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Led Stadium Lighting Frequently Asked Questions

Led Stadium Lighting Frequently Asked Questions

Led Stadium Lighting Frequently Asked Questions

1. What Type of Lights are Frequently Used in Sports Fields?

A range of lights can be used to light different kinds of sports fields, however, the most widely used are the HID (High Intensity Discharge) lamps such as high-pressure sodium or metal halide.

a. LED vs metal halide

SSL (Solid State Lighting) like LED (Light Emitting Diode) is also popular because it requires less running costs and maintenance. However, an initial purchase of LED is significantly more expensive than a lumen HID of the same output. Each lamp offers different characteristics and selection of any given lamp is often based upon energy consumption, the color of light emitted, and life expectancy.

On average stadiums use higher wattage lamps when compared to other outdoor lighting applications, for example, parking lots, roadways, and billboards.

b. Application of HID

Most types of lighting can be used in a variety of applications; however, HID lights are limited to sports fields, warehouses, and industrial use. This is because they produce high levels of light. For example, most commercial and residential applications require each lamp to produce between 800 and 4000 lumens of light. A single HID lamp can produce more than 15,000 lumens.

To achieve high levels of light output, you need a lot of energy. HID lights are possibly more efficient than other types of lighting if you consider a lumens per watt basis. HID lights produce 75 lumens per watt while LED lights produce 45 lumens of light per watt.

While HID lights are very efficient, they take some time to warm up and achieve full brightness after they have been turned off. And restrike times are usually even much longer than initial warm-up times. For instance, in the event of a power blackout during a match in a stadium, after power has been restored, it may take HID lamps around 5 to 20 minutes to reach 90% brightness.

An important note though: some types of Metal Halide HID lights employ a different starting mechanism which can reduce warm-up time down to 1 to 4 minutes and restrike time down to 2 to 8 minutes.

2. What is the Lumen of Football Stadium Lights?

Lumen measures the amount of light you get from a lighting device. It is simply the intensity of light – luminous flux – where the more lumen the more the light. Stadium lighting requires very high intensity, which is best achieved by lumens.

Lumens for stadia provide the ideal level of brightness to play sport. Probably by now, you have had or heard about the great lighting experience that comes with the people and the adrenaline during late-night football. Lumen is part of that experience. LEDs today come with lumen output to achieve higher light output and very low level of energy consumption. For example, a 320w LED comes with a 41600-lumen output that is exceptional high brightness necessary for floodlights.

Modern pitches consider lumens an innovative approach of determining the brightness of light sources. According to recent research, visible light from bulbs, lamps, and LEDs is measured with lumens. A higher lumen rating provides brighter light, which is the case with stadium lights making it hard to differentiate between night and day.

3. How Many Power and Number of Pieces of Luminaries Do I Need to Light Up a Stadium?

Stadiums require good lighting that meets the needs of the audience, TV broadcasts, and participants. But how does one design good stadium lighting? Well, read on to find out more.

Good stadium lighting ensures maximum visibility for teams, referees, and spectators. Given that, designers adopt various layouts when installing stadium lights. However, factors such as pole height, size of playing field, and type of matches determine the amount and power of luminaires required.

a. Recommended Lux for Stadiums

Given the variations in sporting events, the amount and power of installed lighting vary as well. For instance, cricket matches involve fast actions, small balls, and extended viewing distances. Cricket stadiums require high illumination levels.

On the other hand, basketball and football are slower sports, have closer viewing distances, and larger playing objects. As a result, these stadiums require different illumination (lux) levels based on ball speed, location, uniformity, and desired visibility.

b. Lux levels required for different classes

Recommended stadium lighting levels have three classes: Class I, Class II, and Class III. The UNE-EN 12193 standard defines the minimum lighting levels for different sporting events. According to this specification, Class I sporting events have an illumination level of 750 lux, Class II events at 500 lux, and Class II events at 200 lux.

Besides, lights for top flight and intermediate events have a glare rating of 50, except for athletics which is 55. However, lamps used for lower flight events should have a rating of 55.

c. Bottomline

Determining a stadium optimum lighting level requires understanding several factors. These include stadium roof height, ground level, sports type, and uniformity. For this reason, selecting the right amount a power of luminaries affects a stadium’s overall atmosphere. Adequately lit stadiums are critical to the safety of fans and the success of sporting events. What’s more, installing the right number of lights creates an immersive experience in a stadium.

