The Effects of Lighting Quality on Visual Perception at Sports Events: A Managerial Perspective

Article excerpt

This study examines the effects lighting quality on spectator visual perception, based on the principles of sports lighting and environmental psychology. The subjects of this study were 260 spectators of the World Games in-line hockey competition (aged 15-60). According to the study results from stage 1, the lighting of the in-line hockey rink at I-Shou University (the World Games 2009 venue for in-line hockey) did not meet international standards. Additionally, an analysis of the structural equation modeling in stage 2 showed that poor lighting quality impaired the quality of the visual perceptions of spectators. Implications of the results for managers improving lighting at sports events to enhance the potential enjoyment of spectators are developed

Introduction

The quality and quantity of lighting at sporting venues affects competition as well as the safety of both the athletes and spectators. Moreover, the design and quality of lighting at sporting venues may have an effect on the country 's image when that country hosts international events. For instance, one of the events of the FIFA Futsal World Championship, Taipei, 2004, was suspended for half an hour due to a circuit breaker that was tripped at the National Taiwan University, an event which resulted in negative media feedback. Thus, lighting is a key element in the construction of sporting venues. It should conform to international standards in order to meet the requirements of safety, technical specification, economy, and energy conservation (Tsai Chang-Chi, 1983).

Well-designed lighting can relieve strain on the eyes, speed up the recognition of objects, lengthen visual durability, improve sporting quality, and prevent injuries and accidents during exercises or competitions (Tung Chih-Kangl993). Therefore, sporting venues with comprehensive lighting quality can ensure the physical safety of athletes and spectators. This analyzes the lighting quality of sporting facilities and its effects on spectator visual perception in order to suggest practical steps managers can take to improve the situation

The purpose of designing lighting is to provide appropriate illuminance, color temperature, and lighting to meet the physical and psychological requirements of the user's vision. Different lighting conditions result in varying different visual psychological perceptions that can affect the 'atmosphere' at sports events (Sung Ping-Sheng, 2001). The lighting of a facility is a key issue for research conducted into the dimensions and peripheral equipment of sporting venues. Proper design aims to control the brightness and illuminance of a subject (a ball or person) to create an optimum lighting environment where the subject is presented clearly in front of both the live spectators and television viewer (Shanghai Sports, 2000). A number of specific aspects for of lighting research have been suggested (Tung Chih-Kang, 1993), such as the angle and height of sports lighting, the !luminance of sports lighting, the uniformity of sports lighting, the intensity of sport lighting, and finally the selection of lighting for sports events.

Before examining visual perception, environmental perception needs to be understood first, given that the former is an instance of the latter. The perception process is at the core of environmental behavior as it is the source of all environmental messages. The environment may stimulate the senses and provide more messages to individuals than they can process effectively. BeIk (1 975) pointed out that it is difficult to 6 separate ' individuals from their environment during the perception process because they are interactive and the perception of individuals is affected by their environment. In perception studies, psychologists tend to focus on object perception instead of perception as regards the general environment and its importance to individuals, which some aigue is more obvious and important (Mehrabian& Russell, 1974). …