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LED Baseball Field Lighting

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Baseball is an incredible sport, it is fun to watch and fun to play. People of all ages love this game which is played at different levels of competition and loved by millions of people all over the world. But the field where the game is played has to be carefully constructed and well illuminated.

Constructing a baseball field is a huge undertaking that requires careful planning as the appropriate dimensions and standards have to be adhered to. The same goes for lighting a baseball field.

Each field requires custom solutions depending on its location, size, and level of play. Lighting specialists use experiential knowledge and photometric analyses to come up with different lighting solutions for different baseball fields.

Since the debut of baseball, baseball fields and stadiums have evolved as lighting evolved. While the game was invented in the 1800s, up until the mid-nineteenth-century there were no nighttime baseball games. But thanks to some charismatic engineers and inventive lighting technology, the world has now become used to nighttime baseball games.

And as lighting technology continues to advance, the ballparks advance. Since LED lighting made its rookie debut, it has found its way into many baseball stadiums and fields as the push towards energy efficiency gains momentum. LED lights in a baseball field enhance the game for both players and spectators.

Lighting Requirements for Baseball Fields

Baseball fields have different requirements. A little league game does not require the same amount of light as a World Series game. It is important to stick to the recommended foot candles because you may end up with very bad lighting if you decide to focus on cutting costs.

Baseball fields typically require higher levels of lighting than other sporting activities as the playing object is small and fast-moving. When it comes to sports lighting, sports with small and fast-moving objects must be intensely illuminated than those with larger playing objects that stay close to the ground – such as soccer.

Baseball is a unique game as the field sizes vary and this wholly depends on the level of play. For instance, a little league baseball field has smaller dimensions. The dimensions keep on increasing in size as the level of play increases. The biggest determining factor of how much light will be required is the size of the field.

It also dictates how many light fixtures will be used and also where the lighting poles will be placed. The placement of the poles is also affected by bleachers and seats. Baseball fields that do not have bleachers or seats do not require a lot of lighting fixtures as those that have them. Lighting experts take all these into consideration before formulating suitable lighting solutions for baseball fields.

The Different Levels of Play and Their Lighting Requirements: In Footcandles and Lux

Outfield (FCs) Outfield (Lux) Infield (FCs) Infield (Lux) Outfield FCs (Max/Min) Outfield Lux (Max/Min) Infield FCs (Max/Min) Infield Lux (Max/Min)
Collegiate (Televised) 70 753.5 100 1076.4 2.5 26.9 2 21.5
Collegiate 50 538.2 70 753.5 2.5 26.9 2 21.5
High School 30 322.9 50 538.2 2.5 26.9 2 21.5
Little League 30 322.9 50 538.2 2.5 26.9 2 21.5
Recreational 20 215.3 30 322.9 2.5 26.9 2 21.5

The above table reflects the average of the most commonly utilized guidelines for baseball field lighting. Just by looking at it, you can see that infield lighting levels must always be higher than the outfield levels.

The infield is where most of the direct action between the pitcher and the batter takes place, which is why enhanced visibility is so important. These lighting guidelines apply even to recreational baseball fields as visibility is important in all sporting activities.

You may also be wondering what the max/min lighting requirements stand for. A max/min ratio is the median between the maximum quantity of horizontal foot-candles (or luxes) on a surface and the minimum quantity of horizontal foot-candles (or luxes) on the same surface.

This ratio is very important in sports lighting as it helps lighting professionals to determine whether there are areas of glare, hot spots, or shadows on a surface or field. A good ratio, under 3, generally means that the lighting is even.

However, a max/min ratio above 3 may indicate that there are spotty areas of light. When it comes to baseball lighting, a ratio of 2 is considered ideal in the infield (at any level of play) while a ratio of 2.5 is acceptable for the outfield.

Why LED Baseball Field Lights?

LED Lights for Stadiums

Metal halides are some of the most popular light sources for major league baseball stadiums. These lights have been the go-to lighting option for decades. And while they illuminate baseball fields and stadiums well, and also provide visual entertainment, they need the help of reflectors to focus thousands of lumens towards the fields. Metal halides with electronic ballasts were once considered the best form of lighting for large spaces.

