Indiana arena jostles to LED conversion

The 13,000-seat Indiana arena that's home to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants basketball team, women's roller derby, and The Rumble in Fort Wayne auto race will soon start lighting up the action with LEDs, a move expected to save considerable costs and brighten up the view for spectators, players and TV cameras.

Allen County War Memorial Coliseum is converting 175 metal halide fixtures to only 125 LED units this summer, aiming to complete the job by mid-September, in time for the start of the seasons for the Mad Ants and the Fort Wayne Komets ice hockey team.

Spectators should have an easier time spotting PushyCat's sharp elbows when the Fort Wayne Derby Girls play under the new LED lights.

The arena will pay $784,584 for the lights but could save a whopping $200,000 a year in energy and maintenance costs, the Journal Gazette reported.

Supplier Ephesus Lighting is guaranteeing the LEDs for 10 years. If any fail prior to that it will replace them for free, the Journal Gazette noted.The metal halides, installed in 2002 during a coliseum roof renovation, had to be replaced about every five years,

Unlike the metal halides, the LED lamps can switch on immediately without having to warm up. Arena operators will also be able to change their colours for atmosphere and for light shows. For instance, they could glow orange during Komets games and yellow for the Mad Ants, matching the teams' colours.

They will also provide better illumination both onsite and for high definition television broadcasts. Viewer and spectators will thus more easily spot the pointed elbows on the rough and tough Fort Wayne Derby Girls, whose players have names including Butcherknife, Oreo SlamHer, R.I.P. Tide, Feline Frenzy, Mickey Mouth, Enya Grave and PushyCat.

Ephesus has provided LED lighting at a number of other sports venues, including Arizona's University of Phoenix football stadium, the site of the last Super Bowl.

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Top photo is from Wikimedia. PushyCat photo is from Fort Wayne Derby Girls website.