What level is sport lighting?

Lighting levels are measured with a light or lux meter. Results are expressed in lux (lumens/m²) or footcandles (lumens/ft²). Light intensity refers to the energy of visible light received per unit area, referred to as illuminance.

Key parameters for evaluating sports lighting

When evaluating sports lighting levels, each lamp has a different current draw, efficiency, color rendering index, color temperature, and most importantly, beam pattern. The IES file contains the beam pattern of the fixture to be used, in a format that allows the designer to plan the position of the pole, the height of the pole and the angle of the fixture to achieve uniform illumination at a specific lux level. Once an engineer knows the standard or ideal he is trying to achieve, he can achieve the end result with great accuracy.

Stadium lighting

International Standards and Guidelines

These standards are set by governing bodies, sports associations, local governments and other interested parties. Nearly every country, and sometimes state, has its own regulations and recommendations regarding lighting levels in sports, but many of them are guided by associations and federations. Each sport is individually evaluated by professionals, and minor tweaks and changes are made to differentiate them from each other. Factors that influence include ball size, speed of play, field size and distance from spectators. If playback requires televised-standard or Non-televised-standar,this will also have a big impact on lighting levels and the required clarity.

Another point to mention is the CRI or Color Rendering Index. “The color rendering index (CRI) is a quantitative measure of the ability of a light source to faithfully reveal the color of various objects compared to an ideal or natural light source. Light sources with a high CRI are ideal in applications where color is critical, Simply put: “how much detail can we see”. If you’re working on something that moves quickly or is very detailed, it’s important to have a very high CRI.

Below, we have tried to summarize the illumination levels required for some of the most common sports, based on the three most common types of use (excluding televised professional games):

  • Class 1 – High level competitions involving national and international competitions. The stadium is large so the spectators are some distance away from the action.
  • Class 2 – Intermediate covering area clubs. Viewing may be a little closer than Class 1, with smaller crowds. This may also be an appropriate level for Level 1 training.
  • Class 3 – Local competition and entertainment use, without stands and spectators very close to the venue. This may also be a suitable level for level 2 training.

Lux Levels Required

Sport Type Class 1 Class 2 Class 3
Football (Soccer) 500 200 75
Rugby 500 200 75
Tennis - outdoor 500 300 200
Tennis - indoor 750 500 300
Baseball 750 500 200
Hockey 500 250 200
Athletics 500 200 100
Golf 100
Playing court 500 200 75
Swimming pool 500 300 200
Multi-purpose sports hall 750 500 200
Ice Hockey Rink 750 500 300
Badminton/Squash 750 500 300
Alpine skiing 100 30 20
Horse racing 200 100 50