Selecting the Best LED Lighting for Different Types of Sports Venues



Several pro teams in the biggest sports in America (NHL, NBA, MLB, and NFL) have replaced outdated metal halide lamps with LED lighting in their arenas and stadiums. The new lighting has benefited players, their fans, and facility operations staff. Players enjoy playing under the bright, powerful lights, fans love the brilliant light shows, and the operations staff love the lighting’s unmatched controllability and low maintenance.






Each sporting activity has a main playing area where high-quality light led stadium light is vital for the players to focus on their game and safety. Quality light with minimal glare is also important for spectators and excellent TV broadcasting. Every sport usually has its own lighting requirements and the more advanced the level of competition, the more lux levels are needed. Venues with a lot of TV broadcasting also need high-quality light with high lux levels. The recording and transmission of sporting action has given many sports a lot of exposure.

The Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) has a guide on lighting levels for sports and recreational areas. The guide also covers other important considerations for sports lighting. We'll discuss some of them in this post.

Sports Lighting Requirements

Because sports are very different, their lighting requirements are also very different. Games with fast action, a long viewing distance, and a small playing object (like cricket) require high light levels. However, those with slower action, a closer viewing distance, and a bigger playing object (like football) require lower light levels.

While the IES has a guide on lighting specifications, there are many other guides that recommend the right illuminance levels for different types of sports. Most lighting recommendations for individual sports lighting levels are categorized into classes of play.

Class I: for top level competition

Class II: for intermediate level competition

Class III: for low level competition and supervised training

Most of the class I sports need a minimum of 500 lux. But high level competitions, like Premier League Football, need a minimum of 800 lux. FIFA requires its pitches to be lit with at least 1200 lux. This high amount of light allows broadcasting companies to offer viewers high-definition transmission.

Lighting designers usually have to work around camera platforms, scoreboards, speakers, and netting when installing lights in sports venues. Water, ice, snow, glass partitions, and polished floors can also pose more challenges as they reflect light.

When it comes to ground-level sports (where the players and the spectators don't look up –like boxing and ice hockey), lighting experts usually ensure the light is well distributed horizontally to prevent shadows. They use several light fixtures to dispense the light in a layered way.

 Unidirectional ground-level sports like skiing, archery, and target shooting need light to be directed at the target. When installing lighting fixtures in venues where these sports are conducted, lighting contractors usually aim the light at the targets and ensure it doesn't affect players and spectators.

Where sports are broadcast by television stations, lighting experts typically use a sweep aiming technique by focusing groups of fixtures on one side of the field to the opposite side to ensure the light is evenly distributed vertically. In very large stadiums where the distance between the players, spectators, and the cameras is huge, the lighting used is normally more powerful than what the players actually need.

LED Lighting for Specific Sports

Soccer

Recreational soccer is usually played in the evenings and good lighting ensures both players and spectators enjoy the game. The luxes required for soccer matches that are not broadcasted are usually lower than for broadcasted matches. But the light should be of high quality in terms of visual comfort, uniformity, and prevention of obtrusive light.

Tennis

When installing LED lights in a tennis court, good visibility should be your top priority. It will ensure that players can clearly see the ball, no matter its location or speed. The fans will also be able to follow the progress of the game.

Rugby

In a rugby field, the light should provide uniform illumination across the entire pitch. The ball should be clearly visible to the players and the light should not affect the players, the officials, or the fans.

Hockey

High lux levels are very important in a hockey pitch as the players are expected to quickly react to a small, fast-moving ball. This sport calls for even light distribution and a color temperature that's similar to daylight.

Golf

The lighting installed in golf courses must make the markers clearly visible to the players. The players must also be able to see the flight of the ball. The entire golf course must be well illuminated and the tee areas must be separately illuminated.

Athletics

Good lighting allows athletes to see everything going on in the training area or the competition so they can give their best possible performance. During a competition, high-quality lighting enables the judges, the officials, and the spectators to see what's going on and follow the performance of the athletes in the field. The spectators can also enter and exit the sports facility safely.

Softball and Baseball

These two fast sports need high levels of illumination so the flight and action of the ball can be followed. Since most of the action takes place in the regulation-sized infield, the place requires greater illuminance than the larger outfield.

Playing Court

Playing courts are usually designed for many sports. Electrical contractors who install lights in these courts must consider all the requirements of the different sports played. The light must be uniform and light pollution and glare must be minimized.

LED stadium lights use 40-75% less electricity and produce the same lumens as metal halide lamps. They can generate more light on the ground thanks to their optics and varied beam angles. LEDs also achieve full brightness immediately unlike HID lights which take time to warm up. They have a high color Rendering Index and provide clear distinction of color and objects, eliminating strobing. This is very important when sporting activities are being broadcast in high-definition quality.


Steer Clear of Obtrusive Light

Obtrusive light has 3 characteristics: glare, sky glow, and spill light. To avoid obtrusive light, lighting experts normally use specific beams and lighting fixture distributions to ensure the light goes where it is intended. Tall poles are very good for uniform illumination and reducing glare and off-site spill.

However, as towers become taller, the effective projected area (EPA), becomes more crucial. EPA is a term used in the lighting industry to indicate how much pressure a luminaire puts on the mounting brackets or lighting pole at a specific wind velocity.

The LED sports lights sold by My LED Lighting Guide have low EPAs and the highest performance per fixture, which means fewer fixtures are needed. In addition, our LED drivers can be mounted far from the light heads – as far as 100 feet away – which reduces the weight on the lighting poles.


Add Lighting Controls

Lighting controls have become so important they go hand in hand with LED technology. There are controls which can be remotely programmed and used off-site and some that can program schedules. LED dimming has also greatly advanced and some new generation LEDs can be dimmed without losing their color, producing uneven light, or flickering (which can affect TV broadcasting).

Some sports venues have retractable roofs that let in light during the day. However, these venues may need supplemental lighting in some instances, like when the weather is bad. Multipurpose stadiums and sports arenas that only broadcast a few matches may require different lighting levels or dimmable lights. The great thing about LEDs is that they can be dimmed and they will not flicker and will slowly diminish in light output over time. The same cannot be said for high pressure sodium or metal halide lamps.


In Conclusion

The excellent benefits of LED lighting have made the lights must-haves for both indoor and outdoor sports venues. The lights provide bright, uniform light and more lighting options than conventional light sources. The main reasons stadium owners and managers should adopt LED technology are energy savings (which translates to money saved) and reduced maintenance costs.


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