Next season will finally see Spartan Stadium lights, as the Michigan State University Board of Trustees approved a new permanent LED lighting system for the 2017 season.
It may seem odd in this day and age that a high-profile FBS program — and a Big Ten program, to boot! — not have permanent lighting installed, given the increased amount of Saturday night football games now on the broadcast schedule. But Michigan State isn’t the only school to eschew permanent lights to date, as both Northwestern and Purdue have not installed lights, and Iowa only did in 2015. Of course, we’ve all seen evening games broadcast from Spartan Stadium, but this was done because broadcasters were required to pay upwards of $65,000 to rent temporary lights. With that requirement gone in 2017, Michigan State decided to install the permanent lighting.
The installation of lights is expected to cost between $2.2 and $2.5 million, with a final price and plan subject to approval from the Board of Trustees before the end of the year. From the Lansing State Journal:
Additional revenue from Big Ten television contracts is expected to cover the the lighting project’s costs, which will come out of the MSU athletic department’s budget and not general funds, President Lou Anna K. Simon said….
High-efficiency LED lights, similar to the ones installed in recent years at Breslin Center and Munn Arena, will be placed around the football field. They will be placed atop the west tower press box, and two poles will be erected on the northeast and southeast corners of the stadium.
Spartan Stadium has hosted 18 night games in its history, the first in 1987. MSU is 9-3 in the 12 night games there during Mark Dantonio’s first nine seasons as head coach, including a win over Oregon in the Spartans’ only home night game last season.
The approval from the Board of Trustees was unanimous.
Image courtesy Michigan State University.