The complete guide to LED Baseball Field Lighting Cost & Design

led baseball field lighting

An important aspect in the construction of a baseball diamond is the baseball field lighting system. LEDs can provide the optimal solution for both the players and the spectators. What exactly does baseball lighting look like and what influences baseball field lighting cost depends on various factors.

The lighting design ultimately depends on the requirements of the facility. A diamond that is mainly used for training as well as youth and amateur games, for examples, requires less light than a professional or collegiate diamond that has to look good for the cameras on top of the actual sporting demands.

Baseball requires even more attention to lighting concerns because of the size, speed and hardness of the ball. A batter watching a 95 mph pitch cannot afford to lose focus for a split second into the glare or haze of a poorly placed, poorly engineered light. Likewise, an outfielder tracking a pop fly does not want to be watching the ball move from light to shadow to light as he tries to get under it to make the catch. 

Table of Contents

Baseball field lighting layout and design

Among the many things baseball purists lament about the modern game is the standardization of baseball diamond dimensions. The distance between the pitcher’s mound and home plate, the height of the mound and the distance between the bases – 60′ for little league, 90′ for high school and above – have always been fixed. But part of the charm of the sport and the challenge of being a batter or outfielder is the amount of leeway diamond designers had when laying out the outfield fence. Few outfields – even in the major leagues – would be a perfectly smooth, geometrical curve. There’d be sharp turns, discontinuities and multiple corners. A flyball that would be a home run in right field would be an easy out if it with the same power and angle to left field. Hitters preferred some ballparks, outfielders preferred others.

Baseball diamond designers still have some flexibility, if they choose to use it. For example,  for colleges and any level of pro play, the distance from home plate to each foul pole needs to be at least 325 feet, and the longest point to centerfield – in line with home plate and second base – has to be at least 400 feet. From there, feel free to be creative – and don’t forget fence height!

Position and height of the LED floodlight fixtures and poles

Baseball diamonds that only need four light poles place two on either side of home plate, and one just outside of and slightly behind the foul poles. As the diamond expands at the high school, college and minor league levels, those latter two poles are brought towards home plate and are just past the plane of first base and third base. Then, two additional poles are placed behind right-center field and left-center field. 

For diamonds that need maximal lighting due to their size and competitive requirements, two more lights are added in the outfield, just inside the foul poles. That brings the total to four light poles around the perimeter of the outfield, and four staking out the infield.

These arrangements ensure uniform lighting plus player-friendly sightlines. When the batter has his eyes locked on the pitcher’s delivery, the outfield lights are far enough away and high enough that he won’t be looking into a face-full of light. And the infield lights are outside of his field of view, behind him and to the sides. Similarly, the lights closest to the outfielders are behind them. When they look up into the night sky for a pop fly, they won’t have the lamps or hazy glare interfering with their ability to spot the ball.

The size of the diamond affects the height of the light poles as well as their number. Little League and rec diamonds will have 40-50′ poles, while professional ballparks will need 100-180′ poles. At the higher levels of play, the players’ sightlines (how high the batters will hit the ball affects where the fielders will be looking), the size of seating area and the amount of illumination required by the league and broadcasters all go into determining how tall the poles should be.

How many poles do I need?

The number of light poles around a baseball diamond comes down to the size of the field and the amount of light needed for games at that level. A Little League diamond has less space and lower lighting demands, so four light poles are sufficient. High schools, colleges and the lower rungs of the minor leagues can make do with six poles; while the big leagues and their farm teams need eight or more.

What kind of lighting fixtures are used at baseball fields?

Nearly all baseball diamonds being built or renovated today are installing LED lights instead of conventional halide lamps. This is one part of the game where even traditionalists acknowledge the advantages of new technology!

It’s not just baseball: all sports venues are turning to LED lights. But baseball, in particular, needs to insist on the best quality light. No other sport has a ball so small coming at people so fast from so close a distance – and with minimal protective gear. Glare, haze or uneven luminance levels can make a huge difference in quality of play and player safety when the ball is moving nearly 100 mph and the player is trying to see the spin and arc of the ball for a split second decision from 60 feet away.

Lighting uniformity and color temperature

Because the light that LED lamps emit does not scatter, lighting designers can guarantee uniform lighting across the playing surface in a way they never could with halide lamps. 

LED lights can also provide the appropriate “warmth” of light. Light warmth refers to the light that would be given off by a “black box” heated to various temperatures. If the “black box” is at 2500 Kelvin, it glows orange. At 4000 K, it glows yellow. As you keep raising the temperature of the black box, it starts emitting darker and darker shades of blue. If you’ve ever used a natural gas stove with the flickering blue flame, you’ve seen this sort of thing in action.