4. Flood Lights vs Spotlights

Which one works best for sports field?

With more and more sporting events being organized in the evening, there is a great need for proper lighting in the sports field. There has been a lot of research and development in this area and the modern-day LED lightings have replaced the conventional methods, however outdoor lights are available in multiple forms, designs and are to be used based on the requirements.

Football, cricket, hockey, tennis, rugby, and a lot other sporting events are often organized in the evening and require proper illumination. A lot of people usually get confused about the type of lighting that should be installed in a sports field. The requirements of each of these sports can differ in terms of the details, but one thing that remains common is the fact that these require distributed illumination throughout the field.

a. What are the critical parameters to considered

Multiple things need to be put into consideration when selecting lighting for a sports field. Some of these are mentioned below-

  • Type of game that is played
  • Visual comfort of the players as well as the viewers
  • The color of the sports equipment that is being used
  • Size of the field
  • Shadows length being formed and their impact on the game
  • Availability of lights at the entrance and exit spots

b. Flood light or Spotlights – what should you choose?

Below listed points will help you in making right choice and plan accordingly

i. Floodlights

It can provide a more substantial spanning lighting and are hence a great choice when the requirement is to cover a large area of a sports field. They can help in covering and reaching out to areas that are not easy to illuminate otherwise. Floodlights make use of LED that helps in providing superior illumination at an affordable cost. These are further subdivided into various categories and designs based on the level of brightness required and the solution used. Floodlights are installed at a suitable height to allow them to cover a wide area. They do not require much effort to set up and can be connected easily to any power source.

ii. Spotlights

They are installed when there is a requirement to produce direct and focused lighting. These lights are a great choice to illuminate doors, entrance, and exits. They direct the beam on a single area and are suitable for attracting the attention of the viewers to a particular section of the sports field. It is essential not to overuse the spotlights as it will end up spoiling the purpose. You need to use the spotlights only in areas that you wish to highlight. Installing a spotlight may require a lot more effort and planning.

Both floodlights and spotlights are very common in the outdoor lighting area, but their primary feature and usage differs considerably. To be able to make the best use of these lights, you must understand the difference between them. To ensure that the objective of providing an excellent experience for the players are viewers is met, it is recommended to have a right balance of floodlights and spotlights in a sports field.

5. Why are Stadium Lights Always On? How to Reduce Light Pollution?

Stadiums used to be situated outside the major cities. Currently, cities have expanded and many stadiums are situated in the center of residential areas near people’s gardens. Different sports are also very popular and the number continues to increase. So to cover all these sports, the clubs do play even until late at night.
That is why you’ll find most stadium lights stay on and there are reasons for that. While this is great for players and cheerleaders, it leads to light pollution. Neighbors complain about the strong lighting from these sports fields. That is why stadiums should use LED lights.

a. Switching Stadium Lights may lead to power system malfunction

Major reason stadium lights are always on is that switching them off may cause the power system to malfunction. The power framework cannot cope with the huge power spike that light switch off causes.

b. The cheerleaders and fans need that lighting

The evening shadows do make the stadium unusual. So, the lights are turned on to compensate for this. Actually, the cheerleaders practice at least thrice in a week, and they need those lights.

c. For added security

While leaving the stadium lights on all through leads to light pollution, it makes some people feel more secure. Undoubtedly, glare caused by unshielded lighting can make shadows where lawbreakers can hide. Though that is true, splendid lights can simplify the work of those lawbreakers.

d. How to Reduce Light Pollution

Light pollution is almost everywhere. It could be originating from a stadium or elsewhere. You can admire it from afar when you gasp at the skyline of your town. It might also be the annoying light on the streets that shines through your bedroom window during bedtime.