No question about it, metal halide lamps can give off a lot of light. However, they are not without drawbacks. For starters, they use massive amounts of electricity to produce light, at times more than 1000 watts per lamp. This means that a baseball lighting pole, which holds 8 light fixtures and can be as high as 100 feet tall, may support 8 metal halide lamps pulling 8,000 watts.

The average baseball game lasts about 2-3 hours, which means energy costs can increase at a rapid rate. With the initial costs of LEDs going down, many baseball stadiums and fields are turning to the technology for efficient lighting.

A baseball field lighting system making use of a variety of LEDs illuminates complicated target areas in a way not easily realized when state-of-the-art HID lamps are used. 

This means that light from different luminaires can light up the same spot to create something known as modeling, a highly desirable attribute in sports lighting. Modeling is when lighting reveals the shape, depth, and even texture of sports objects or athletes.

In addition, HID lights need time to warm up. These conventional lights cannot be used for intermittent lighting. One of the biggest benefits of LED lights in baseball fields is that they only provide illumination when the fields are in use.

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LEDs are solid-state light sources, are known for their energy efficiency and durability. They are a great light because they have a much longer useful life than metal halides which are still used in many baseball fields up to date.

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LEDs last tens of thousands of hours and their performance surpasses that of HIDs by a great margin. They can be dimmed to the desired output consistently and also lowers energy usage.

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LEDs can have very narrow beam angles, ensuring not only illumination of distant parts of the field, but allowing for the crossing of luminaire aimings to make sure that light from different luminaires blends or meets from contrasting angles.

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LED lights can be switched on and instantly provide light. No long stat-up or cycling times.

Considerations for LED Baseball Field Lights

Glare Limitation

In baseball and football, there's a phenomenon called "eye black." The players wear black stripes under their eyes for one important reason: natural skin usually absorbs some light and reflects the rest. This can cause glare and impair the vision of the athletes.

They apply black stripes to prevent this from happening and ensure that their skin absorbs all the light, making it easier to keep track of the ball in mid-air. However, baseball players should not have to go to such great lengths to prevent glare when the problem is the lighting fixtures.

Glare index is very important for baseball field lighting. LEDs, just like any other light sources, can create glare. To prevent this from happening, you can get lights with diffusers which help to reduce glare. The lights must also be positioned in a way that they direct light downwards.

To limit glare, be sure to choose lights with a high color rendering index and a matching color temperature so as to attain the basic functional requirements. The light must be able to clearly show the activity of the baseball players during competition or night training and also ensure that TV broadcasts clearly show the instantaneous movements of the athletes and capture the trajectory of the high-speed ball.

The limitation of glare can be done by adjusting the height of the lighting poles, determining the projection point, and choosing the right beam angles for the lights.

    LED Lighting for Stadiums

    IP65 Logo

    IP Rating

    The international protection rating, also known as the IP code or the ingress protection rating, is made up of the letters IP followed by two numerical values. The IP rating system was invented by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), an international organization that deals with standardization.

    The goal of this organization is to promote international cooperation on matters regarding standardization in the electronic and electrical fields. The International Electrotechnical Commission works closely with International Organization for Standards (ISO).

    The IEC publication 529 contains a full description of IP ratings and their associated tests. When these ratings were first developed, they were used to classify enclosures. But thanks to technological advancements, they now provide engineers with a practical way of comparing levels of sealing effectiveness.

    According to the International Standard IEC 60529, the IP code defines the degree of protection lighting fixtures offer their internal components against intrusion of water, dust, and accidental contact. The fixtures protect the internal components from intrusion by solid objects such as wires, tools, and even body parts like fingers and hands. The main aim of the IP rating is to offer users more detailed information than what was there before – like vague terms such as “waterproof.”

    The first numerical digit indicates the level of protection the lighting fixtures offer against solid particles like dust, dirt, fingers, and hands. This usually ranges from 1 to 6. The second digit tells you the exact amount of liquids the lighting fixture can handle without experiencing damage. It ranges from 1 to 8. Higher numerical values typically indicate a high level of protection.

