Football Field Sports Lighting

Tasks of sports lighting of the playing field

The most popular spectacle in the world today is the game of football. Television has played a significant role in such popularity of this sport.

Football matches are held in the evening, when stadiums gather a large number of fans, and in order to carry out high-quality television broadcasting, it is necessary to prepare the most optimal artificial sports lighting for a given time of day.

When preparing stadium lighting, the following factors must be taken into account: the lighting of the players and spectators must be without obstruction to vision, it is necessary to create such conditions that there is no blinding of either the players or the spectators. The fields where people play in their free time, the time for rest, where there is no need for television broadcasts, also need lighting. The level of lighting in this case will be worse than in TV broadcasts, but the quality of sports lighting must still meet the following requirements: uniformity of lighting, visual comfort, a minimum degree of “light pollution”, especially in residential areas.

Football field artificial lighting must cope with the following task – to provide excellent visibility for all participants in the stadium, it must be comfortable for all participants in this event, both players and spectators. Stadium lighting standards are based on the requirements of the following categories of observers: officials, referees and players. Sports lighting should be such as to allow all participants in the match to express themselves to the maximum. Spectators at the stadium from the stands need to see everything that happens on the football field, and that this condition is feasible even from the very last seats in the stands. For photographers and cameramen, the artificial lighting of a football field should allow them to get the best quality picture.

The audience watching the game remotely, i.e. from the TV screen, should get a high-quality image.

An important role for advertisers is played by accurate color reproduction, which contributes to the rapid recognition of the brand.

Categories of sports competitions

Five classes of stadium lighting systems have been defined : from I to V. They are in turn grouped into two categories: competitions with broadcast on color television, and competitions and training without broadcast on television.

Filming with TV cameras requires more light than is needed by the athletes on the field or spectators at the edge of the field.

At large viewing distances, the apparent angular size of the ball becomes very small. Thus, the lighting needs of spectators who are far from the field are almost the same as those of television cameras.

When holding competitions without television broadcasts, it is necessary to provide acceptable visibility conditions for players in the field and observers at the sidelines of the field. 

Television competitions

  • Class V– International Broadcasts
  • Class IV– National Broadcasts

Competitions not broadcast on television

  • Class III– National competitions
  • Class II– League and Club Championships
  • Class I– Training and Recreational Activities

Placement of lighting poles

Margin sizes

In accordance with the rules, a football field can have dimensions ranging from 105 m to 110 m in length, and from 68 m to 75 m in width.

Zones without obstacles

To ensure the safety of the players, lighting poles must not be placed within a 5 m wide area around the perimeter of the playing field.

Overview of the field without obstacles

In the event that the stands for fans are made in the form of structures with an increase in the height of the rows or at a level with the field,lighting poles must be located outside the field and be out of sight of spectators. Therefore, in order for the lighting structures to be behind the fans, it is necessary to increase the height of the lighting poles.

The following lighting parameters of lighting installations are recommended to be provided during competitions, for which it is necessary to carry out maintenance of lighting devices during the entire service life.

Types of sports facilities

Numerous sports facilities are divided into two groups, which differ in the level of competitions held and the requirements for artificial lighting, namely: sports facilities with television broadcasts and facilities without television broadcasts.

The main purpose of sports lighting is to create excellent visibility for all participants in a sporting event.

But lighting should not be an inconvenience for people living near stadiums.

Below we provide guidelines that will help you when designing new stadiums and renovating existing stadiums.

Stadium lighting without televised coverage

The following events may be held at sports facilities not intended for television broadcasts:

  • Class III– National Championship Games
  • Class II– Minor league and club games
  • Class I– Training and Recreation

As a rule, sports facilities for competitions without TV broadcasts are located in residential areas and have a small number of seats for spectators.

When designing artificial lighting for such sports grounds, it is necessary to ensure uniform illumination of the horizontal surface of the field, regardless of the layout of the floodlight supports .  

Corner placement of lighting poles

Floodlight masts must be located in permitted areas relative to the field of play and outside the field of view of the players in standard game situations.

Placement of floodlight masts

The boundaries of the permitted areas are defined by straight lines drawn at an angle of 10° to the goal line and at an angle of 5° to the touchline.

Uniform light field


To create uniform illumination, it is necessary that the floodlights installed on the floodlight mast can illuminate the quadrant of the field closest to this mast.

Determining the height of floodlight masts

The height of the floodlight mast can be defined as the height at which the angle between the direction from the center of the field to the bottom row of floodlights in the floodlight array and the horizontal is at least 25°.

Placement of lighting poles along the sideline of the football field


Determining the height of floodlight masts

The height of floodlight masts can be defined as the height at which the angle between the direction to the lower floodlight from the longitudinal axis of the field and the horizontal is at least 25°. (Hm=dxtgα)

It is not recommended to use masts below 15 meters, as this leads to increased visual discomfort.

Placing floodlight masts along the sideline of the field allows the use of lower masts than corner placement.

The most common are schemes using four, six and eight floodlight masts.

The four-mast side layout is an alternative to the corner layout, with the masts usually located immediately behind the stands. The amount of scattered light in this scheme is somewhat greater than in schemes with six and eight masts.

Six and eight mast schemes are used to reduce the amount of scattered light and, at the same time, to reduce the height of the floodlight masts.

Permitted Locations of


Floodlight Masts Floodlight masts must be located outside the 10° zone on each side of the goal line, which gives the goalkeeper good visibility in the direction of the corner flag.

For more information, please contact us.


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