There was a new wrinkle to Orlando City Stadium’s pre-game festivities this past Saturday. As the players exited the tunnel, the LED lights chased around the stadium. Then, as the anthem began, only the center of the pitch was illuminated.
It was an incredible addition to what is already one of the most atmospheric pre-games in Major League Soccer.
“From the National Anthem when the lights kind of went out, that was, that gave me chills,” said Orlando City midfielder Justin Meram. “Running out of the tunnel for the first time to see a stadium like this. This is why I wanted to be here to play in this atmosphere with this group of guys.”
Even head coach Jason Kreis was impressed.
“The pre-game atmosphere was probably one of the best ones I’ve been involved in. The turning out of the lights for the national anthem, that was spectacular,” said Kreis on this week’s Soccercast.
With Orlando City Stadium’s high-tech LED lights at their disposal, Vice President of Marketing Kevin Coulthart and his team starting experimenting with different setups late last season.
“We are always looking for ways to enhance the match presentation and improve the fan experience inside the stadium,” said Coulthart. “Towards the very end of last season, we were able to test using the lights on a couple of occasions, but knew there were more possibilities.”
You’ll see the same pre-game routine this Saturday when Orlando City takes on Minnesota United, but it might be your last chance to experience it for a while.
With City’s next night game not until April 21st, there is a good chance daylight savings time and a later sunset will rain on the parade.
“Saturday night will be the last time for the beginning of the season we will be able to feature the lights in the pre-game ceremonies,” said Coulthart. “We are currently looking into more options and other ways to use the stadium lights throughout the season.”
Make sure you’re there when the lights go out this Saturday.