The Game 2015:
Under the lights for the first time
While The Game prides itself on tradition, the 132nd iteration will break one time-honored custom. For the first time ever, Saturday’s matchup will be played under the lights, as the 2:30 p.m. kickoff time means that much of the second half will be played after the sun sets.
It marks the first time the Yale Bowl, which does not have lighting, will be illuminated for a football game.
Associate Director of Athletics Sports Publicity Steve Conn said NBC — the network broadcasting the game — agreed to pay for temporary lighting after requesting that the kickoff be an hour and a half later than it normally is for The Game. By moving The Game’s kickoff time, NBC is able to air Premier League Soccer or a NASCAR race, depending on location, before the Harvard-Yale rivalry matchup. Afterwards, viewers can watch the Notre Dame-Boston College football game, which has a 7:30 p.m. kickoff from Boston’s Fenway Park, Conn said.
“NBC is broadcasting from two cool venues at night that are unusual,” Conn said. “A lot of people will watch, so it’s probably going to be a big day for them.”
“I know that type of change, especially in a game under the lights, always brings a little bit more crowd energy, just because it’s such a different feel.”
—Sebastian Little '16, Yale tight end
Musco Sports Lighting worked with NBC and Yale Athletics to provide the lights. The company, which has won an Emmy Award for its work providing temporary lighting for NCAA Tournament football games, began the installation on Thursday, according to Conn.
They were completed later that evening, although the Yale football team did not have a chance to practice underneath them. For added safety outside the stadium at night, Yale athletics will turn on existing lights in surrounding nearby areas in addition to Musco’s lights.
“We’ll be asked to turn on all of the lights in our facilities around the Bowl, so that would be Johnson Field, and we have lights on our practice fields, and Clint Frank Field has lights, so we’ll turn on all of our lights in Reese Stadium, ” Director of Athletics Tom Beckett told the News in September. “And we’ll add lights in parking areas where needed.”
These lights, according to Conn, have been used before at events hosted at venues such as the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center. Yet they have never been used for an event of this magnitude.
With between 40,000 and 50,000 fans expected to turn out to The Game, the Bowl’s parking lots are expected to accommodate over 4,000 cars, Conn said.
(Peter Chung, Contributing Photographer)
Though the sun will be out at kickoff, the lights will be on before then so the backdrop will not change. Turning the lights on early will also prevent the teams from noticing a large difference before and after the sun sets, Conn added.
“I know that type of change, especially in a game under the lights, always brings a little bit more crowd energy, just because it’s such a different feel,” tight end Sebastian Little ’17 told the News in September. “That’s really what I’m excited for, getting people in the seats involved and having a lot of people at the games.”
This game marks the fifth nationally televised game for the Bulldogs this season, and their second that will be played under the lights, as Yale’s game against Penn kicked off at 7 p.m. on a Friday night. Prior to this season, however, the Yale football team had only played four games under lights in its history.
For Harvard, meanwhile, The Game will be the fourth night game and seventh on national television this season.
The sun will set in New Haven at 4:26 p.m. Saturday.