LED Basketball court lighting design and cost guide

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 general, for basketball court lighting installation projects, you can expect a price range of around $22,000 to $188,000. There are many factors that influence the final price which is why the price range is quite wide. To get a customized cost estimate for your lighting project,  jump to our basketball court lighting cost calculator

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.

Table of Contents

The best lighting system for 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!

LED basketball court lighting system features
  • Adjustable lighting levels

    Adjust the lighting levels and color temperature depending on the activity level on the basketball court.

  • Dimming and scheduling

    Control the dimming of the lights and set up a schedule for the lights to switch on and off when needed.

  • No warm-up time

    LED lights switch on instantly so you will not need to worry about the warm-up time.

  • Flicker-free

    LED basketball court lights are flicker-free thanks to the high-frequency drivers they use.

  • Glare control

    LED basketball court light fixtures use anti-glare coatings, diffusers, reflectors and optics that minimize glare that can be inconvenient for players and fans alike.

  • Impact resistant

    Many LED basketball court lighting fixtures are designed with unexpected ball bounces and impact from below.

Kick Off Your LED Sports Lighting Project

We’ve created a comprehensive set of tools designed to assist facility managers and project planners in initiating their projects and connect them with the professionals in the industry.

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

Basketball court light fixture considerations

Indoor Basketball Court Light Fixtures

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.

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.

    Examples of indoor LED basketball court light fixtures
    led basketball court lighting fixture arena led 600
    Indoor Basketball Arena LED Light Fixture
    • 600W
    • Color tunable white lights
    • 70-90 CRI
    led basketball court light fixture chromabeams
    Indoor Basketball Court LED Light Fixture
    • Full RGB and tunable white
    • 350W
    • 1800K-10000K
    • CRI 70-90
    led basketball court high bay light fixture
    LED High Bay Basketball Gym Light Fixture
    • Ceiling-mounted
    • 100-200W
    • Up to 26,000 LM
    • 3000K-5700K
    • CRI 70-90
    led basketball court linear high bay light fixture
    LED Linear High Bay Basketball Gym Fixture
    • Asymmetric lighting
    • 70W-400W
    • Up to 56,000 LM
    • 3000K-6500K
    • CRI 70-90
    Outdoor Basketball Court Light Fixtures

    LED floodlights are the go-to choice for outdoor basketball courts due to their energy efficiency, long lifespan, and superior light quality. These sports lighters are designed to provide uniform, bright illumination across the court, minimizing shadows and glare. They are often mounted on poles that are strategically positioned to offer the best lighting conditions. The LED lights can be adjusted for angle and height to ensure optimal visibility for both players and spectators. Advanced LED lighting systems may also come with features like remote control, dimming capabilities, and smart technology integration for a more customized lighting experience.

      Examples of outdoor LED basketball court light fixtures
      outdoor basketball court light fixture court led
      LED Outdoor Basketball Court Light Fixture
      • Tunable white lights
      • 350W
      • 46,000+ lumens
      • CRI up to 93
      • CCT 1600K-6300K
      outdoor basketball court light fixture chromabeams 350
      LED Outdoor Basketball Court Light Fixture
      • Full RGB and tunable white
      • 350W
      • 1800K-10000K
      • CRI 70-90
      led high mast outdoor basketball court light fixture g1s1 shinetoo
      LED High Mast Basketball Court Fixture
      • Asymmetric indirect light
      • 100W-200W
      • CRI 70-90
      • CCT 3000K-5000K
      led high mast outdoor basketball court light fixture g1s2 shinetoo
      LED High Mast Basketball Court Fixture
      • Asymmetric indirect light
      • 300W-400W
      • CRI 70-90
      • CCT 3000K-4000K
      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
       

      How can LED basketball court light fixtures replace metal halide fixtures?

      • 100W – 200W LED fixture replaces a 400-600W metal halide fixture
      • 200W – 400W LED fixture replaces a 1000W metal halide fixture
      • 400W – 600W LED fixture replaces a 1500W metal halide fixture
      • +600W LED fixture replaces a 2000W metal halide fixture

      LED Sports Lighting Buyer's Guide

      If you're planning to install or retrofit an LED sports lighting system, our comprehensive buyer's guide 

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      LED 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 design
      Indoor vs outdoor LED basketball court lighting design configuration
      1. Light fixtures: Choose the right LED basketball court light fixtures for the size and demands of your gym.
        • Indoor: choose high-bay LED lighting fixtures that are mounted on the gym ceiling
        • Outdoor: go for LED basketball court floodlights that can be mounted on light poles or high masts
      2. Mounting hardware:
        • Indoor: Oftentimes high bays can be mounted directly on the ceiling and no hardware is needed. Sometimes you may need brackets or trusses to attach the fixtures.
        • Outdoor: Light poles will need to be installed with a height of around 20 -30 feet.
      3. Wiring and electrical components:
        • Before you can go ahead and mount the light fixtures on the ceiling, an electrician must take care of some business closer to the court setting up the wiring from the power source to the fixtures and the control system.
        • Wiring for outdoor basketball court lighting systems requires more protection due to the fact that they are exposed to the elements (rain, cold, snow, moisture). An experienced sports lighting company knows how to design and set up the wiring to avoid problems like electrical shocks and voltage drops.
      4. Control system:
        • Once the lights are operational, you can control them with the control system either manually or wirelessly via a mobile app or laptop. 
      5. Power source:
        • Make sure your gym or basketball arena has the necessary power supply coming from the grid before you do anything else. 
      indoor basketball court lighting system design
      Indoor basketball court lighting system
      Outdoor basketball court lighting system design
      Outdoor basketball court lighting system

      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
      80
      College / Pro level
      75 fc.
      min. 0.7
      4000 K
      80
      High School level
      30 fc.
      min. 0.7
      4000 K
      60
      Training & Recreation
      20 fc.
      min. 0.5
      4000 K
      60

      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 from the floor

      Wattage:

      • Recreational / High school: 100-200 watts per fixture
      • College/Pro: 150-400 watts per fixture

      How many fixtures do I need?

