Roundtable Discussion: LED Sports Lighting Installation and Maintenance Best Practices

Welcome back to the second installment of our enlightening series on the transformative world of LED sports lighting. In the first chapter, we illuminated the intricacies of planning and design, guiding you through the initial steps of upgrading your athletic facility’s lighting. Now, we turn our focus to the pivotal stages of installation and maintenance, where precision and expertise truly shine.

Continuing our journey, we’ve reconvened our panel of industry luminaries, hailing from the forefront of LED sports lighting. These trailblazers bring a wealth of practical knowledge and innovative strategies to the table, ensuring your project’s success from the ground up.

In this segment, we delve into the nuts and bolts of LED sports lighting. Our experts dissect the installation process, demystifying the technicalities and spotlighting the importance of meticulous execution. They also cast light on the often-overlooked, yet critical, maintenance phase, ensuring your investment continues to pay dividends in energy efficiency and performance long after the initial switch-on.

Whether you’re a high school athletic director weighing the benefits of LED upgrades or a municipal facility manager dedicated to sustainable excellence, this discussion is tailored for you. Join us as we navigate the essential steps that follow the drawing board, ensuring your sports lighting system not only meets but exceeds expectations, game after game.

Stay tuned as we continue to elevate the game, one LED light at a time.

Get Your LED Sports Lighting Project Started

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.

Meet the Panel

Our discussion on LED sports lighting is enriched by the expertise of our selected panelists. 

Let’s introduce our distinguished experts:

  • Bill Smith, GeoSport Lighting
  • Max Bartlett, GameDay Lighting
  • Colton Quinn, Impact Sport Lighting
  • Carter Sokolowski, Sportsbeams

Key Considerations for the Installation Phase

What are the best practices for ensuring a smooth installation process?


Carter Sokolowski (Sportsbeams): The most crucial step in the installation process is selecting a competent and experienced electrical contractor. Once you have chosen the electrical contractor, they will need sufficient time to complete the installation correctly. The required time depends on the project’s complexity but should be thoroughly discussed to set clear expectations.

Max Bartlett (GameDay Lighting): I play a significant role in this process, as I am present on the job sites, working closely with the teams. The most effective approach I’ve observed is to consistently work with the same individuals. After completing a few projects, they become familiar with our design and installation processes. While each project may vary in terms of the number of fixtures, cross arms, and pole height, the overall design and assembly remain consistent. I am typically on-site to provide guidance and ensure that everything is proceeding correctly. We also provide detailed installation instructions and step-by-step procedures to facilitate the process. This comprehensive approach ensures consistency and quality across all our projects.

Colton Quinn (Impact Sport Lighting): Getting the perfect lighting setup for your sports field will be a game-changer. Following our installation process incorporates best practices at every step of the install to ensure that your sports lighting project runs hassle free. First things first, we properly plan and design your lighting system before installation. This step is crucial in ensuring that your lighting system meets your needs and provides optimal performance. Secondly, it’s important to work with experienced professionals who can guide you through the process. We bring our team professionals who have expertise in sports field lighting to ensure that you’re getting the best advice and service possible. Lastly, stay organized and communicate clearly with your team to avoid any mishaps. This will help ensure that everyone is on the same page and that the installation process runs smoothly. With these tips in mind, we know that you’ll be well on your way to experiencing the full potential of your sports field lighting.


How important is it to have a qualified electrician or technician oversee the installation?


Max Bartlett (GameDay Lighting): We have encountered numerous situations where we have met with electricians who claim they are capable of handling a project like ours, but they lack strong troubleshooting skills or the ability to adapt effectively. As I mentioned in my introduction, we tailor our products and projects to meet the specific needs of our customers, which often requires a considerable amount of adaptation. Sometimes, we arrive at a job site and find that we need to work with the existing power supply, relocate it, or even upgrade it. Electricians need to have the capability to assess the situation, understand the requirements, and make the necessary adjustments to accommodate our product. Our work involves a lot of crane operations and handling heavy steel, and we mostly work with 480 volts, which is considered high voltage. Therefore, we need professionals who are confident working in boom lifts, operating cranes, and handling high-voltage electricity. This is a significant responsibility, and it is crucial that our contractors and engineers are fully aware of what they are dealing with. This is no small task, and it requires a skilled and experienced team to ensure success.