Light pollution contends with starlight in the sky. Further, it affects the astronomical views, disrupts the ecosystem and may have severe health effects. There are 4 common kinds of light pollution: clutter, glare, trespass and sky glow. All these four kinds can be reduced through the use of LED lights. Nowadays, people have accepted LEDs as exterior lighting; and this is how to use them to reduce light pollution.

i. Technological Advancement

Currently, there are 3-part lighting fixtures that emit light rays parallel to each other. Such an arrangement makes sure that the light is emitted only to the desired area, instead of lighting the entire space.

ii. The correct light with the correct angle

Lighting experts can now choose LED lights with the right beam angle enclosed both above and to the sides. This does not only channel the light downward but reduces light pollution as well. This procedure is referred to as “cutting-off light at the horizontal.” It makes sure that the light only illuminates the field.

iii. Sensor and dimming abilities

Using LEDs that have occupancy sensors is a way to reduce light pollution. These sensors do switch on and off depending on movements. Hence the ground is lit only when required. Adaptive lighting is also great for reducing light levels at specific times of night when an area is not used.

iv. Using warmer LEDs

Using LED lights with white and warmer illumination is another way to reduce light pollution. LEDs, with a color temperature of 4000k or below, are ideal.

Leaving stadium lights on all through is beneficial in different ways as discussed here. However, the stadium managers should be mindful of neighboring residences and businesses. They should understand the fixture and LED lights that are right for their sports fields before making the installations.

6. How Much Does It Cost to Buy & Run Football Field Lights?

Installing high-quality lights for your football will provide numerous benefits to not only the players but also fans. High-end football light also improves the safety of the athletes, at the same time making scheduling for practices, and games more flexible. Of course, before settling on the best football field lights, there are some things you need to consider. Remember some technologies are cheaper than others are. However, what is crucial considering is that long-term effects and cost of the technology. This means that you shouldn’t consider the initial costs of the lighting equipment only.

The size of the field also matters. Of course, installing a new lighting system for a high school football field is way less than installing the lights in a professional field for premier league and Olympic Games. This is also true when it comes to maintenance costs.

a. Maintenance costs

With a high school field as our base field, we will begin by giving an estimate of maintenance & running costs. A typical high school soccer field has a lighting requirement of about 300-400Lux. LED has a better efficiency, this means that the stadium requires about 35,000W LED lamps for adequate lighting for both the audience area and turf. However, if you decide to go with the metal halide lamps, you will need to use 70,000W for the same field.

In the US, the average cost of electricity is about $0.12KW/h. So, running a medium-sized football cost will translate to about $4.2 per hour (35000 x 0.12 / 1000). Assuming that the lights run for about eight hours daily for 15 days in a month, the monthly cost will be (4.2 x 8 x 15) =$504. On the other hand, if you decide to use the metal halide, you are going to spend double that amount ($1008)

b. Cost of the lamps

Besides the energy bills, you also need to consider the initial cost of the lamps. A regular high school football field will cost about $50,000-$120,000. The wide difference is brought about by the brand and the origin of the LED lights.

7. Do LED Lights Consume a Lot of Electricity?

For years, sports stadiums have used high-pressure sodium and metal halide fixtures to light playing surfaces. But now, these are turning to LED lights to improve both viewing and playing experiences for both fans and athletes. Professional athletes show preference to LED lightings as it replicates natural lighting on playing surfaces. Led lights are better for stadiums and sports field because it not only brightens the play area but also minimizes power consumption. That means, LED stadium lights consume less than half the energy of traditional lights and require less repair and maintenance over their useful lifespans.

Why LED help reduce the electricity cost

Here we shall see some reason how LED stadium lights consume less electricity:

Traditional high-pressure sodium and metal halide light fixtures require a long warmup period before coming to full power. Due to this warm-up process in traditional light fixtures, nearly 40-80 percentage of the energy is wasted. However, LED lights illuminates almost immediately after being powered up. So, by using LED’s, the loss during powering process drops to 10 percentage, which means LED stadiums will require 40 to 70 percent less energy compared to traditionally lighted stadiums.

The efficacy of a light source is often measured in Lumens per Watt. LED lights have higher luminance ground reach compared to traditional stadium lights. Traditional metal halide sport lights require more than 50 percent of the energy used by LED lights to produce the same field luminosity.

Traditional metal halide lights have very low power efficiency ballast compared to LED lights. This means only 60 to 80 percent of the energy is used in the right way by the ballast. LED’s come with switch made power supply technology, that leads to 95 percent voltage efficiency. Don’t forget, efficiency saves energy and money.


If you are planning to upgrade your old stadium lights to LED lights, then you should make your decision quick. LED lights are energy saving and is a clear winner in every aspect of light. We offer free lighting design service to better assist your sports lighting projects. Please feel free to contact us by filling in the info in our form.

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