How Do Sports Lights Differ From Conventional Lights?

How do sports lighting systems differ from conventional lighting products? What makes a light suitable for service as a sports light? How do the lights in the gym differ from those in the hallway? We’ll cover the major differences between sports lights and conventional lighting systems.


Sports lighting is much brighter than conventional lighting. For example, LED lighting in football stadiums has make the game play as visible as if people were playing in daylight conditions. Shadows and dark spots aren’t tolerated. Dark areas can hide trip hazards or lead to mistakes that get players hurt. Variations in lighting levels will affect game play, too, and that’s unacceptable to everyone involved. You need a uniform, bright light. This results in most sports lights being offered in a wide range of beam angles.


Bright light doesn’t mean you can see what’s going on across the field, since glare can interfere with visibility and game play. That’s why sports lights are low-glare lights. This can be further improved with acrylic optic lenses beneath the lights.

And while you want the lights as bright as daylight, sports lights generally have several levels so that you can have the right light level without being harsh. After all, you don’t want spectators or players getting headaches from the bright lights.

A side of most glare control mechanisms is that they minimize light pollution. Light is directed down at the field, so spectators don’t get hit by the glare and the surrounding neighborhood doesn’t have daylight bright light shining in their windows while the kids play.


Sports lighting companies make products that survive much more challenging situations than the average outdoor light. It is common for sports lights to sit in protective housings so that players aren’t showered with plastic or glass if something hits the light fixture. The most commonly available form is shoebox lights.

The durability of the lights is separate from the low maintenance requirements of most designs. Modern LED sports lights can last up to 50,000 hours. That dramatically reduces the need to replace burned out light bulbs, something that can create uneven lighting in game play.

Energy Efficiency

All lights are more energy efficient than they used to be. However, sports lights are asked to be equally energy efficient while producing much brighter light. They have to generate more foot candles per bulb than conventional lights and often for the same amount of electricity.

Note that LED sports lights are capable of producing bright light with less electricity and far less waste heat production than traditional sports lights. And the same sports lights you use on the football field are generally interchangeable with basketball court lights and baseball field lights. You could light up a tennis court or arena with the same lights.


We’ve mentioned that sports lights are often designed to not shatter into sharp little pieces if they are struck by a ball. Since sports lights are often used to light public events, especially those involving children, safety remains paramount. The industry is removing metal halide lamps full of mercury and replacing them with environmentally friendly LED lights for this reason. A side benefit of this is that these lights don’t emit ultraviolet light that can cause sunburns or retinal damage.