Colton Quinn (Impact Sport Lighting): To ensure the safety and efficiency of your electrical installations, it is an unwavering requirement to enlist the services of a qualified electrician or technician. These professionals have the necessary expertise and training to oversee the installation process and identify potential hazards or mistakes. By paying attention to detail and adhering to industry codes, they’ll ensure that your electrical system operates efficiently and without issue. Hiring a qualified professional may require an initial investment, but it can save you time and money in the long run. With their knowledge and experience, they’ll get the job done right the first time, preventing costly mistakes or hazards down the line. When it comes to electrical installations, don’t take any chances. Impact sends a team of highly trained and experienced licensed professionals to every job site, giving our customers peace of mind knowing the job is done safely and correctly the first time, every time.

Carter Sokolowski (Sportsbeams): Having a qualified electrician oversee the installation is absolutely essential.

What are some common pitfalls to avoid in the installation phase?


Max Bartlett (GameDay Lighting): Each project presents its own unique set of challenges. It could be varying soil conditions; we’ve encountered bedrock while digging, which necessitated changes to our plans. There have been instances where the power was cut, requiring us to call in utility companies to restore or provide new power to the job sites. So, there isn’t really just one issue that stands out. However, I believe that the best way to mitigate these challenges is through thorough preparation. This includes conducting site visits, maintaining open lines of communication, and even doing some preliminary digging to ensure that we won’t be caught off guard by any underground surprises that are not immediately visible.

Carter Sokolowski (Sportsbeams): Typical problems during a sports lighting installation mostly relate to the electrical contractor’s quality, site conditions, and/or the project schedule.

Colton Quinn (Impact Sport Lighting): When installing a new system, it’s crucial to avoid common mistakes that can lead to issues later on. Rushing through the installation process and disregarding instructions can cause errors that result in system failure. Additionally, not testing the system thoroughly after installation can lead to unnoticed issues that can cause bigger problems later on. It’s understandable that taking shortcuts may seem like a good idea to save time, but this can compromise the quality and safety of the installation. To ensure the system is reliable and serves its purpose for a long time, it’s vital to be thorough and cautious during the installation phase. It’s important to remember that prioritizing accuracy and attention to detail can save you a lot of headaches in the future. Taking a little extra time and effort during installation can go a long way in avoiding costly mistakes down the road.


How do you manage challenges arising from weather conditions?


Max Bartlett (GameDay Lighting): Weather can indeed be a major factor. We actually experienced a significant delay on a recent project due to an unusually warm winter, resulting in persistently wet conditions. Since the ground never froze, we couldn’t bring in the heavy lifts and cranes needed for the job, as they could potentially sink into the mud. In such wet conditions, we have to wait several days for the ground to dry out, which can lead to substantial delays. This is a point of discussion we always have upfront with our customers: if we can’t access the site without causing damage, such as creating ruts or harming the turf or grass on the fields, we have to wait. Temperature is generally not a significant factor; our equipment can operate in both hot and cold conditions. Rain is really the main weather-related challenge that can set us back significantly. So, if we’re starting a project with a deadline, such as having everything ready for the baseball season in spring, we aim to complete the work in winter, while the ground is still frozen, to avoid delays due to thawing and mud. These are crucial planning considerations to ensure we don’t end up at a standstill during the summer.

Carter Sokolowski (Sportsbeams): A comprehensive site audit should occur before the installation begins, involving the facility owner and the selected electrical contractor. The schedule must accommodate unforeseen circumstances such as weather delays or permitting issues.