      • The number of LED light fixtures you’ll need for your basketball court ultimately comes down to three things: the total area that needs to be lit, the competition level of the players, and the efficacy of the light fixtures. A full-sized basketball court measures 94′ x 50′ which adds up to 4,700 square feet. Here’s an example of how to evaluate the number of fixtures needed:

      Light fixture efficacy:

      • 140 lumens per watt

      Footcandles needed:

      • Recreational: 20 fc.
      • High school level: 30 fc.
      • Collegiate level: 75 fc.

      Total lumens needed:

      • Recreational: 94,000
      • High school level: 141,000
      • Collegiate level: 352,500

      Total wattage needed:

      • Recreational: 700w
      • High school level: 1,000w
      • Collegiate level: 2,500w

      Number of LED basketball court lighting fixtures needed:

      • Recreational: 8 x 100w LED fixtures
      • High school level: 10 x 100w LED fixtures
      • Collegiate level: 18 x 150w LED fixtures

      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
      80
      High School level
      20 fc.
      min. 0.6
      4000 K
      60
      Training & Recreation
      10 fc.
      min. 0.5
      4000 K
      60

      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
      • Basketball lighting pole height recommendation: 23 feet
      • Number of lighting poles: either 4 or 6
      • Wattage: 150-400 watts per fixture
      • Number of lighting fixtures: 4 or 6

      LED Sports Lighting Buyer's Guide

      If you're planning to install or retrofit an LED sports lighting system, our comprehensive buyer's guide 

      Get the Free Guide

      The average cost of LED basketball court lighting installation

      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.

      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.

      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 are the operating costs?

      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
      328.000
      219.000
      87.000
      Wattage needed
      2500
      1700
      700
      Cost of use per day (4 hours)
      $1,50
      $1,00
      $0,40
      Cost of use per month (4 hours)
      $45,00
      $30,00
      $13,00
      Cost of use per year (4 hours)
      $548,00
      $372,00
      $153,00

      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.

      Basketball court lighting companies

      Companies specializing in basketball court lighting offer expertise in installing or retrofitting LED lights for both indoor and outdoor courts. These professionals design systems that cater to the specific needs of basketball, ensuring players have optimal visibility and fans get the best viewing experience. Essential considerations include providing uniform lighting, reducing glare, and ensuring energy efficiency. Many of these firms also incorporate advanced control systems for easy lighting adjustments. When looking to enhance or establish basketball court lighting, it’s crucial to select a company with a strong track record in this specific area to guarantee the best outcomes.

      Pro tip: If you are currently looking for a reliable and knowledgeable sports lighting vendor, try our sports lighting partner finder and get connected with suitable lighting partners. 

      Kick Off Your LED Sports Lighting Project

      We’ve created a comprehensive set of tools designed to assist facility managers and project planners in initiating their projects and connect them with the professionals in the industry.

      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.

      LED Basketball Court Lighting Q&A

      To provide a safe playing environment even during the late evening hours, many sports facility operators opt for installing an outdoor basketball court lighting system. The LED light fixtures can be mounted on light poles that are around 20 – 26 feet tall. Depending on the use case and competition level of your facility you may want to install either 4 or 6 light poles on the long sides of the basketball court.

      The LED light fixtures are then angled toward the court with a beam angle of 90 to 120 degrees. An outdoor court used for recreational play or school PE class usually doesn’t need more than 20 footcandles of brightness across the playing surface. You should look for LED light fixtures that have 100 – 400 watts of power.

      Modern LED basketball court lighting systems come with a wireless control system that can be used to:

      • Switch on/off using a mobile phone or a laptop
      • Program automatic lighting on/off schedule
      • Dimming (from 0% to 100%)

      The cost to install a basketball court lighting system depends on the quality of the lighting fixtures, the level of competition at your facility, and geographic differences. You should expect a price range of around $22,000 to $188,000.

      The amount of illumination needed for an outdoor basketball court depends on the size of the court and the competition level of your facility. 

      • A full-sized outdoor basketball court measures 94′ x 50′ (4700 square feet) and it requires 20 to 50 footcandles of uniform light across the playing surface. This adds up to a total of 94,000 lumens.
      • A half outdoor basketball court would then need half of the total lumens of a full-sized court (47,000 lumens).

      Replacing HID or metal halide light bulbs that are not working anymore can be a daunting task without proper equipment and training, especially if the light poles are not “foldable” or “tilt-down” light poles. You should always call a professional sports lighting electrician for maintenance tasks like this. 

      If you install LED basketball court lights, you will very rarely have the need to touch the lighting fixtures, because they are fully electric and do not burn out. LED light fixtures also last up to five times longer, which makes them a great investment for most outdoor basketball courts.

      The brightness of stadium lighting fixtures depends on their lumen output. The more efficient a sports lighter is (lumens per watt) the more illumination it can produce. Stadiums use high-powered light fixtures of around 1,500w – 2,000w (metal halide) or around 600w – 1,000w (LED). Metal halide sports lighters can achieve around 75 – 100 lumens per watt, whereas, LED sports lighters can reach 150 l/pw. 

      Brightness:

      • Metal halide stadium light fixtures: 100,000 – 200,000 lumens
      • LED stadium light fixtures: 90,000 – 150,000 lumens

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