LED Sports Lighting Design

- Oct 21, 2019-

Tall poles are better for illumination uniformity and reduce off-site spill and glare.  Sometimes however local residents object to massive observation towers.  As towers get taller, the EPA (effective projected area) becomes more important as this is the force transferred to the poles and foundation by the lighting fixture as the wind blows.  Our LED Sports lighters and High-Mast fixtures have some of the industry’s lowest EPA’s and highest performance per fixture so, in many cases, less fixtures are required, less spare lights are needed for failures, and this can result in smaller poles and foundations.  Additionally, the Sports lighter LED drivers can be remotely mounted down pole as much as 100 feet away from the light head – further reducing weight and bulk in the air.


LED Sports Lighting Control & Specification

Lighting controls are becoming more important for sporting sites for many reasons.  Often there are owner controls which are remotely programmed and operated off-site.  Recent advances in LED dimming offer several advantages, including deep dimming without color shift or non-uniformity and no AC line flicker for cameras.  Some stadiums have retractable roofs that allow some light through but need supplemental lighting under certain circumstances – these can benefit from light level offset controls for ambient lighting compensation.  Dual sport arenas or those that might have only occasional TV filming may use different lighting levels and switch off or dim some lights.    LED lights can be short cycled and deeply dimmed without harming the fixtures or creating objectionable flicker– unlike metal halide or high pressure sodium lamps.  Realistic burn time numbers should be used when comparing older technologies to LEDs as MH lifetime is based on 5-hrs per start and HID life is 11 hrs on/1 hr off. Our LED engineers can assist in comparisons or LED justification calculations.


There are many important electrical factors to be considered by electrical system designers for sports lighting in large venues.  Typically the highest voltage is best for power distribution due to the lower current draw, which can allow lower gauge wires and reduced copper costs.  Legacy lighting systems are sensitive to input voltage so they must run near 5% of their nominal voltage rating or suffer diminished light output and possible color shifting.  In contrast, LED lighting can operate from a wide voltage input range typically from 95 to 265 VAC or from 300 to 500 VAC.  Often the electrical designer must work with an existing distribution method of 3-phase power, a higher voltage, or current in-rush limitations.