Shining Bright: MCG Light Towers undergo LED upgrade

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Thirty-five years since they were first installed, the six iconic light towers which surround the MCG are embarking on the biggest change in their history.

By February 2020, the lights that have shone down on some of Australia’s favourite sporting moments will be gone - replaced with state of the art LED sports lighting which will improve the MCG experience for fans, players and TV viewers.

The Melbourne Cricket Club, ground manager of the MCG, has invested $11 million in the project, which will see more than 1200 metal halide lamps that are nearing their end of life removed, and 950 LED lights installed in their place.

The 85-metre high light towers, an instantly recognisable landmark of not just the MCG but of Melbourne itself, will remain unchanged.  

The new LED technology will provide a number of benefits including:

   • Better viewing experience for fans in the MCG stands, with increased brightness, clarity and accurate reflection 
   • Enhanced broadcast crispness and quality, in particular for the presentation of slow motion vision
   • Greater speed when turning the towers on and off (as is the case during the annual ANZAC Day Eve AFL match) – the current lights have a 15 minute turnaround time for the globes to cool.
   • Flexibility for lighting output, with the LED lights able to be dimmed and brightened to suit the environmental conditions, for example an overcast day versus a night event.
   • Less light spill out of the arena and greater focus on the field of play due to the new light configuration.

MCC General Manager – Facilities, Peter Wearne, said the club was looking forward to flicking the switch and turning on all six new light towers in February next year.

“We are excited for the MCG light towers to undergo a modern makeover, while still retaining their iconic look and feel,” he said.

“The existing lights are the same as what was originally installed 35 years ago, so not only were they reaching the end of their lifespan but they had well and truly begun to be outshone by newer technology.”

The new LED technology is also in keeping with the MCG’s overarching focus on sustainable practices.

“The new lights are approximately 50 per cent more energy efficient than the old globes and also have a much longer lifespan, meaning less need for replacements and therefore less waste,” said Mr Wearne. 

On average, 30 lamps from the old light tower technology are replaced each year. 

The changeover from the current lighting to LED sports lights is currently underway and all light towers will be completed by the Australia A v The Lions match February 22-25 2020.

During the works, four light towers will always be in operation, a configuration which meets the lighting requirement set by the ICC.

“Fans and players can rest assured that the four light towers, in combination with the stadium’s internal and roof line lighting, will provide appropriate illumination for upcoming MCG events including the Boxing Day Test and the Big Bash series,” said Mr Wearne.

The MCC has consulted with Cricket Australia throughout the project and they are supportive of the upgrades.