The chance of rain in LSU's Tiger Stadium? "Never" chants the crowd. But the chance of light? Always.
Over 100,000 seats sit unoccupied under the glow of Tiger Stadium’s LED-lit scoreboards, which are turned on from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. seven days a week year round. When lit, the scoreboards on the north and south end zones reach out across the bayou, letting all who see them know the stadium is home to the LSU Tigers.
As the cathedral of college football shines bright into the night, though, many university students wonder why the scoreboards are on if no one is there to see them.
“The lights look nice and all, but it seems like a waste of energy for them to be burning all night with no one to see them,” said Noah Willsea, a plant and soil systems freshman.
Robert Munson, LSU senior associate director of athletics, understands the urge to shut off the scoreboard at night.
“It’s not a TV,” Munson said. “Common sense says to turn them off, but you could potentially damage the system entirely.”
Amanda Adams, LSU Athletics director of internal projects and facility operations, cited moisture as the main threat to the lighting system, especially if the scoreboard is turned off for an extended period.
“Moisture will not build up on a heated surface; therefore, we have minimal issues with the boards if we just leave (the lights) on,” Adams said. “If we turn them off and allow moisture to build up, one simple problem could turn into half of the board being down."
"The other positive side to having the boards lit throughout the night is it provides lighting for security purposes,” Adams said.
The scoreboard lights, though, have not discouraged students from trying to break into Tiger Stadium. Three students were arrested Jan. 19 for breaking into the venue and stealing merchandise. In 2017, there were eight reported break-ins at the stadium.
The scoreboards at Alex Box Stadium also remain lit well into the night. The scoreboards’ LED lighting system keeps the athletic department’s electricity costs to a minimum by limiting the amount of electricity being used.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, LED lighting, or light emitting diodes, use 75 percent less energy and last 25 times longer that most other types of lighting commonly used.
Many of the campus sports teams use the scoreboard for recruiting purposes. Teams request the boards to be on, showing a logo or image to impress recruits.
“Recruiting is nearly a year-round occasion for us,” Adams said.
On holidays, the scoreboard displays a correlating scheme of colors. The system allows for hundreds of color schemes, including red and green for Christmas or red, white and blue for the Fourth July.
In a 2012 ESPN article covering the new lights in Tiger Stadium, LSU's former Deputy Director of Athletics Eddie Nunez discussed the importance of lighting up the stadium.
“We wanted to bring it back to life and restore its luster — and then also try to find a way to make it exciting for our fans, give it some fresh life,” Nunez said.
Luster and recruiting aside, Tiger Stadium’s scoreboard will continue to shine into the near future.