Stadium Lighting Cost Overview: calculate your project

stadium lighting cost

How much do stadium lights cost to install?

The cost to install a new LED lighting system for a stadium in most cases ranges from $120,000 – $420,000 for a mid- to high-end LED floodlighting system. In the end LED sports lighting costs vary depending on the sport, the level of competition, field size and product quality, as well as regional price differences.

Many times lighting systems are installed or upgraded as part of a larger project, such as construction of an artificial turf field. Therefore the best practice approach is to calculate the cost of LED stadium lighting at an early stage to make sure the project stays within budget. 

We’ve made calculating the overall costs of your sports lighting project very easy! Try our stadium lighting cost calculator (football, baseball, softball, soccer, lacrosse, hockey, tennis, pickleball etc.) and get a customized cost breakdown.

Overview: costs for an LED stadium lighting system

Type of stadium Stadium lighting cost
Football stadium
$170,000 - $880,000
Soccer stadium
$140,000 - $355,000
Baseball stadium
$135,000 - $650,000
Softball stadium
$135,000 - $350,000
Lacrosse stadium
$130,000 - $335,000
Field hockey stadium
$138,000 - $342,000
Tennis complex
$62,000 - $218,000
Indoor sports stadium
$54,000 - $206,000
LED: Indoor tennis complex
$32,000 - $98,000
Pickleball complex
$25,000 - $125,000

The cost calculations include the following items:

  • Lighting masts
  • Lighting fixtures (LED or conventional)
  • Wiring and installation 
  • Earthworks and cabling 
  • Documentation, measurement and light alignment

As can be seen in the table above, the price range for a new LED stadium lighting system can be very broad, with the details shaping up from the factors we mention further down this guide.

If there is existing equipment and infrastructure that can be reused, the prices will come down. However, any existing equipment should be inspected to ensure it is still structurally and functionally sound. The life span of new equipment should not be compromised by the age of the old equipment.

The costs associated with LED sports lighting can be calculated in detail using the stadium lighting cost calculator. When upgrading to LED floodlighting sports facility operators should verify if components of the existing lighting infrastructure can be reused in order to reduce project costs.

Table of Contents

What influences the installation cost of stadium lighting systems?

LED stadium lighting system costs first depend on whether a floodlight system needs to be built from scratch or if an existing system needs to be upgraded to LED lighting.

  • If existing floodlight poles can be used, a cost saving is possible. However, in this case, a photometric study around the lighting system is recommended. This takes into account the size of the playing field and the locations of the poles, and uses this data to create the optimum lighting concept for the sports facility.
  • If a lighting system is not already in place, there probably will be additional costs for relocating the power supply to the field. The costs for the construction of the masts depend, among other things, on the condition of the ground and whether the locations can be easily reached with heavy construction equipment.
  • Once these questions have been clarified, it is a question of which playing field zones are to be lit and at what luminance levels. The size of the playing field as well as paths and stairs need to be factored into the scope of the lighting. The more light that is needed, the higher the cost of the system.
  • The light intensity is crucial for the optimal illumination of the sports facility. Here, the requirements for a professional stadium, where games that are broadcast on television take place, are higher than for a playing field at a school or a training field. The stronger the light needs to be, the more LED luminaires you’ll need.
  • In addition to the different requirements depending on the power class, the requirements also differ according to the type of sport. Even if all the above requirements are the same, the cost of LED lighting will be different for two different sport fields. 

The cost of LED sports lighting can vary significantly, ranging from $120,000 – $420,000 in most cases.

How much does stadium lighting cost to operate?

In your budget planning, you should consider future energy and maintenance costs in addition to the purchase and installation of the floodlighting system. Although the initial cost is slightly higher, LED lights are the most economical and environmentally friendly option in the long run.

Unlike halogen floodlights, the light output produced by LEDs degrades very slowly. Often, the lifespan of LED stadium lighting systems ranges from 80,000 to 100,000 hours. This significantly reduces the maintenance costs of operating the sports facility because fewer bulbs or fixtures need to be replaced.

An LED floodlight consumes significantly less electricity than lighting with metal halide lamps. For example, LED lamps require about 35,000 watts to generate 300 to 400 lux. With halogen, about 70,000 watts are required. Depending on the number of hours the sports facility is used, this can save several thousand dollars a month.

Modern LED sports lighting systems for sports venues are, in many cases, computer controlled. For example, floodlights can be turned on automatically at fixed times. This saves on personnel costs. In many cases, modern lighting systems can now be controlled via a smartphone app. This allows access by different people as well as very a easy and uncomplicated use of the lighting.

With an LED floodlight, you can also rent out your sports field to other groups and clubs for training or games in the evening hours. You should consider both the electricity costs and the wear and tear of the illuminants when calculating the rental costs, but balance that against the revenue you can generate from those rentals.

