LED Basketball court lighting design and cost guide

basketball court lighting

LED lighting for basketball courts has overtaken traditional HID lighting systems (for ex. metal halide) thanks to the various benefits the new technology offers. The quality and uniformity of lighting improve the playing and viewing experience for players and spectators alike. The energy efficiency and cost savings that LED basketball court lighting offers make it a no-brainer for any sports facility operator planning to install new lights or retrofit an existing system with LEDs. 

In this article, we will explain what you should take into consideration when designing a LED lighting system for your basketball court. You will also learn how to evaluate the costs of a new installation or LED retrofit project. 

You can also jump to our basketball court lighting cost calculator if you just want to get a cost estimate for your project.

What type of lighting systems are used at basketball courts?

These days, when choosing a lighting system for your basketball court, you have 2 options:

  1. LED systems
  2. HID systems

However, there is only one natural choice for a facility to be truly modern: LED lighting systems. High-Intensity Discharge (HID) systems are far less energy efficient than their LED counterparts. HIDs consume copious amounts of electricity to light the same areas as LEDs.

Also, LEDs’ lifespan and maintenance costs are far superior to HIDs. The average HID only lasts 10,000 – 20,000 hours. An LED fixture can last up to 50,000 hours (with many rated over 100,000!)

The long-term benefits of LEDs far outweigh the increased upfront costs of purchasing and installation.

Pro tip: choose a lighting system that gives you and your team complete remote control. This will help you set timers, schedules and reduce unnecessary energy consumption!

indoor basketball court lighting fixtures
LED basketball court lighting fixtures hung from the gymnasium ceiling (Photo credit: Sportsbeams Lighting)

Basketball court light fixture considerations

Any knowledgeable sports lighting supplier will be able to provide you with the most suitable basketball court light fixtures. However, it is still important for you to understand the different types and options so that you can be sure about making the right choice.

Basketball court floodlights

One common type of light fixture used at basketball courts is the floodlight. It can be mounted on a lighting pole or hung from the ceiling and it provides uniform illumination for the whole court. The lighting installer will calibrate and angle the fixtures for your court to minimize glare and light spill.

High-bay (UFO) light fixture for basketball courts

High-bay light fixtures are probably the most common type of LED luminaires used at indoor basketball courts. They are hung from the ceiling approx. 20-30 feet high to ensure an ideal uniformity of light on the court. These fixtures can be also used to highlight specific areas of the court where most of the action happens.

High-bay linear light fixtures

Similar to the UFO high-bay light fixtures, the linear LED luminaires are mounted on the ceiling. Compared to the ufo fixtures, the linear LEDs have a wider beam angle which provides uniform illumination for your court, as long. as enough lumen output is guaranteed, but it cannot be focused on specific spots on the court, the way a ufo high-bay light fixture can. 

Choosing the right basketball court light fixtures ultimately comes down to three things:

  • the competition level of your basketball facility
  • court size
  • height of the ceiling
basketball court lighting design

Basketball court lighting design factors

Now that you understand the basics of basketball court lighting, it’s time to think about how your basketball court layout and design affect the overall costs.

There are a few things to consider when designing your court:

  • How many courts do you have?
  • Will your courts be full-size or half-size?
  • What is the height of the ceiling if your lighting will be indoors?
  • What is the surrounding area for your outdoor court?
  • What is your competition level?

Your layout, design, and fixture choice will be unique depending on your answers to the above. The number of lumens you need, the number of poles and fixtures, and the overall brightness of your court will vary greatly depending on your specific needs. In the end the more luminance you need for your basketball court the more the lighting system will cost to install and operate. 

You can use our handy calculator to estimate how many lumens you’ll need for your project.

Remember: the more courts you have, and the bigger they are, the more lumens you’ll need. If you’re lighting an outdoor court, make sure to consider the surrounding area and choose a fixture with a wide beam angle.

Basketball court lighting requirements & standards

Lighting requirements and standards for basketball courts vary between associations and competition levels. Illumination level is measured normally in lux (metric system) or footcandles (imperial).

