La Plata Stadium in Buenos Aires

From U2360 to 360 lights, the La Plata Stadium is ready to shine this week for Copa America.

When Bono and U2 played three sold-out shows at the Estadio Unico de La Plata in Buenos Aires earlier this year, they dazzled the crowd with The Claw, the largest stadium set ever constructed. With only four days remaining until Copa America 2011, the Government of BA Province is rolling out their own high-tech light show.

While 360 was the name of the U2 Tour, it’s also the number of lights now hanging from six mobile units designed to light the playing field before and after the six Copa America matches to be contested in La Plata. The light rigs were designed by SGL Concept, a Dutch company whose initials stand for Stadium Grow Lighting. SGL promises to “grow grass under any conditions in any stadium, even during winter” which is fast approaching in Argentina.

ImpulsoBaires says 30 of the world’s most important futbol clubs use the SGL system including Barcelona FC, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Manchester United and Wembley Stadium where Barca and ManU played the Champions League Final last month. “By controlling all growth factors such as light, temperature, CO2, water, air and nourishment, SGL makes it possible to have optimal grass growth under every condition,” according to the company’s site.

The Estadio Unico pitch will be ready to shine this week for the Friday opener between Argentina and Bolivia. Five more matches will be played on the SGL-enhanced grass including Brazil/Venezuela (July 3), Uruguay/Mexico (July 12) and the Q1/Q2 Semifinal (July 19). (Full Story in Spanish)

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