Colton Quinn (Impact Sport Lighting): Installations should be scheduled to avoid any weather delays! If unforeseen weather starts acting up or unexpected site issues pop up, it’s time to put on your thinking cap and get ready to problem-solve. First things first, assess the situation and communicate with everyone involved, then discuss all available solutions and adjust timelines as necessary. Impact’s team of experts prepares for every scenario, and we will call in our reinforcements to protect the schedule. Throughout every project, Safety is first! Don’t let these curveballs throw you off your game – stay prepared and stay ahead of the rain drops.

What steps are taken to test the system before it goes live?


Carter Sokolowski (Sportsbeams): This phase is referred to as the commissioning phase. Depending on the project’s size, a representative from the light manufacturer will typically be on-site to set up and test the control system and take final light readings.

Colton Quinn (Impact Sport Lighting): For a reliable and durable sports lighting system, quality control and manufacturing processes are essential. Working with a manufacturer that exceeds industry standards ensures you receive dependable products ready for critical moments. Our expert team meticulously oversees the installation process, addressing potential issues promptly to guarantee long-lasting performance. We commit to quality by rigorously testing each system, ensuring it can handle various lighting scenarios. Trust us to meet your sports lighting needs with durable solutions and attentive service.

LED Sports Lighting Buyer's Guide

If you're planning to install or retrofit an LED sports lighting system, our comprehensive buyer's guide covers all the essential aspects including planning, budgeting, design, installation, and post-installation considerations, simplifying your decision-making process.

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Exploring the Post-Installation Phase

Can you elaborate on the routine maintenance required for LED lighting systems post-installation?


Max Bartlett (GameDay Lighting): We guarantee that our product will last a very long time. The only routine maintenance built into our system is control updates, particularly if we have incorporated any wireless controls. These systems require periodic updates. Our drivers, which are a crucial component of our system, are designed to be easily accessible at the base of the pole. This design allows for easy access to the ‘guts’ of the fixtures, if you will. These drivers have a specific lifespan and are rated for a certain number of hours of operation. To monitor this, we have meters in place that track their usage, enabling us to check whether they have been running for too long or not long enough. This information can influence our warranty terms to some extent. Apart from that, the maintenance requirements are minimal. Essentially, you just need to turn the lights on. If the field is still well-lit, there is no need for re-aiming. Occasionally, we might experience big windstorms that could potentially turn or rotate the fixtures, although this should not happen. These are factors we need to take into account, but overall, the maintenance costs are extremely low once we switch to LED lighting.

Carter Sokolowski (Sportsbeams): Typically, LED fixtures require no maintenance. However, if something unusual occurs on-site, such as birds building nests on the fixtures or exposure to dirt or mud, steps should be taken to restore the fixtures to their original state.

Colton Quinn (Impact Sport Lighting): LED Technology is a robust solution to your lighting needs, requiring little to no maintenance. Depending on your location, simple cleaning may be all that is required to maximize system performance throughout its use. Using advanced lighting controls in combination with conservative lumen maintenance programming curves can make system operation simple and worry-free. Advancements in lighting controls, if used properly, allow a manufacturer to establish system health metrics; this, combined with an internet connection, can notify the impact support team of any non-conforming telemetry prior to game night.


What are the most common issues that arise post-installation and how can they be mitigated?


Carter Sokolowski (Sportsbeams): Post-installation issues are typically warranty issues, such as failed power supplies or control problems. These issues would be addressed through the lighting manufacturer.

Colton Quinn (Impact Sport Lighting): Using advanced lighting control solutions can monitor and notify all necessary parties of any system alerts. The impact support team provides 24/7 monitoring of all off-site control-enabled systems to stay proactive of any potential concerns. Ensuring all members of the facilities team who will operate the system should be present during the commissioned system’s training demonstration to eliminate user errors brought on by a lack of trained staff on site.

