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February 10, 2015

Spotlight On: The COTA Tower Light Show

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What’s it take to light up the COTA Tower?

A few thousand LEDs and an iPad.

If you’ve seen Circuit of The Americas’ landmark tower at night — and at 25 stories it can be pretty hard to miss — you know that it’s lit up most nights in red, white and blue with a few sparkles thrown in.

Those lights, more than 9,000 energy-efficient LEDs, follow the double helix of stairs that lead to the observation deck that overlooks Circuit of The Americas and the surrounding Central Texas countryside.

The lights are controlled by an app that lives on only a handful of iPads. From anywhere in the world, the tower’s light show can be changed to any color in the spectrum with the push of just a few buttons.

Over the years, the tower has changed colors based on specific events, special dates, client needs — even green, white and red to celebrate a victory by the Mexican soccer team during the 2014 World Cup.

The lights are not only dazzling, they also serve a purpose: Along with federally required red lights at the top of the Tower, they help make it visible to pilots taking off and landing at nearby Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

But as with all good things, the light show comes to an end each night a few hours before sunrise.

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