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Everything to know about Sports Stadium Lighting Design

With the rise of sports events, various sports events are held around the world every year, every month, and even every day. People’s demand for sports lighting is also increasing, and the accompanying requirements are getting higher and higher.

For modern sports stadiums, we not only want them to be beautiful and well-equipped, but also to have a good lighting environment. For example, reasonable and uniform illumination, scientific lighting color temperature, and elimination of glare.

In addition to ensuring that sports participants (including athletes and referees) can perform at their best and avoid unnecessary safety incidents, it is also important to ensure a good viewing experience for the audience. More importantly, a qualified sports stadium lighting design must meet the lighting effects required for various TV broadcasts and live broadcasts.

What is sports stadium lighting?

Sports stadium lighting is the lighting system used in sports facilities like stadiums, arenas, and gymnasiums to provide adequate illumination for sports events. The lighting is designed to meet the needs of different sports, ensure the safety of athletes and spectators, and meet the requirements of television broadcasts. Sports stadium lighting plays a crucial role in enabling athletes to perform at their best and creating an enjoyable viewing experience for spectators. It typically involves a combination of overhead and perimeter lighting, as well as specialized lighting systems for events such as track and field competitions, soccer matches, and basketball games.

Classification of sports stadium lighting functions.

When designing lighting for sports stadiums, the first thing we need to understand is the lighting classification. The international standard classification for sports stadiums is as follows:

Sports venues are categorized based on their functionality
LevelFunctionTelevision Broadcast Requirements
ITraining and entertainment activitiesNo television broadcast available
IIAmateur competitions, professional training
IIIProfessional competitions
IVTV broadcasting of national and international competitionsTelevision broadcast is available
VTV broadcasting of major international competitions
VIHDTV broadcasting of major international competitions
TV emergency broadcast
Note: HDTV stands for High-Definition Television.

When the broadcasting requirements are not clear, it is important to at least determine whether broadcasting is needed or not, as this will directly impact the choice of lighting fixtures and the way they are positioned.

Let’s first discuss the situation where broadcasting is not needed:

When broadcasting is not required, there is usually no requirement for vertical illuminance. The following diagram illustrates the relationship between the direction of light and the direction of illuminance.

Key factors in the lighting design of modern sports stadiums.

  1. Whether the lighting can fully meet the visual requirements of the sports participants, such as athletes and referees. At the same time, whether the negative effects of lighting on sports participants, such as excess illuminance and glare, are minimized.
  2. Whether the lighting system can meet the visual requirements for audience appreciation, allowing the process of the competition to be fully presented, including the expressions, costumes, props, etc. of the athletes. Additionally, we also require that the negative effects of lighting on the audience are minimized.
  3. In addition, for some sports events, there may be very few people watching the competition on-site. Therefore, the lighting system also needs to meet the lighting requirements for television broadcasts and live streams, to enhance the video quality.

Common lighting arrangements for sports stadium

Generally speaking, for the side lighting design in sports field lighting, we often use floodlights with a beam shape of fan B or C, as these types of floodlights have a high utilization coefficient. The following calculation methods can be used to calculate the number of lighting fixtures required per unit area and the illuminance that can be provided by a single lighting fixture:

1.Lighting layout 1: Four-tower lighting

The key to this lighting layout is the selection of the positions of the four corner light towers. Usually, we will choose the position where the light tower intersects with the extended line of the midfield line and the sideline at an angle of 15 degrees, and the position where the light tower intersects with the extended line of the center line and the sideline at an angle of 5 degrees. It is also best to set the light towers on the diagonals of the field and install floodlights on the four high towers.

2.Hybrid lighting layout

1)This lighting method combines the belt-style and tower-style lighting methods together in an organic way. It is generally a better lighting layout for large-scale comprehensive sports fields.

2)With a hybrid layout, the projection angle and directional arrangement of the light towers can be flexibly adjusted, the length of the light belt can be appropriately shortened, and the height of the light belt can also be appropriately reduced.

Quality control requirements for sports stadium lighting.

1. Glare control

According to the CIE NO.83 publication “Sports Lighting for Colour Television Systems”, the maximum glare rating index GRmax in the field should be less than 50. The smaller the rated glare value GR, the better the glare control.

2. Light source color temperature and color rendering standards.

To achieve better viewing and television broadcast effects, the color rendering index Ra of general light sources used for television broadcast should not be less than 65. In addition, the light source color temperature Tc should be >5000K and the color rendering index should be ≥ 80. This means that in sports venue lighting design, the light source color temperature should be higher than 5000K and the color temperature should be at least Ra>65.

3. Directionality of lighting

As mentioned earlier, the control of glare is closely related to the directionality of the lighting fixtures. However, the tilt angle of the fixtures can also change the vertical illuminance. Therefore, in sports stadium lighting design, it is important to control the direction of the lighting fixtures. In addition, the ratio of the main camera to the light coming from the other side should be controlled within a certain range, with emphasis on the central area of the field where the action takes place.

4. energy conservation and environmental protection

Sports stadium lighting falls under commercial electricity usage, and the overall power consumption of the venue is very high. For energy conservation, lighting design companies can develop reasonable lighting plans, choose efficient lighting fixtures, reduce line losses, and design well-functioning lighting control systems.

In selecting efficient lighting fixtures, we should also establish a variety of switch modes and corresponding control plans to flexibly adjust lighting for different sports events.

Encore Lighting provide the most comprehensive lighting project solutions for outdoor led lights.

Encore Lighting has helped hundreds of clients worldwide to complete large-scale sports venue lighting projects. We have a strong team of designers, developers, and after-sales personnel to provide the best solutions according to your needs.

We have industry-leading, high-quality LED fixtures, including outdoor lighting, floodlights, high bays, indoor recessed lights, spotlights, and track lights.

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