It’s also advisable to install additional technology that may be required, such as surveillance cameras or loudspeakers on the poles, at the same time as the floodlight installation. This reduces the total installation costs for the sports field lighting infrastructure.

Cost of retrofitting HID stadium lighting with LED

Many sports facility operators – clubs, municipalities, schools and private gyms – want to know how much an LED stadium lighting system costs, and how much it costs to retrofit their current lighting system with LED technology. LED lighting technology is increasingly popular throughout the sports industry, but is not yet the go-to, obvious choice for facility managers. 

The cost of an LED retrofit project for a stadium lighting system starts at $95,000 for a municipal sports field. Factors for the cost calculation include the number of masts and fixtures necessary to illuminate the field, and the sport-specific requirements the LED sports lighting system has to meet. The higher the requirements of the sport, the higher the costs around the lighting. 

The various lighting classes and requirements of the governing bodies give the club an indication of which floodlight systems they should consider. 

When retrofitting an existing facility, an important question is whether the new LED floodlights can be mounted on the existing poles. Likewise, the wiring and circuitry may also carry over from the old to the new. 

When installing a new lighting system, a professional planner or lighting expert should always be consulted. Through light measurements, site surveys and evidence-backed opinions, facility managers can avoid expensive corrections while work is underway.

upgrading to led stadium lighting

Upgrading to LED stadium lighting as part of a larger project

LED stadium lighting systems are usually upgraded or modernized as part of a broader construction project, either building a new field or renovating an existing one. Renovations will extend the lifespan of the playing surface, so it makes sense to do the same for the surrounding infrastructure. Clubs will also want to get the most out of their investment in the field, and a new lighting system will ensure they have maximum up-time at the desired levels of competition every day.

Costs accumulate quickly during these projects, and the focus is usually on the playing surface itself. However, having the right lighting systems can significantly improve the player and spectator experience, leading to increased attendance, membership and facility up-time. Moreover, using LED lights reduces the costs of electricity, maintenance and fixture replacement over the life of the system. Within a few years, these savings cover the higher up-front costs of LED’s. 

Planners should consider not just the costs of construction and installation, but the impact the new facility will have on revenues and expenses over the projected life of the new infrastructure. Taking that view brightly illuminates the value of LED over conventional lighting systems.

Sports facility operators must determine in advance which sports will be playing on the newly-lit field. Additionally, they need to know what the target competitive level is for their facility, as that, too, will drive the design and product selection of the lighting. These considerations should enter the planning at an early phase. Lighting vendors and designers should be part of the conversations around the project to offer their experience and expertise. 

 The high investment costs of LED stadium lighting are offset by lower operating costs compared to a conventional metal halide system. 

Whether and when an LED sports lighting system is worthwhile for the club should be discussed with the relevant experts and planners and, above all, decided on the basis of a full cost calculation.

cost to operate sport field lighting

Use concept and requirements

LED lighting systems for stadiums must meet certain requirements and have to match the needs of the main users of the sports center. Additionally Sport facility managers need to choose the lighting class based on the use concept of the sports facility.

Stadium lighting does not have to be geared towards one type of sport. Many facilities, particularly at schools and public parks,can be used for several sports. Making that a possibility requires designing the playing areas and supporting infrastructure with multiple functions in mind. 

Higher-level competition requires single-sport playing facilities. These come with specific demands for the lighting, just as there are specific demands for the playing surface itself. The brightness of the lights, the position of the lights relative to the field (both horizontally and vertically) and the potential presence of fans all shape the single-sport lighting design. 

The seasons of the sport also come into play. Winter sports will need greater illumination than sports played primarily in the summer. If the facility is interested in scheduling more evening events, the importance of and demands on the lighting go up. These are not purely aesthetic or athletic concerns: the more the field or court is in use, the more cost effective an LED-based system will be. A facility that is active throughout the day and throughout the year will recoup their investment faster, giving them a quicker timeline to realizing the value of LED’s over halogen lighting. 

The adaptability of LED lighting systems means that even within a purpose-built and purpose-lit field, the solution is not one-size-fits-all. The brightness can be adjusted using a dimmer switch and individual fixtures can be turned on and off. That way facilities only use (and pay for) the light they need – lower levels of partial light for training and small-sided pick-up games, full illumination for a competitive match on the same field.

led sports lighting

Lighting classes for competitions and games

The lighting system is one of the central infrastructure elements of any stadium. It enables the game to be played regardless of the time of year or the time of day.

The costs around stadium lighting depend on the lighting class and each facility’s specific requirements. Those requirements are set by the local, regional and national associations that govern that sport or, in the case of school sports, all athletics competitions. The goals, though, are the same: provide a safe and satisfactory experience for athletes and spectators. 

