Fan experience brightens at Smith’s Ballpark
SALT LAKE CITY — Smith’s Ballpark isn’t exactly ready for the Salt Lake Bees home opener next month. Snow still covers the entire baseball field, and a major stadium upgrade is under way, but fans can expect a much brighter experience when the Bees take the field April 5.
“Opening day is just always a big deal,” said Marc Amicone, Salt Lake Bees President and CEO, surveying the field from the stands.
This year, fans in the stands, and players on the field will see the game more clearly.
During the last 15 years, most of us have swapped out our old home light bulbs for light-emitting diode (LED) lights. That’s what Salt Lake City is doing at Smith’s Ballpark on a much bigger and brighter scale.
Crews with Cache Valley Electric and Wagstaff Crane Tuesday installed a premier system that uses half the number of bulbs. Amicone said upgrades like this have been implemented at several baseball stadiums across the country and are becoming the standard in lighting.
“Everything is focused toward the field,” he said. “So you will see the play of the game much better.”
“It’s a home run,” said Salt Lake City spokesman Paul Murphy. “The city will start saving immediately on maintenance costs, and 65 percent of the energy costs for the next 25 years.”
The city owns the stadium and made a $630,000 investment in the new LED system. The Bees lease the stadium, and pay the electric bill.
“Everything is going to look better,” said Murphy. “They’re going to be able to use special effects. They’re going to be able to do things they never were able to do with these old bulbs.”
Last year, the lights went out in the middle of several games, including the game on Pioneer Day. It took 20 minutes to get the old lights warmed up again.
“That started to get a little frustrating, especially for the players and the coaches,” said Amicone.
The new system lights up immediately.
“So, you can actually do some lights out introductions, or some of those kinds of things,” Amicone said.
The team can use the lights as part of the show.
“That really enhances the fan experience,” said the Bees’ president. “It’s almost like a light show, or a mini fireworks show for people.”
“I can’t wait to flip the switch next week and see how they look,” said Amicone.
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