Several MLB ballparks have converted to LED lighting over the last few years. As of the beginning of the 2019 season, the following stadiums have LED lighting installed: T-Mobile Park, Minute Maid Park, Yankee Stadium, Petco Park, Globe Life Park (I’d assume the Rangers’ new park, under construction, will also have it), Kauffman Stadium, Great American Ball Park, Citizens Bank Park and Busch Stadium.
So that’s nine of the 30 MLB parks that now have LED lighting. With Wrigley Field undergoing a multi-million dollar restoration and expansion, the question naturally came up: Will Wrigley go to LED lighting, and if so, when?
The first hint of this might have come when proposed outfield light towers were cancelled, announced at the Cubs Convention a couple of years ago. LED lighting, brighter and more efficient, probably obviated the need for outfield lighting. Those outfield light standards would have looked like this:
But since those aren’t going to happen, where do the Cubs stand regarding better lighting?
Carl Rice, Cubs VP of Wrigley Field Restoration and Expansion, told me, “We are evaluating the light systems available out there. We’re not replacing the light standards in the next couple of years.”
He added, “We’re working with the National Park Service to get a system that will fit in the right way, to retrofit and match what was put up in 1988.”
The Cubs’ current lighting system was installed 31 years ago, as Rice noted, and because the ballpark is landmarked, any change to the light standards would have to be approved by the National Park Service. Installing a LED lighting system isn’t as simple as just swapping out bulbs, as the wiring system likely will have to be re-done, and any new lights likely wouldn’t precisely match the look of the current ones.
So, if you’ve been wondering whether the Wrigley Field lighting plant is going to be updated to modern LED lighting, the answer is: “Probably so, but it’s going to take a little while longer.”