zone with trees and shrubs to serve as an urban plaza between the new development and the East Side Gallery, a preserved section of the wall covered with artwork, according to Moritz Hillebrand, an AEG spokesman overseas.

At L.A. Live, new Toshiba digital signs are part of a $5 million refresh across the street from Staples Center.
Toshiba’s initial deal with AEG started in 2014 with a founding partnership at Staples Center. The agreement then extended to T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, where the company has its name on Toshiba Plaza next to the facility.

Don Muret can be reached at dmuret@sportsbusinessjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @breakground.