The international basketball federation (FIBA) has established three classes for lighting levels to be used for games:

  • Class I:
    • 150 footcandles: International basketball games and televised events
  • Class II:
    • 50-75 footcandles: National and regional basketball games
  • Class III:
    • 20-30 footcandles: Recreational and training level
The NCAA, on the other hand, states that for standard intercollegiate play, the required lighting level is 80 footcandles. In the next section, you can find the recommended lighting levels, standards, and requirements for indoor and outdoor basketball courts on training, recreational, high school, and college levels.

Indoor basketball court lighting requirements

The required illuminance level for an indoor basketball court depends on the competition level of the main users of the court. As a rule of thumb the higher the competition level the more output and uniformity of lighting are required to ensure the safety of the players and the viewing experience of the spectators and TV audience. Typically the temperature of the light remains the same on every level (neutral white light). The color rendering index (CRI) also has to be higher on the professional level, mainly due to TV broadcast requirements.

Recommended indoor basketball court lighting requirements Lighting level Uniformity Temperature CRI
International competition
100-200 fc.
min. 0.7
4000 K
College / Pro level
75 fc.
min. 0.7
4000 K
High School level
30 fc.
min. 0.7
4000 K
Training & Recreation
20 fc.
min. 0.5
4000 K

Indoor basketball court lighting layout & arrangement

Indoor basketball court lights layout: 4 x 6
indoor basketball court lighting layout 4 x 6
Indoor basketball court lights layout: 3 x 8
indoor basketball court lighting layout 3 x 8
  • Type of lighting fixtures: High-bay LED lighting fixtures hung from the ceiling
  • Recommended ceiling/lighting fixture height: 23 feet
  • Wattage: 150-200 watts per fixture
  • Number of lighting fixtures: 24 either in 3 or 4 rows

Outdoor basketball court lighting requirements

The required illuminance level for an outdoor basketball court is lower than for indoor courts. Again, the required footcandle level depends on the level of competition. 

Recommended outdoor basketball court lighting requirements Lighting level Uniformity Temperature CRI
College / Pro level
50 fc.
min. 0.7
4000 K
High School level
20 fc.
min. 0.6
4000 K
Training & Recreation
10 fc.
min. 0.5
4000 K

Outdoor basketball court lighting layout & arrangement

Outdoor basketball court lights layout: 4 poles
outdoor basketball court lighting layout 4 poles
Outdoor basketball court lights layout: 6 poles
outdoor basketball court lighting layout 6 poles
  • Type of lighting fixtures: LED lighting fixtures mounted on lighting poles
  • Recommended lighting pole height: 23 feet
  • Number of lighting poles: either 4 or 6
  • Wattage: 150-400 watts per fixture
  • Number of lighting fixtures: 4 or 6

At first sight, the cost of lighting your basketball court might seem expensive. Depending on your budget and the level of competition, adding lights can seem like a luxurious upgrade. But when you consider the long-term benefits of installing LED lighting fixtures at your court, the cost becomes more reasonable.

The average cost of LED basketball court lighting

For most basketball court lighting projects, you can expect a price range of around $22,000 to $188,000. We know that’s a significant price gap. So what goes into pricing a basketball court lighting project?

Use our basketball court lighting cost calculator to get a customized cost estimate for your project.

1 – Competition level 

The first factor to consider when pricing your project is the level of competition your facility will host. If you’re a community recreational center, your needs will differ significantly from that of a top-tier collegiate court. Athletic organizations and school districts will have different requirements for illumination. It’s vital to adhere to these rules, so your project is compliant and safe.

2 – Size and number of the courts

Consider the size of your basketball court when pricing a lighting project. Do you have full-size courts or half courts? Courts that are larger in surface area will require more fixtures and incur a higher price tag. The same goes for multi-court facilities. If you need to light more than one court, your costs will increase with each additional surface.

3 – Fixture origin and quality 

The quality of the LED fixtures you choose is essential for the look of your court and the level of competition you’ll be hosting. Cheap LED fixtures might not be as bright as their more expensive counterparts. Sourcing your fixtures from overseas is a great way to save money. However, you’ll want to choose a reputable supplier with excellent support. Working with a sports venue lighting professional will help ensure you get everything you need for your project.

basketball court lighting standards and requirements

Cost of a LED lighting retrofit for a basketball court

If your basketball facility already has lighting fixtures installed, you may be able to retrofit the existing lighting system with more efficient LEDs. This option can be more affordable and completed in a shorter time frame.

