ETC Lights the Biggest Stadiums for the Biggest Games

by | Feb 16, 2024 | News

Middleton, WI (15 February 2024) – There’s a whole stadium around every halftime show. ETC makes the systems and products that let stadiums look great hosting the Super Bowl and every other gameday. So of course Gopher Stage Lighting worked with the electrical contractor to select and install an ETC system to handle lighting controls for Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, home to the Las Vegas Raiders and host of Super Bowl LVIII.

“ETC is a great company for this kind of thing because they provide everything we need to make this stadium function,” says Josh Wood, Senior Project Manager at Gopher Stage Lighting and the person who oversaw every inch of the installation. “They have everything from a centralized control system to individual button stations, relay panels to reverse-phase dimmers, touchscreens to lighting control consoles – everything we need for the stadium from one place.” Plus, ETC integrates nicely with every other system necessary to operate a modern stadium. “It’s easy to set up and keep moving forward.”

Because today’s modern stadiums don’t sit still, Allegiant Stadium takes advantage of all the latest lighting technology to upgrade the game experience. The field and seating area are lit by color-changing LED sports lights, which add effects and color when the home team (Raiders or UNLV) scores or introduces their players, as well as other impactful moments such as when the national anthem is  played. Plush suites – and even clubs – use the latest automated fixtures and LED effects to offer VIPs special treatment. And of course all the food stalls, back of house areas, and player areas feature top-notch lighting. All of this is controlled by an ETC system.

Paradigm is the architectural control for the stadium, controlling back of house as well as general lighting for the stadium. But this is Vegas, which means the stadium is full of special VIP suites and clubs that demand special impact. Paradigm also shines there, allowing the lighting for these spaces to be run separately and dynamically.

“We have Paradigm processors and individualized power control in the clubs. They can act as islands unto themselves, individually running the clubs and bars behind the suites, doing 0-10 V loads, as well as reverse-phase dimming for LED tape and other LED sources,” says Wood. “You’re able to get clubs up and running without having to have the whole stadium system up and running.”

And because it’s Vegas, when Wood says clubs, he means plural. There are multiple clubs throughout the stadium, including the Wynn Field Club across the north end zone of the stadium that brings the nightlife experience to game day. “The lion’s share of that system is a large moving light package being controlled by ETC’s Eos entertainment system—but it’s still integrated into the stadium Paradigm controls,” explains Wood.

That’s not the only space where moving lights and color-changing fixtures are prominent. With the advent of color-changing LED fixtures powerful enough to light a field, stadium lights are part of the show now too. An ETC Gio console controls stadium lights and automated fixtures to entertain the crowd with color chases and flashy effects from moving automated fixtures throughout the game.

“LED stadium lights are a game changer,” says Wood. “They can blink, flash and chase. I can run color-chases around the stadium or paint the field with color. You saw that during the National Anthem at the Super Bowl. They were also using the color changes as well as the sports lights during the halftime show.”

The color changing lights are used throughout the season. Dawn Horstmann, a Field Service Engineer for ETC and Lighting Director for the Raiders, uses the entertainment capabilities of the Gio console integrated with the Paradigm system to dazzle the stadium throughout a game.

“When the Raiderettes cheerleaders go onto the field and perform, we have moving lights focused on the end zones, and then the sports lights twinkle, and moving lights bounce around in all directions,” says Horstmann. Because the NFL has strict rules banning entertainment light from the field for the game broadcast, Dawn leans on powerful Eos tools to make sure that all this sparkle never spills over onto the field during broadcast.

“For touchdowns, I have ballyhoos that run around the stadium on all the seating, but you’ll never see it on camera,” explains Horstmann. “One of the cool things about Eos is that I can make an absolute effect where I have different focus points in all four corners and I can actually run my moving lights all the way around the stadium and never worry about it hitting the field.”

The console isn’t the only control triggering special lighting effects either. The video team can synchronize lighting effects with video simply by generating SMPTE timecode. In similar stadiums with an ETC backbone, “a touchdown video can drive the stadium lights by sending a trigger to Paradigm and on to ETC’s Mosaic system,” says Wood. “This is a big thing that every stadium wants to do now: have video triggering lighting. Once we integrated video into lighting in one of the stadiums we work with, every stadium had it added within the next year or two. We put it in the U.S. Bank Stadium in Minnesota as well as Geodis Park in Nashville for the Nashville Soccer Club. It’s a really great feature that they like a lot. It allows them to trigger effects without having a dedicated lighting operator for game days.”

ETC’s Mosaic Show Controllers deliver lighting looks and color-changing capabilities for a variety of pixel-based lighting attractions around the stadium, including the Coke activation on the upper concourse and the color changing fixtures around the Al Davis Memorial Torch.

“It’s an important feature to the building because they light it before every game and it stays on through the end of every game. They even lit it for the Super Bowl,” explains Wood.

Wood and Gopher Stage Lighting were proud of Allegiant’s Super Bowl moment, especially after all the care and attention they put into the installation. During construction of the stadium, Gopher Stage Lighting, based in Minnesota, even leased an apartment  in Las Vegas to make sure their people could be onsite at a moment’s notice. “Gopher works extra hard to be an amazing partner to stadiums and contractors, starting with how we even do our submittal paperwork all the way through working with the contractor to make sure they understand what wire needs to be pulled where and what needs to happen in what order,” says Wood.

Although only one team can win the Super Bowl, ETC is a winner in multiple stadiums and arenas, including U.S. Bank Stadium, Target Field, Xcel Energy Center, Target Center, and Allianz Field in Minnesota, Geodis Park in Nashville, SoFi stadium in Los Angeles (host of the 2022 Super Bowl), Sun Trust Park and Mercedes-Benz stadium in Atlanta, and many more. ETC handles building and entertainment lighting for the biggest stadiums and biggest games all over the country and all year round – not just at halftime.