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Organizations across the globe are upgrading their sports lighting to LEDs, and LEDs are becoming the new norm in sports and stadium lighting.

LED Sports Lighting for Schools, Universities, & Municipalities

Untitled (800 × 600 px)Facility managers at schools, municipalities, and sports clubs are faced with a variety of challenges. Maintaining several properties, operating on a paper thin budget, and having enough time to get to each task are just a few.

While LED sports field lighting might not solve all of your problems, it will go a long way towards improving your sports facilities, reducing your energy consumption and spend, and cutting considerable amounts of time and money from your maintenance budget. Below are just a few organizations who recently updated their sports field, stadium, or court lighting:

Recent LED Sports Lighting Projects:

  • The City Council in Newport, RI just approved a $343,000 contract with Cooper Lighting to replace the stadium sports lighting in Freebody Park
  • The City Council in Banning, CA just approved a $754,462.50 to replace their 40 year old lights with 118 LED light fixtures on the three sports fields in Lion's Park. This particular park is mainly used for Youth & Adult Baseball games, which attract 300+ fans per game. The city will use a partial state grant to fund the project.
  • At the beginning of March 2022, construction began on the Culpeper Sports Complex in Culpeper, VA to upgrade their stadium lights to LEDs. The new LEDs lights will illuminate 5 baseball fields, 2 softball fields, 3 football and 4 soccer fields, allowing teams to now play and practice when the sun goes down.

sports-parks-recreation--2400x1350 (1)-1LED lights are becoming the norm for sports fields, courts, and stadiums across the country. Better lighting performance brings improved safety and allows for a better, brighter game for both the players and fans. Furthermore, installing LEDs will help reduce maintenance and energy costs. Let's dive deeper into some of the advantages of LED sports lighting to better understand why they're becoming the norm for schools, universities, and municipalities everywhere. 

Higher Quality Lighting Performance

CRI is a measurement of a light’s ability to reveal the actual color of objects as compared to an ideal light source (natural light). With LED lighting, it is rare for the CRI (color rendering index) to be below 70. Compare this to HPS, whose score is less than 30.

So what does this mean for the playing field? LED lights with higher CRI make everything appear sharper and brighter. The players on the field have a better experience because they can see the ball better, and the fans in the stands can see the game better. Colors appear as they should and are not discolored by the light source itself.

One of the biggest advantages for LED sports field lighting is dimming (or in this case, “brightening”) and instant on and off.

Consider these two scenarios:

  • Scenario 1: Your sports field is equipped with 1,000 watt metal halide lamps. The high school football team is taking on their district rival on a Friday night. It’s early fall so the sun isn’t setting too early yet but it will be down by the second quarter. To get the HID lamps fully warmed up, you’ll need to turn them on well before the game starts, and once they are on, they’ll be at full blast the entire time, even when the sun is still shining.

  • Scenario 2: Same situation as above, but this time you don’t need to turn your lights on until game time because LED lighting has no warm up time. Additionally, once the lights are on, you can program them to gradually get brighter as the sky gets darker, saving as much energy as possible.

The preferred choice is clear. Not only do metal halide lights use more energy to operate and have a much shorter lifespan than LED, but you’re inevitably going to have to run them more often and for longer periods of time.

Reduced Maintenance Costs

A lot of facility managers are concerned about the ongoing cost of maintaining their current metal halide or high pressure sodium lighting. Lasting around 20,000 hours, and in many cases much less, getting rid of this maintenance burden becomes a major reason they are looking to replace old field lights with LED.

But let’s look at the behavior of a metal halide light over its lifetime. A metal halide suffers significant lumen degradation quickly. It is not uncommon for a metal halide to lose half of its initial lumens within the first 7,500 hours of life or half-life of the bulb. So even though the lights are still “on," the lighting on the field is dim and should be replaced. This makes maintaining sports field lighting a chore. And it’s not cheap! These fixtures are mounted high, as much as 100 feet in the air, so bringing in equipment and man power is an expensive proposition.

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Reduction in Energy

LEDs bring a big reduction in energy usage. We've compiled tangible numbers to help you decide if LED lights are right for you.

Let’s say you have 32 fixtures on a small football or soccer field that you run 100 days a year for six hours at a time. Your cost of electricity is .12 kw/h. Savings for these lights would be $5,100.00 per year. Of course, if your hours of use or cost of electricity are higher, the amount of savings would increase. If you would like to get a better sense of your actual savings and return on investment, take a look at our ROI Calculator.


LED lights are becoming increasingly popular in the sports industry and professional sports teams are no longer the only ones who can benefit from all the advantages of LED lights. Not yet convinced? Explore more sports lighting articles and topics here, or, if you're ready to chat, tell us about your project below:

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