You can expect to pay between $16,400 to $108,000 for a finished facility for most LED conversion projects.

When you don’t need to purchase all-new fixtures and equipment, the cost of a project goes down. Often, you can use the same wiring and infrastructure. Consult with LED sports lighting professionals to determine if your setup is eligible for conversion. If so, you have two options:

  1. Replace HID lighting fixtures with LED fixtures
  2. Retrofit LED lamps into existing lighting fixtures

Converting an existing lighting solution is a great way to save money while reaping the benefits of modern LEDs.

If you are in the process of planning to change your existing HID lighting system to LED technology, try our LED retrofit cost calculator for basketball court lights. Type in your project specs and yo uwill receive a customized cost estimate in a matter of minutes.

How much does an LED basketball court lighting system cost to operate?

Once you’ve decided on how to install your lights, you need to create a plan and budget for maintenance and operation. The operating costs of a basketball court LED lighting system can be calculated from a fairly simple equation:

Electricity cost (kwh) x wattage needed x hours of use

On average, LED lighting for basketball courts costs between $150 and $600 to run per year assuming the lights are on four hours per day. Obviously cost of electricity fluctuates and varies between states. If you want to get more granular, that comes out to:

  • $0,40 – $1,50 per day
  • $2,80 – $10,50 per week
  • $12,60 – $45,00 per month

The price range depends on the level of competition at your facility. The higher the competition, the higher cost to maintain. The sports facility lighting world has specific classes to help you understand which tier your venue will be:

  1. Class 1: pro and college level – the highest quality lighting is needed for TV broadcasts and large crowds of over 5,000 people
  2. Class 2: high schools and sports clubs – mid-level quality needed for crowds of under 5,000 spectators
  3. Class 3: training and recreational clubs – lighting is needed only for the players.

It’s crucial to understand that the more light you need (for larger crowds, areas, and the number of courts) will significantly impact the operational costs. Also, consider the price of electricity in your area. While LEDs are more efficient than older technologies, it’s still essential to crunch the numbers to ensure your facility is cost-effective.

Basketball LED lighting operating costs Class I Class II Class III
Foot candle / Lux required
75 fc. / 750 lux.
50 fc. / 500 lux.
20 fc. / 200 lux.
Lumens needed
Wattage needed
Cost of use per day (4 hours)
Cost of use per month (4 hours)
Cost of use per year (4 hours)

Important considerations

Every construction or upgrade project starts with a budget and business case to help facilitate internal decision-making. To present the most thoughtful plan, you’ll need to study and understand the overall costs of a sports lighting system. Understanding all of the ins and outs of a lighting project can be daunting.

That’s why we recommend using a calculator to get a cost estimate.

Establishing an accurate estimate early will help you make the case to key stakeholders. Once you have a number, finding suppliers, choosing builders, and selecting your materials will be easier. You can even use this number to compare against quotes from potential partners.

Once you have a budget, working with an experienced supplier is essential. Ask your potential partner for examples of past successful projects. A skilled partner will walk you through all the certificates, permits, and warranties you need to complete your project on time. They can even provide after-sales support and training for your staff.

A note about suppliers:

If you have a tight budget, you can buy your lighting system from abroad and use a local company for installation and support. The cheaper foreign fixtures will help reduce your costs, while the local labor and expertise will ensure successful installation.

A note about planning your project:

When establishing a timeline for your project, it’s vital to choose a schedule that won’t impact your facility’s profitability. For most sports venues, we recommend selecting an off-season period.

A note about funding:

There are plenty of funding options for your basketball court lighting project. Federal, state, and local level grants can help reduce the burden of upfront costs. You may also be able to finance your lighting project through a partner or financial institution. Check out this helpful article explaining your options for grants and the potential tax benefits of switching to LED lighting. Check out our article about LED sports lighting grants for schools and businesses for more information.

Get a cost estimate at an early stage

As you can see, there’s a lot to consider when starting a basketball court lighting project. Securing a cost estimate early in planning will help you make the right decisions.

Use our basketball court lighting cost calculator to get a ballpark estimate of your project’s overall cost. This number will help you make informed decisions about suppliers, builders, and materials. You can even use it to compare quotes from potential partners.

Need some help? We can put you in touch with some of the top local experts in your area.