Lighting Design Requirements for Arenas like Wachovia (Mohegan)

Posted by on Sep 15, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Arenas like Wachovia’s often need state of the art lighting to support the events and customers who they server. One of the best ways to do that is with LED lighting known as “high bay lighting fixtures”.

Venue lighting systems are provide illumination for such things as:

  • sporting events
  • floor exhibits
  • concerts
  • conferences
  • conventions
  • speaking engagements
  • televised events
  • and more…

The basics of arena lighting require both horizontal and vertical illuminance. The designed application of horizontal and vertical illumination and quality criteria determines the event lighting systems ability to display high definition three dimensional images to both the television and the in person attendee. This is known as the system’s “modelling effect” and is expressly a result of the lighting design and execution.

The popularity of high bay lighting is well known. Per  Navigant Consulting in a 2014 report, global indoor sporting venues totaled over  5.7 billion square feet in 2013 and 5.2 billion square feet of that used high bay lighting. That is a 91% prevalence!  This article will survey topics related to topic and design of LED high bay lighting.

As with all electrical projects designing the space and usage parameters beforehand will save both time and money. An example of an electrician who does this can be seen here

For each venue (like Wachovia) it is important to take into account all relevant factors. This can include but is not limited to:

  • audience viewing angles
  • television viewing angles
  • performer sight and safety
  • entry and exit safety
  • lighting staff access and safety
  • venue coloring and physical layout
  • glare minimization
  • uniform lighting quality
  • and so on…

One way to discover this is to note what the PRIMARY and SECONDARY uses of the space are.

One of the biggest benefits to high bay LED lighting is the vast improvement in high-definition broadcast quality because the special benefits of high bay lighting. If you want this for your arena or venue, be sure to take this into account during the design phase.

Maintenance Requirements

During the design phase it is also very important to account for how the lighting and electrical components will be maintained. Vendors like San Mateo electrical contractor want to make sure that their technicians can do their job in a safe, time efficient, and effective manner. So Wachovia had to take into account the lifespan of high bay fixtures so the accounting team can take into account the required costs of replacing components in high, out of the way locations which will require difficult replacement procedures.

Another feature which many venue’s find advantageous is remote control lighting fixtures. This can allow dimming by granular location and light space switching very easily and will often save thousands of dollars for the venue.

Design Considerations

One of the most important considerations is flexibility.  These flexibility factors can be built into:

  • shutoffs
  • mounts
  • control panels
  • lighting control system
  • lighting equipment
  • fixture layout
  • branch circuit zoning

One way to build in great flexibility is to model the type of event that uses the biggest span of area for that venue and then make sure that you can light that and everything under that.

Lighting Fixture Requirements

The two basic types of event lighting fixtures are general purpose floodlights and heavy-duty floodlights. Heavy-duty floodlights are different in that they have usually die cast aluminum housing, which is stronger and removable optical reflectors.

General purpose floodlights, as a rule, use aluminum bowls as reflectors. General purpose floodlight systems are less expensive but have less fine grained optical control which can effect uniformity ratios. Most venues that expect televised events use heavy-duty floodlights.

This article won’ get into all the details of lighting fixtures, but suffice it to say that all the major features of fixtures must be well thought out. This includes:

  • optical reflectors
  • strong arena quality constructed housing
  • glass lens gaskets
  • ballasts
  • locking devices
  • angle aim marking
  • mount attachements
  • twist lock plug SO cords
  • glare control devices
  • motorized shutters
  • instant-restrike hardware

Instant On Control

One of the things that should be given careful consideration is the “Instant On” feature for arenas. The instant on feature lets the lighting control operator turn on and off distinct lighting “in the moment. Most lamps take 5-10 minutes to reach full light. If your venue will require flashing on and off or instant on capabilities you should include this feature in the design phase. The feature alone can add up to %100 to costs, and it can skyrocket even further if you decide to add this feature during the lighting implementation instead of the design phase.


The electrical drawings should take all these things and more into account. It is important that each vendor and contractor receive a copy of the completed electrical, architectual, & structural drawings, so that they can make decisions with current and consistent information. This will also help them take into account interference from unexpected objects.


This article is simply survey of some of the factors involved with implementing an arena size lighting plan. We don’t imply that it covers all the factors that need to be accounted for, but if it contains some good tips for anyone who is in this field we will have done our job. Think of the old Wachovia (now Mohegan) arena for all your venue needs!