Max Bartlett (GameDay Lighting): There aren’t many examples, but one that comes to mind is a project we worked on where the service size was built too small. They decided to expand their construction, adding more facilities. We had initially built two complexes with a total of 10 fields. However, they later decided to add a hotel and a water park, which required a significant amount of electricity. This overwhelmed their service capacity, resulting in our lights being turned off because the service couldn’t handle the load. This situation highlighted the need for careful planning. When bidding for a project and building a service, it’s crucial to ensure it’s large enough to provide sufficient electricity to power the fields. Additionally, it’s important to consider future expansion plans. Will there be a need for additional facilities such as concession stands, restrooms, or expansions to existing buildings? These additions could require more power, and it’s essential to plan for that from the start. This is typically a pre-installation conversation, but it’s crucial for avoiding post-installation issues. Ensuring there is enough power on site to accommodate both current needs and potential future expansions is a vital part of the planning process.

How do you measure the performance and energy efficiency of the installed system?


Carter Sokolowski (Sportsbeams): You can measure the performance of the final installation using a light meter, which will measure the light hitting the field of play. This process should be a coordinated effort to ensure the entire field is measured and averaged out.

Colton Quinn (Impact Sport Lighting): Once your lighting system is installed and commissioned, the field and all other areas of concern identified in the design phase are tested using calibrated equipment to record the finished product’s performance. Advanced lighting controls solutions monitor and report energy usage and can provide regular system usages to accommodate incentives or capitalize on energy-saving strategies.


What kind of warranty and support can customers expect post-installation?


Colton Quinn (Impact Sport Lighting): We offer a wide range of high-quality products and warranty packages tailored to your facility’s specific needs. Our warranties are straightforward and comprehensive, ensuring peace of mind for our customers. Our support line and team of technicians are always ready to assist with any questions or concerns. We are committed to exceptional customer service and quality products fostering lasting client relationships.

How often should a facility reassess its lighting needs and consider upgrades or retrofits?


Carter Sokolowski (Sportsbeams): Unlike older HID fixtures, LED fixtures typically remain as bright several years down the road as they were when first installed. There should be no need for any retrofits or upgrades for the duration of the warranty.

Colton Quinn (Impact Sport Lighting): In today’s fast-paced world, advancements in LED technology are occurring at an unprecedented rate. As a Sport Venue owner, it is crucial to partner with a sports lighting company that is dedicated to staying at the forefront of research and development. We recognize the uniqueness of each site and the varying requirements for sports lighting. It’s crucial for your team to understand your specific lighting needs and maintain clear communication with us for future upgrades and system adjustments. We design our systems with upgrades in mind, ensuring a smooth transition as technology evolves. Our commitment is to provide top-notch lighting solutions tailored to your needs, helping you stay at the forefront of lighting technology.


What developments in LED technology can we expect to see in sports lighting for the year 2024 and beyond?


Carter Sokolowski (Sportsbeams): Facilities and their fans are expecting more from sports lighting fixtures than simple white light. More are demanding features such as full-spectrum RGB lighting as well as color tuning (the ability to shift from a bluish-white to a more yellow-white) as needed.

Colton Quinn (Impact Sport Lighting): Improved efficiency, further intuitive controls, and much more are on the horizon as we move into the theoretical extents of LED and beyond.

Get Your LED Sports Lighting Project Started

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.


As our expert panelists have illuminated, the journey through the installation phase of LED sports lighting is one of precision and expertise. This phase brings the detailed designs to life, requiring a skilled hand to ensure every element is executed flawlessly.

Equally critical is the post-installation phase, where the focus shifts to preserving the integrity and performance of your lighting investment. Our experts highlight the importance of proactive post-installation strategies, from routine assessments to leveraging smart technologies for efficient operation and longevity.

The consensus is unequivocal: choosing a sports lighting partner with a robust track record in both installation and post-installation care is crucial. Their adept handling of these complex phases can transform potential challenges into a seamless progression towards a well-lit future for any sports venue.

In wrapping up this discussion, it’s clear that the choices made at the outset have a lasting impact. Opt for a partner committed to excellence in installation and post-installation service to ensure your sports lighting system remains a beacon of performance and reliability for years to come.