Light warmth, then, has nothing to do with how warm the lighting fixtures get while they are on. In fact, it’s actually a bit backwards: the “warmer” the light, the lower the temperature it corresponds to. 

Oranges and yellows in the 2000K – 3000K range are very warm, and are best for outdoor usage. They give the most naturalistic and easy-on-the-eyes feel. That makes them ideal for viewers at home and in the stadium. By being closer to natural light, they come across much better on video than colder lights. 

Colder lights, on the other hand, are stark and white, sometimes with that blue tinge. These are the kind of lights you’ll probably come across at doctor’s offices or “cubicle farm” offices. Not a very warm and inviting environment, unlike a sports venue!

Beam angle & angle of projection

Beam angle

The beam angle and projection angle of a lighting fixture ensure that as much light as possible goes where you want it: onto the field, uniformly. If these factors are not set appropriately, some of the light will be wasted. Some will go into the stands, some will go into the sky and some will go in areas that are already well-lit, making one patch of the field too bright and another too dark. 

These angles also affect the sightlines of the players. If the angle is suboptimal, players may have to look straight into a light during the course of play – something we want to avoid and can avoid through proper design and installation.

Baseball field lighting standards and requirements

The basic unit of light is a lumen. When we talk about lighting requirements, we need to know how the brightness levels over an area some distance from the light source. Knowing how many lumens a lamp puts out isn’t enough. That’s why we talk about lux, the number of lumens per square meter.

As we mentioned earlier, higher levels of play have higher lighting requirements. Professional baseball diamonds need a uniform 1,000 lux at any point on the field: that is, 1,000 lumen per square meter. This requirement gradually reduces down to 200 lux for training facilities and elementary schools.

Baseball Lighting: Classification of Play

Sports Facility Class I Class II Class III Class IV
Illuminance
100 fc. / 1,000 lux.
50 fc. / 500 lux.
30 fc. / 300 lux.
20 fc. / 200 lux.
Professional Sports
x
College Sports
x
x
Semi-Professional
x
x
Sports Clubs
x
x
x
Amateur Leagues
x
x
x
High School
x
x
x
Training Facilities
x
x
Elementary School
x
International competitions and television broadcasts with LED floodlights

When lighting a baseball stadium with LED floodlights, the requirements of the leagues and associations must be taken into account. For example, in stadiums that broadcast games on TV or streaming, camera position must be considered to ensure that all areas are evenly illuminated. This is to avoid shadows and dark spots on the field. Both vertical and horizontal brightness must be increased for 4K and 8k TV broadcast formats.

High school baseball field lighting standards

The size of a high school baseball diamond is around 105.000 square feet depending on how long the distance is from home plate to the outfield fence. High school ballparks usually have the capacity for up to 5.000 spectators. Typically the required lux level for high school diamonds is 200 or 300 lux (20-30 foot candles). Compared to a collegiate or professional level baseball ground, the lighting requirements at high school level are a lot less strict. This is mainly due to the fact that starting from college baseball level, games are being televised in high definition and this is only possible when the lighting system is up to the required standard. 

Infield and outfield lighting requirements

Most of the action, and the most fast-paced action, takes place on the infield. This is where every hit has its maximal velocity, the players’ reaction times are barely in the tenths of a second and umpires and batters need to figure out what to do about one 90+mph pitch after another.

As a result, infields need to be brighter than the outfield. You may have noticed this if you’ve ever been to a competitive baseball game at night. If you sit in the outfield, the infield looks like a stage play, it’s lit so brightly. On the other hand, if you’re sitting behind home plate or along the baselines, it might seem like the outfielders are way out there, back in the shadows. That’s not an optical illusion: there is a difference in minimum light levels, which also explains why the much-smaller infield will be surrounded by the same number of light poles as the much larger outfield.

Recommended Illumination for Baseball fields

Baseball Class of Play Lighted area Lux Foot candles
I
Infield
1500
150
Outfield
1000
100
II
Infield
1000
100
Outfield
700
70
III
Infield
500
50
Outfield
300
30
IV
Infield
300
30
Outfield
200
30

How to turn on and operate baseball field lights?

Turning on the lights at your baseball diamond is as easy as turning on a light switch. It could even be easier than that: it could be a matter of a few taps on an app on your phone. 

LED lighting systems are simple to control and extremely flexible. Many systems come with software that allows the user – facilities managers, team coaches, team staff – to control which light fixtures are on, the brightness and warmth levels of each and even the movement of the lights (e.g., a light show when announcing the lineups or during the 7th inning stretch). 