Achieving uniform coverage and brightness requires paying attention to the size and shape of the playing area. Soccer, baseball and tennis – a large rectangle, a diamond and a small rectangle, respectively – have different lighting requirements.

Floodlighting should be installed as high as possible so the players are not dazzled when following or seeking the path of the ball. The characteristics of the lamps themselves have as much to do with this as the position of the fixtures relative to the players. The same goes for the fans: their enjoyment and safety depends on them being able to see the action as it happens and not be blinded – even if just momentarily – by the lights.

On the other side of things, the lighting design should ensure there are no blind spots or shadows. Playing areas should be illuminated uniformly, as should the surrounding area. Otherwise, the players will struggle to adapt their vision from alternatingly looking into bright and dark areas.

Lighting uniformity is based on the ratio of minimum horizontal illuminance (Eh min) to average horizontal illuminance (Eh av). The value should not fall below 0.5.

The values given below for the lighting classes are minimum values. Planning values should be at least 15-25% higher.

The following breaks down the different lighting classes for different sports. They apply to both LED and conventional floodlighting systems.

  • Class I: High performance training and competition (international and national levels)
  • Class II: Mid-tier competition (regional and local match competitions, training)
  • Class III: All-comers training, school and recreational sports

Stadium lighting systems: Lighting classes for competitions and games

Sport type Class I Class II Class III Class IV
100 fc. / 1,000 lux.
50 fc. / 500 lux.
30 fc. / 300 lux.
20 fc. / 200 lux.
Professional Sports
College Sports
Sports Clubs
Amateur Leagues
High School
Training Facilities
Elementary School

Floodlight poles and foundations for LED Stadium Lighting systems

Floodlight poles for stadiums are available in different heights and materials. When refurbishing a floodlight system, the existing masts do not necessarily have to be replaced. Often, new lighting fixtures can be mounted on to the current poles. 

The foundation of the floodlight poles is usually made of concrete, and its durability depends in part on the condition of the soil it is in. There is a risk that the floodlight masts will sag if the foundation has shifted, has weakened over time or was not properly poured and bonded upon initial installation. This will affect the lighting coverage on the field, and the safety of those using the field. An expert assessment of the light pole foundation should be carried out before deciding to reuse the existing structures for a lighting system upgrade. It may be the case that you have to reinforce or completely overhaul the foundation before going forward with your plans.

Light point height (lph) is the average height of the lights above ground level. For sports fields used for training, a light point height of approximately 60 feet to 70 feet is recommended. For competition facilities or training grounds for higher-level teams, the light point height should be 70 feet to 80 feet. The height of the system interacts with the stability of the poles, again driving home the importance of a foundation survey early in the process.

Lighting systems should be designed so areas of a court or field can be illuminated separately. This lets the facility save energy and money by not having to light a full pitch when, for example, only half the pitch is being used during training or small-side games.

Financing LED stadium lighting: What if there is not enough money?

Whether it’s a football field, tennis court, or baseball stadium, any sports facility will be enhanced by the construction of an LED floodlight system. At the very least, it allows the field to be used more hours per day, especially during the darker months of the year.

However, especially for smaller clubs and schools, the upfront costs of sports field lighting is not easily affordable. Therefore, as part of the planning, sports facility funding and financing, grants and tax credits should be examined.  These are available from all levels of governments to support sports facility construction. 

Another option is to launch a fundraising campaign  targeting companies or individuals. This has often led to success in the past. Athletes, club members,students and parents should take the lead on these initiatives.

Floodlighting systems can also be financed with loans. Together with banks, some floodlight manufacturers have developed their own financing options for this purpose. The installments can then be repaid monthly, quarterly or annually.

Tips for sports facility operators, cities, educational institutions and clubs

Sports facility operators and municipalities should define the use concept of the sports facility at an early stage and specify the requirements for the LED floodlighting system accordingly. Specialist planners and vendors should enter the conversation at an early stage to help nail down these details and provide an accurate quote. 

At the same time, facility managers should start working on the financing piece. They need to cultivate relationships with prospective sponsors, donors and grantors so the money will be there when they need it.

LED Stadium Lighting: Calculate costs at an early stage

LED sports ground lighting cost varies depending on the type of sport and the level of illumination. How the club plans on using the field – which sports, how often, how late, under what weather conditions, among other factors – will shape the details of the lighting system.  Baseball and soccer are two very different sports played on very different fields. A diamond should not have the same lighting system as a pitch!

If existing lighting infrastructure can be reused (for example lines and cables) the costs of installing LED lighting can be greatly reduced.

The costs for installing or renovating a sports field’s floodlight system can be calculated in detail with the help of our LED sports field lighting cost calculator.