Case Study RKC Waalwijk
Dutch Soccer Club RKC Waalwijk Already Promoted
Dutch soccer club RKC Waalwijk is trying to find its way back to the competition, after years of playing at the highest level in the Dutch Eredivisie major league. After their relegation in 2014, RKC Waalwijk is now competing in the Keukenkampioen Divisie, the 2nd league in the Netherlands. The stadium of RKC Waalwijk, with a capacity of about 7,500 spectators, has a new lighting system since the start of this season, that runs entirely on LED. This means that they have already been promoted to a higher league in terms of stadium lighting.
Looking for The Way Up
RKC Waalwijk is a relatively young professional soccer club. After years of playing as an amateur club, the club made the switch to professional soccer in 1984. That soon proved to be successful, because in 1988 RKC promoted to the Eredivisie where they were active for 19 seasons. There were even some European matches played and a 7th place in the Eredivisie was the highest position. However, in 2007 they were relegated for the first time. The club then switched between the highest and second highest Dutch league for several years. Since the 2014/2015 season, RKC Waalwijk has been playing in the Keukenkampioen Divisie with minimal financial resources. After several years in financially dire straits, they repaid their debts in the season 2016/2017 and now the club is working hard for a better future again. With a complete stadium renovation RKC took the first step.
A Complete Renovation of the Stadium Has Been Carried Out
General Director Frank van Mosselveld: “Over the past twenty years, hardly any maintenance has been carried out on the stadium. When you pay us a visit, the first impression will be much better now. Everything will look a lot more modern, spacious and neat. People will soon see a lot of glass, wood and anthracite. The view of the stadium is not the only things that has been renewed, the stadium lighting of RKC Waalwijk has also completely been replaced. “RKC Waalwijk has converted its stadium to major Eredivisie league level, we wanted to implement this in all facilities. And therefor also in the stadium lighting. The choice to also replace the lighting was simple. “With the old lighting we often had to deal with faults and age. It was simply out of date and clumsy to operate,” says Van Mosselveld.
Smart Solutions in Stadium lighting
RKC Waalwijk has the ambition to return to the Dutch major league Eredivisie. “To be able to take these steps, the facilities must first be of top level. In addition, the old lighting installation would no longer pass the inspection,” says Van Mosselveld. The existing masts in the stadium could be reused, provided that the load would not increase. That was the challenge. “LED luminaires are usually larger and heavier than conventional luminaires because a larger surface area is required for heat transfer. For many LED manufacturers this leads to more mass. This makes the reuse of existing masts a difficult task,” explains Raymond Wiggers of AAA-LUX. Thanks to the smart design of AAA-LUX, they are the only manufacturer in the world that can reuse the existing masts with an all-in product, in 90% of the cases, including power supply.” concludes Wiggers.
Preserving the Existing Stadium Masts
AAA-LUX has installed 80 WS-STAD stadium LED luminaires in the Mandemakers Stadium. “These 80 LED fixtures produce a high light output, allowing AAA-LUX to achieve good light values. In short, the required light level is achieved with fewer and lighter luminaires. This works to the advantage of RKC Waalwijk, as it allowed the old stadium masts to be retained,” explains Wiggers. “Convenient for the costs,” adds Van Mosselveld. “This saves us from having to make extra investments in new or extra stadium masts. In addition, RKC Waalwijk has possibilities to expand. “Thanks to the low weight of the WS-STAD stadium LED luminaires, it is even possible to install more luminaires later on, without exceeding the mast capacity,” concludes Wiggers.
Ready to Compete
With the renewed stadium lighting and the renovation of the stadium, RKC Waalwijk is once again ready to compete. “The KNVB sets lighting requirements for the professional soccer clubs. The requirement for the Keukenkampioen Divisie is 800 lux horizontal. With the switch to LED stadium lighting, RKC again meets this requirement,” explains Wiggers. The KNVB has not set any strict requirements for the vertical light values. “But the stadium masts at RKC are perfect for vertical lighting. We always try to offer the best possible vertical light, even if there are no concrete requirements. Now the stadium therefore already amply meets the vertical lighting requirements of UEFA Level D. In the Mandemakers Stadium, FOX Sports and photographers already obtain images of high quality. The TV images speak for themselves,” says Wiggers. An upgrade to UEFA Level C is also within easy reach. As soon as clubs become more successful and operates at a European level, there are higher requirements on the vertical light values. More vertical light ensures better HDTV recording. This is not currently required for RKC Waalwijk, but if this will be necessary in the future, the expansion possibilities are there – thanks to the compact LED fixtures – ®.
The Desired Light Level, Always in Control
The stadium in Waalwijk consciously uses the smart control system. The 80 LED luminaires are controlled wirelessly using pre-programmed dimming modes. “During a match, the lighting is 100% on. During training courses, we simply set a lower lighting setting,” explains Van Mosselveld. As a result, RKC Waalwijk always illuminates its stadium at the right time at the desired level. This minimises energy consumption and light emissions to the immediate surroundings. “The quality of the lighting is excellent, and we can already see that we are using less energy. These are exactly the reasons why we chose AAA-LUX,” says Van Mosselveld. Apart from arguments about finances and lighting quality, the possibility to always select the desired light level of LED lighting also offers a nice contribution to reducing CO2 emissions and thus improves our carbon footprint as a soccer club.