    Lighting Uniformity

    Lighting uniformity refers to the ratio between the minimum and the maximum luxes. Inside the baseball field, it refers to the average to maximum luxes. A good baseball lighting system must have uniformity so that there are no poorly-lit areas or shadows.

    A baseball field has unique lighting requirements because of its unique shape – it is shaped like a diamond. The lighting requirements for the infield and outfield are very different.

    A lighting designer must design the illuminance values of the infield and outfield to be significantly different. The boundary between the outfield and the infield can be a watershed of the illuminance value, decreasing the illuminance value of the outfield area that is adjacent to the infield.

    The beam angle and projection point of each luminaire must be carefully selected and calculated. If possible, the height of the lighting poles should be adjusted to ensure that the lights follow the standards set by the International Commission on Illumination (CIE).

    Baseball field lighting must not only satisfy the average illuminance and average vertical illuminance, but also the proportional coefficient of the horizontal illuminance and the uniformity of the vertical illuminance.

    Lighting Pollution

    In recent times, a lot of effort has been put in the development of approaches that counteract glare and spill light in large lighting applications. Lighting technology continues to make advancements day by day, and lighting fixtures now have precise aiming.

    They focus their light on the ground below, contributing to less infield glare, unwanted spill light, uplight, and general glare. Glare, spill light, and halo effect light are all forms of light pollution. Glare is the effect created by luminances in the visual field that highly exceed the luminance which the eyes are adapted to. Four major factors that contribute to glare are the position of the light sources, the amount of light fixtures in the area of view, the lighting sources' solid angle size, and the average luminance in the field of view.

    Dark Sky Compliant LED Lights

    Light sources that provide efficient uplighting that is precisely designed to prevent glare and spill light – which does not contribute to sky glow, a halo effect, or other undesirable lighting conditions – are very crucial in sports.

    In some instances, the illumination levels above the playing field are usually attenuated – to prevent glare and spill light – to the extent that playability is impacted. There may be insufficient illumination on parts of the field, the entire field, or above the playing field, making players unable to follow the activity on the field or the flight of the ball.

    To control glare and spill light, the redirection or attenuation of light must be done. This can prevent light from excessively illuminating the associated aerial space.

    The Light Quality

    Sports lighting is a type of wide-area lighting and must meet specific lighting requirements in order to follow the specifications that are often required for particular locations and applications. One of the things that largely determines the lighting requirements is the size and speed of the playing object.

    This is because it dictates the ability of the players to locate the object. For example, playing objects such as a tennis ball or a baseball are smaller-sized and move at a very high speed, compared to a soccer ball or a basketball.

    These balls are very hard to see in low or poor lighting conditions. The Illuminating Engineering Society of North America and other organizations that regulate lighting have developed sports field illumination uniformity and intensity minimums for different sports which are used for standardization purposes.

    When installing a lighting system in a baseball field, these standards must be met by the electricians doing the installation. A lighting designer can measure the illuminance over an area to determine uniformity. With the help of a computer program, they can choose the quantity and the type of lights to meet the values that are required for a field.

    Over the years, sports lighting has developed into a type of outdoor lighting, with characteristics like those of outdoor area lighting but unique to the requirements that are applicable when illuminating baseball fields.

    Two things that are very vital when it comes to the light quality are the illumination level as well as the uniformity of illuminance. However, for lighting to be cost-effective, these 2 factors must be combined with optimum performance at the lowest possible cost. In addition, both vertical and horizontal illuminances must be addressed, not just the illumination levels that are necessary for the best video camera operation.

    The design of the luminaires will depend on the placement of the lighting poles, the mounting height, and their aiming angles. Another desirable feature is the consistent overlap of the beam patterns as it makes the most of system performance and also cuts down costly engineering efforts that pertain to sports lighting systems.

    Our Goal Is Yours – Great Lighting & Energy Savings

    LED Baseball Stadium Lighting

    Any baseball field can be illuminated by efficient and long-lasting LED light fixtures – no matter the level of play. A photometric analysis can determine the lighting requirements of your baseball field and generate a report recommending the best optics and luminaires to ensure the field has the most accurate and even lighting.

    Talk to us today about your baseball field lighting project. We will help transform the space.

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