Many professional teams from the most important sports in the United States (such as the NHL, NBA, MLB and NFL) changed all their lighting based on metal halogen lamps to LED lighting on their courts and stadiums .
The new lighting benefited not only the players but also their audience and maintenance managers. Players enjoy gaming under bright, strong lighting, fans love bright, powerful lighting shows, and operations staff love less maintenance and lighting control that LED lighting allows .
Each sport has a main playing area where the level and quality of stadium lighting is vital for players to safely focus on the game. Quality lighting with minimal reflection is also important for viewers and for excellent broadcasting on TV. Generally, each sport has its own light requirements and the more advanced the level of competition, the more levels of lux are needed.
Spaces with a lot of broadcasting through TV also need a high quality of lighting with high lux levels. Recording and broadcasting matches has given him a lot of exposure in recent times.
The Society of Lighting Engineers offers guidance on recommended lighting levels for sports and recreation areas. The guide also covers other important considerations for sports lighting. We are going to discuss some of them in this post.
Sports Lighting Requirements
Since sports are very different, their lighting requirements are too. Fast action games with far viewing distance and small in-game objects (such as hockey) require high lighting levels. However, those with slower action, a closer viewing distance, and a larger in-game object (like a football) need lower lighting levels.
While the Society of Lighting Engineers has a guide that includes general lighting specifications, there are other guides that recommend appropriate lighting levels for different types of sports. Most lighting level recommendations for individual sports are divided into classes based on level of competition.
- Class I: high level of competence
- Class II: intermediate proficiency level
- Class III: low level of competition with supervised training
Most Class I sports require a minimum of 500 lux. But high-level competitions, such as the Premier Soccer League, need a minimum of 800 lux. FIFA requires that its pitches be lit with at least 1200 lux. High-level lighting allows broadcasters to offer high-definition (HD) transmission.
Lighting designers often have to work surrounded by camera rigs, scoreboards, journalists and networks when installing lighting in sports arenas. Water, ice, snow, glass partitions and polished floors become a great challenge since they generate reflections in the lighting.
When it comes to sports played at ground level where players and spectators do not look up (such as boxing or hockey), lighting experts ensure a good horizontal distribution of lighting to avoid shadows. They use a variety of light fixtures to arrange light in a level area.
Sports that take place at ground level but are unidirectional such as skiing, bow and arrow and target shooting require lighting to be directed at the target. When lighting fixtures are installed in venues where these sports are played, lighting specialists direct the light onto the targets, ensuring that neither the players nor the public are affected.
When sports are televised, lighting experts use a special technique to focus groups of fixtures from one side of the playing field to the other to ensure that the light is well distributed vertically. In many large stadiums where the distance between the players, the public and the cameras is important, the lighting used is generally more powerful than what the players need.
Led lighting for specific sports
Recreational soccer is generally practiced in the evenings and good lighting ensures both players and the public enjoy the game. The lux required for football that is not televised is normally less than that required for football that is televised. However, the lighting must be of a high quality in terms of visual comfort, uniformity and the prevention of disturbing light.
When installing led lighting on a tennis court, the number 1 priority is good visibility. This ensures players a good visibility of the ball, no matter where they are located or the speed of the game. The public will also be able to follow the progress of the match.
On a rugby pitch, lighting should provide uniform illumination across the entire pitch. The ball needs to be clearly visible to the players and the light must not affect the players, officials or the public.
On a hockey arena having high lux levels is very important as players are expected to react quickly to fast moving balls. This sport requires adequate light distribution and a color temperature similar to cold .
Lighting installed on golf courses must provide clear visibility of the markers to the players. Players must also be able to see the ball travel. The entire golf course must be well lit and the tree covered areas must be lit separately from the rest.
Good lighting allows athletes to see any situation that is occurring in the training area or in competition; In this way they can have a good performance. During competition, high quality lighting allows judges, referees and the public to see what is happening and to follow the performance of the athletes on the playing field. The public can also enter and leave the sports facilities with more security.
Softball and Baseball
These 2 fast-paced sports need high lighting levels so that the movement and action of the ball can be followed. Since most of the action takes place in one part of the playing field, this specific place needs more lighting than the rest of the field.
Stadiums with LED lighting use between 40-75% less electricity and produce the same lumens as metal halogen lamps. LED lighting can generate more lighting on the floor thanks to its optics and variety of light angles . LED fixtures also immediately achieve higher brightness unlike HID lighting, which takes time to warm up. These have a high CRI (color rendering index) and provide clear distinction of objects and colors, eliminating flicker. This is very important when sports are broadcast on quality High Definition (HD) television.
Avoid annoying light
Nuisance lighting has 3 characteristics: reflection, glare, and diffuse light. To avoid this light, lighting experts generally use specific lights and a proper layout of lighting fixtures to ensure that the light is directed where it belongs. Tall poles are good for even lighting and reduce glare and out-of-focus lights.
However, as the towers get taller, the effective projected area becomes more crucial. (EPA). This term is used in the lighting industry to indicate how much pressure a luminaire puts on the mounting tower or lighting pole at a specific wind speed.
The LED lighting for sports that we sell at AIKO Lighting have a high performance per artifact. Before each project that is presented, our specialists carry out a very detailed analysis regarding the lighting needs, offering the best solution at the lowest possible cost.
Add Lighting Controls
Lighting controls have become very important and are advancing with technology. There are controls that can be programmed remotely, used without having to be in the space in question and some can program work schemes. LED dimmers have also made progress and some newer generations of LEDs can be dimmed without losing color, producing uneven lighting or flickering. (what affects broadcasting via TV)
Some sports have retractable roofs that allow them to be illuminated during the day. However, these areas might need additional lighting in some instances, such as when the weather is not good. Multi-purpose stadiums and sports arenas that only televise a few games may require different lighting levels or dimmable lighting. The most important thing about LEDs is that they can be dimmed and will not flicker, and the light output will slowly decrease over time. The same cannot be said when we talk about lighting with high-pressure sodium or metal halogen lamps.
The great benefits of LED lighting have made it an undisputed must both for sports fields that take place indoors and outdoors. LED lighting provides brightness, uniform light, and more lighting options than conventional light sources. The main reason why stadium owners or managers should adopt LED technology is energy cost savings (which directly implies money savings) and reduced maintenance costs.