Little league field lighting standards, grants, and costs
One of the best ways to give your youth athletes an unforgettable playing experience is by installing LED lighting on your little league field. Not only will it enable them to play under the stars, but it can also build and bring your community together.
But if you’re just starting to plan a lighting project for your little league field, you might be wondering about the best type of lighting, how much lighting costs, and the standards and requirements.
There are plenty of options on the market, but for today’s athletic directors and sports facilities, there’s no better option than LED lighting systems for little league fields.
However, installing lighting can be expensive. The good news is that various grants and financing options are available to help offset the costs.
Let’s look at some specifics of what you need to know about little league field lighting.
If you are in a hurry and want to understand how much it costs to install a new little league field lighting system or retrofit LEDs to your existing infrastructure, try our baseball field lighting cost calculator.
Little league lighting standards and requirements
The first step in creating a LED lighting solution for your little league field is understanding the needs of this age group. Because of the smaller field, little league fields require different standards than other levels of play — like collegiate or adult fields.
Less Lighting Output Needed
To correctly Little League field, you need less lighting. This means fewer poles and lighting fixtures are required, lowering your labor and materials costs.
The typical Little League field covers a total area of 40,000 sq ft, three times smaller than an MLB or college stadium, which measures an average of 120,000 sq ft.
Fewer lighting sources also mean lower operating costs. Coupled with the more energy-efficient technology of LEDs, means your Little League lighting system can save your league considerable costs.
Lighting Levels for Little League Baseball
|Little League Baseball Lighting||Average Constant Light Levels||Uniformity Ratio: Max to Min||Maximum Rate of Change|
50 footcandles / 500 lux
10% per 10 feet
30 footcandles / 300 lux
10% per 10 feet
Footcandles and lux measure light intensity, and for Little League fields, the average should be well-maintained throughout the playing area. The infield is where most of the action tends to happen during a baseball game, which is why the area needs more light than the outfield. Aim at maintaining an average of 50 footcandles or 500 lux for the infield and 30 footcandles or 300 lux for the outfield.
Safety is a top concern for Little League, and ensuring your field is adequately and evenly lit is essential. This is what the uniformity ratio is designed for. For little league baseball, the ratio between the maximum and minimum average lighting levels should be 2:1 for the infield and 2.5:1 for the outfield. Also, for every stretch of 10 feet on the field the level of luminosity should not change by more than 10%.
Lighting your field properly can be a complex endeavor, and you should work with a trained professional familiar with league requirements. Involve a trusted professional early in the process to ensure your project stays on track.
Glare control light spill
To avoid glare, your fixtures should not be placed horizontally at an angle of fewer than 25 degrees. This angle will protect your players from glare and allow them to see the field.
In addition to the angle, you should include shields to avoid glare at home plate. Keeping your batters, catcher, and umpire safe is essential to the game and essential to following little league lighting rules.
Lighting quality control
One of the most significant initiatives for Little League lighting systems is maintaining quality. This means ensuring that your system is installed correctly and regularly maintained.
With an LED sports lighting system, you can get 100,000 hours or more of operation before you see deterioration in lighting quality. Compared with metal halide systems that get only 2,100 – 3,000 hours, it’s easy to see the benefit of making the switch.
Little League World Series Lighting Requirements
If you’re planning on hosting Little League World Series events or televised competitions, the rules for your lighting change slightly.
When planning for broadcast, you may need to increase your footcandles from the standard rule of 50fc in the infield and 30fc in the outfield. Illumination is vital for broadcast, and ensuring your field is lit correctly is critical.
Additionally, the color temperature of your lighting is now a concern. While most little league fields don’t require white light, if you’re planning on being broadcast-ready, your lighting should emit a color temperature of 5700 K and a CRI of 65+. However, it’s best to consult an expert before deciding your field’s color temperature.
A professional sports lighting company understands the requirements and will be able to configure your system to accurately meet the needs of little league players, officials, and fans.
Recommended features for your little league lighting system
In addition to your new LED lighting system, you should consider a couple of additional features.
The first is a remote control system to make it easy for your staff to turn the lights on and off. You can set timers, turn them on and off, or even dim your lights from a single location. From anywhere, your crew can schedule routine maintenance outages or flip the switch when your athletes are ready for game time.
The second is a monitoring system to help you keep track of your energy consumption and maintenance needs. A good monitoring system will give you data on how often your lights are used, energy consumption, and their current operating condition. You can use this information to help you make decisions about when to schedule maintenance or even when to replace your system.
By upgrading to an LED lighting system and adding these two features, you can save money on energy and maintenance while providing a safer, higher-quality playing experience for your little league athletes.
Little league baseball field lighting grant opportunities
Adding an LED lighting system to your Little League field is a serious investment, but several grant opportunities are available to help offset the cost. We have written about baseball field lighting grants and funding opportunities in our separate article. Here are also some of the top choices for Little League field lighting grants:
- Diamonds Back Field Building Program (Arizona): This grant program might be for you if you are in the process of building a little league field and want to install a lighting system.
- Rural Energy for America Program (California): This program is for energy-efficiency upgrades (LED sports lighting) for small businesses operating in rural areas of less than 50.000 inhabitants.
- California Clean Energy Jobs Act K-12 Program – Energy efficiency upgrades (for ex. LED sports lighting) for non-profit organizations such as schools and colleges.
- Chicago Cubs – Diamond Project Capital Grants (Illinois) – Baseball facility grant for sports lighting and other improvements for non-profit organizations.
- Alternative and Clean Energy Program (Pennsylvania) – Energy-efficiency upgrades (sports lighting) for businesses, municipalities, counties, and school districts
- Lower Colorado River Authority (Texas) – Energy-efficient lighting for community sports fields
If you need help finding the correct Little League lighting grants, an experienced sports lighting company can guide you through the process and help you secure the funding you need to upgrade your field.
Pro tip: Before you start applying for grants it’s a good idea to have an understanding of the total costs of the lighting system installation or retrofit. The easiest way to get a cost estimate is by using our baseball field lighting cost calculator. Give it a try!
Get a cost estimate for your little league field lighting project at an early stage
As you can see, there’s a lot to consider when planning a Little League lighting project for your field. With all the requirements, guidelines, and options, it’s crucial to secure a cost estimate early in the process. Even with grants, you may still need to fund a portion of the price.
A solid estimate will help you and your team plan for the project, set a budget, and decide which products and services suit your needs. It will also ensure that you don’t get surprised by unexpected costs along the way.
The best way to get a quick and accurate cost estimate for your project is through our baseball field lighting cost calculator. Just input some basic information, and we’ll put you in touch with a local expert you can trust.