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Oct. 17, 2011 - Mercedes-Benz Superdome to Light up New Orleans Skyline

NEW ORLEANS (October 17, 2011) - As a part of the $85 million in upgrades to the newly renamed Mercedes-Benz Superdome, officials will ‘flip the switch' tonight to illuminate the Louisiana landmark with a state-of-the art lighting system that will wash the building's exterior in a spectrum of animated colors. The inaugural lighting event will feature a special program that showcases the broad array of the system's dynamic illumination capabilities set to a special soundtrack scripted especially for the event.

SMG Senior Vice President Doug Thornton says crews have installed more than 26,000 LED lights in 288 fixtures that are capable of reproducing every color of the rainbow on all 96 concave aluminum panels that ring the building's exterior. The new lighting system will showcase the facility as part of the City's vibrant Sports District and will also include coordinated illumination with Champions Square and the Hyatt Hotel.

"This is something we have been interested in doing for some time. Exterior lighting can transform a facility and have a huge impact on the night-time skyline," Thornton says. "We see this as another significant feature that will enhance the identity of the facility, while creating a colorful display for all New Orleanians to enjoy."

"What better way to celebrate our world class stadium, championship football team, and one of the great cities of the world?" asks Ron Forman, Chairman of the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District, the government appointed board charged with overseeing the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and surrounding area. "The 2-million-square-foot exterior makes the Superdome an incredible palette for this amazing new lighting system, and we are excited for the public to see some of the ways we anticipate using it for sporting events, holidays, and other special events."

The Mercedes Benz Superdome has been illuminated temporarily twice for special events in the past, including the first post-9/11 Super Bowl in 2002 and September 25, 2006, when the facility was re-opened after Hurricane Katrina. Both of those installations were temporary and were only able to light the upper half of the facility's exterior. The new LED lighting system is much more advanced and dynamic. It contains more fixtures and can be programmed with a vast array of color options.

"The Mercedes-Benz Superdome is one of the most recognizable facilities in the world and it should be displayed in a world-class manner," says Saints Owner Tom Benson. "All of our fans in Louisiana and beyond can be proud that we have a facility of this caliber and the new lights will only enhance our great new stadium."

Local contractor, Frischertz Electric and the Solomon Group, a New Orleans multimedia firm, designed and installed the new lighting system. They installed more than five miles of copper wiring to support the system, which is remarkably energy efficient. The entire system, when operating in one color, draws only 10 kilowatts of electricity - the equivalent amount of energy used by a small home. When operated six hours per day every day of the year, no lights will need to be replaced until 2057.

The Solomon Group, which also served as the media technology designer for Champions Square, developed the lighting concept with the Superdome to create a multimedia environment that will bring the New Orleans skyline to life.

"Our goal was to create a lighting system that is both innovative and aesthetically stunning. Onlookers are sure to be amazed by what it brings to the exterior of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome." says Solomon Group President Gary Solomon, Jr. "The lighting will compliment what we did for Champions Square and add a new element to our city's iconic skyline."

Thornton says the lighting system will be operated nightly and will feature many different colors and lighting patterns. SMG will also experiment with unique ways to display the lights to celebrate events or commemorate occasions.

New Orleanians who want to see the new lighting during its inaugural debut are invited to view the display from Champions Square on Thursday, October 20. Free parking will be available in Champions Garage at Girod St. (formerly the Macy's garage) and there is no charge to enter Champions Square. The official lighting will take place just after 7:15 p.m., so the public is encouraged to arrive no later than 6:45 p.m. The Square will open at 6 p.m.

"Bring your lawn chairs and the kids," Thornton says. "This will be your first chance to see these amazing lights before they are seen by the national TV audience when the Saints play the Colts next Sunday night."

The Mercedes Benz Superdome is governed by the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District (LSED) and operated by SMG, the private management firm that also operates the New Orleans Arena and Champions Square. For more information visit www.Superdome.com or call 504-587-3663.