This is one more area in which LED lights are more cost-efficient than halide lamps. Halide lamps usually required a staff member on-site to turn them on and off; needed 10-15 minutes to warm up; and were “all or nothing.” Each of those factors costs money. With a smartphone-controlled LED system, the coach can turn on just those lights he needs at the start of practice and shuts them off when everyone has left. No extra staff, no extra electricity.

Definitely easier than turning a double play.

How much does it cost to light a baseball field with LEDs?

An LED baseball field lighting system cost ranges from $140,000 – $650,000, depending on the illumination level, product quality and size of the field. Generally, a baseball diamond can get by with six floodlight poles. 

Depending on the conditions of the earthwork, cable and other structural components, the cost of the lighting system can be higher. When converting to LED, existing lights poles can continue to be used in some cases. This lowers the cost because only the fixtures need to be replaced and then reconnected.

An LED floodlight system offers several advantages compared to halogen floodlights. LED floodlight systems require no warm-up time. Instead, they are ready for use immediately at the flip of a switch. 

Both the playing field and spectator stands can be completely illuminated at all times. Stray light and glare on the playing field are minimized by LED lights. The same applies to flickering during TV broadcasts. In addition, LED sports lighting is cost-effective for sports venues. LED luminaires save up to 70% energy and have a longer service life than halogen floodlights. This can reduce maintenance and electricity costs around the operation of the facility.

Why you should consider LED lighting for your baseball field?

1) LED floodlights do not dazzle

For spectators, it is annoying to be blinded by the floodlights. For players, it can affect their performance and be extremely dangerous if they can’t follow the ball’s trajectory accurately. Glare-free LED lights create a trouble-free sports experience for everyone involved.

2) Light does not flicker

A flickering light can also impair vision, or even be mistaken for a ball moving at high speed in the air against a darker background. .  

3) Correct illumination of the diamond

Depending on the game, the requirements of the lighting system for the baseball diamond may vary. The higher class the game, the more lux (foot candles) are usually required. Therefore, it’s better to over-plan than under-plan. But be careful! The lux number should not be much higher than is actually needed, because this will result in additional costs for the floodlight system.

4.) Avoid light pollution!

An optimally adjusted LED floodlight system is “light efficient”: it provides all the light the field needs without wasting any light. In other words, the light is adjusted precisely so that only the desired playing areas of the sports facility are illuminated, and not adjacent areas. This also prevents residents or motorists from being distracted or annoyed by a hazy glow around the stadium.

led baseball field lighting cost

LED baseball field lighting: calculate costs - compare prices

When buying an LED baseball field lighting system, there are costs for the purchase, shipping or delivery and installation. The operating costs are electricity and maintenance. How much each item ultimately costs depends on various factors.

Size of the baseball diamond

As the level of play increases, so does the size of the field. Accordingly, the need for light also increases. The floodlighting system must be precisely matched to the playing field and the requirements of the sports facility operator.

Competition level

The higher the competition level of the baseball club, the higher the demands on the LED floodlight. This is reflected in the purchase price. There is a substantial difference between lighting a high school game and lighting an MLB game.

LED floodlighting or traditional lighting for the sports field

You have several options for lighting your baseball field. LED is the most affordable option due to its lower power consumption and long fixture life. Savings on energy costs can range from 50-70%, depending on the model.

High price range

Roughly speaking the cost of an LED floodlight system for a baseball diamond ranges from $140,000 – $650,000, depending on the field size, illumination level and product quality of LED lights.

LED baseball field lighting: Promotion & Funding

An LED floodlight installation enhances a sports field and increases the number of hours it can be used. For this reason, such an installation usually finds many supporters.

To help with funding, explore the possibility of obtaining lighting grants from federal and state funds, as well as from the municipality.

Another option is fundraising. This is a way to raise funds from businesses and individuals. It is also advisable to involve club members or students and parents. Creative projects can generate revenue that can be used to purchase the facility.

Baseball field lighting companies

If you’ve read this far, you might think we’ve covered all there is to know about lighting a baseball diamond. Believe it or not, this was just an overview. 

The next step is to head over to our cost calculator while all this information is fresh in your head. The calculator will give you an estimate of how much a lighting system will cost for your diamond. Then, if you want to drill down even deeper, we can put you in touch with companies that specialize in sports venue lighting. They’ll be the ones to go into detail to determine what you’ll need, and then do the pro’s work of plotting out illuminance levels, beam angles, pole heights and all the rest.