Sports Lighting is one of the most common types of projects we work with and one of the most requested and utilized fixtures we sell. LED Lighting has changed and has become more efficient since its inception. This is why more baseball and softball fields are upgrading their Metal Halide fixtures to more energy-efficient and cost-saving LED Lighting.

The unique issue with baseball and softball fields is making sure the light levels in the infield are brighter than the light levels in the outfield. For most recreation-level to collegiate-level ball fields, there are typically 6 to 8 poles available. The most common configuration is 8 – 4 poles lighting up the infield and 2-4 poles lighting up the outfield.

LED sports lights are that unique combination of power, high-quality lighting, and optics. Choosing the right combination of lights can be tricky, if not for lighting plans. A lighting plan solves most issues with specialized software – before any money or commitment is made.

What follows are the best tips for lighting a softball field or baseball field with LED lights.

 

Softball Field Photometrics

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8 Tips to Help You Make Your Decision Baseball and Softball Lighting Decisions Easier

1. Lighting Plans are the #1 Key to Success.

The first thing to consider before buying LED lights is to create a lighting plan. This is because different fields will have different requirements. This includes pole height, field size, and expected foot candles. All of these factors will affect the number of fixtures a field will need. For example, a 4-pole softball field won’t require the same number of fixtures as an 8-pole baseball field.

A lighting plan is very important when lighting a ball field because it will distinguish between the infield and outfield when it determines how many foot candles are needed. It can also provide a visual representation of what the lighting will look like with a 3D rendering. This is significant because we can make changes as needed for customer satisfaction.

How Many Sports Lights Do You Need?

The number of sports lights a customer will need depends on many factors, which is why lighting plans are important. The number of fixtures that you will use will depend on the number of foot-candles required. This is also affected by pole height, pole location, and field size.

Lighting Plans take the risk out of purchasing lights. Scroll to the top of this page and ask for yours.

We have produced thousands of FREE lighting plans. We have several sports lights to choose from to meet almost any requirement or budget.

Baseball Imf 400 2

2. Pole Placement: Baseball Fields and Softball Fields

Most softball and baseball fields have a 4-, 6-, or 8-pole configuration. The more poles that are located around the field, the easier it will be to provide balanced, even lighting.

In most cases, it’s better to use taller poles than shorter poles. Taller poles allow the lights to work naturally because they provide more balanced, even lighting. It also has the benefit of preventing glare.

Baseball Lighting Plan 2
Baseball Field Light Plan
Baseball Lighting Plan
Baseball Field Lighting Plan
Softball Field Lighting Plan
Baseball Field Lighting Plan

3. Determine the Light Levels You Need – Think Lumens

The hardest part of thinking about light levels is learning that watts are not the same as lumens and higher wattage doesn’t always mean bright lights.

It’s important to understand what lumens per watt is. 

Once you understand that, then choosing the right fixture, with our lighting specialists’ guidance, should be easier. When selecting a fixture, it’s important to keep in mind pole height and field size. Using optics can help to shine the light further but sometimes it’s not enough and a more powerful fixture is needed to get the lighting that you need.

Regarding pole height, 40 feet is generally ideal. However, this may not be an option due to budget constraints. A tighter optic is the best option if you have a lower pole height since it can extend the range of the light using a smaller fixture.

Mason Field Panoramic

4. Foot Candle Requirements and Options

When lighting a softball field or a baseball field there are two sets of foot candles that matter: the infield and the outfield. The infield usually requires more foot candles than the outfield.

The standard amount of foot candles varies depending on what level of play the fields are being used for.

 

Softball Field and Baseball Field Foot Candle Guidelines

  • Collegiate (Televised): Infield: 100 FC, Outfield: 70 FC
  • Collegiate: Infield: 70 FC, Outfield: 50 FC
  • High School: Infield: 50 FC, Outfield: 30 FC
  • Little League: Infield: 50 FC, Outfield: 30 FC
  • Recreational: Infield: 30 FC, Outfield: 20 FC
Baseball Imf 400

5. Three Great Sports Field Light Options

There are three types of Sports Light fixtures we normally suggest. Each fixture has its ideal usage scenario, and our lighting specialists can help pick the right fixture for our customers’ projects. Normally, a shorter pole height will require something similar to the 200-Watt or 400-watt fixtures listed below, but this can be easily adjusted based on each customer’s needs.

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200 Watt Sports Light

 

These are a good lightweight fixtures, cost-effective. Great for small fields and short pole heights. Typically, best for 30/20 foot candles on fields.

  • Watts: 200
  • Lumens: 28000
  • Efficiency Rating: 140 lumens per watt
  • Replaces: 400-Watt Metal Halide
  • Optimal Color Temperature: 5000K
  • CRI: 70+
  • IP Rating (Wet): IP66
  • Voltages: Standard = 100V-277V. High = 277V-480V
  • Impact Rating: IK08
  • Mounting Options: Yoke | 2 3/8 Pole
  • Surge Protection: Available
  • Motion Sensors: Available

400 Watt Sports Light

 

These lights are one of our more popular items as they are a great “in-between” option and provide nice coverage at a good price point. These fixtures are pretty flexible between pole heights, foot candle requirements, and field sizes.

  • Watts: 400
  • Lumens: 56000
  • Efficiency Rating: 140 lumens per watt
  • Replaces: 1000-Watt Metal Halide
  • Optimal Color Temperature: 5000K
  • CRI: 70+
  • IP Rating (Wet): IP66
  • Voltages: Standard = 100V-277V. High = 277V-480V
  • Impact Rating: IK08
  • Mounting Options: Yoke | 2 3/8 Pole
  • Surge Protection: Available
  • Motion Sensors: Available

600 Watt Sports Light

 

These fixtures are great for large fields, minimal poles, and/or a high foot candle requirement.

  • Watts: 600
  • Lumens: 84,000
  • Efficiency Rating: 140 lumens per watt
  • Replaces: 1500-Watt Metal Halide
  • Optimal Color Temperature: 5000K
  • CRI: 70+
  • IP Rating (Wet): IP66
  • Voltages: Standard = 100V-277V. High = 277V-480V
  • Impact Rating: IK08
  • Mounting Options: Yoke | 2 3/8 Pole
  • Surge Protection: Available
  • Motion Sensors: Available

6. Make Sure You Know Your Voltage

The typical voltage ranges between 100 and 480 volts. LED drivers automatically switch to the incoming voltage, so there is no need to make adjustments. The typical voltage ranges are as follows:

  • ​​100V-277V (Standard)
  • ​​277V-480V (High Voltage Option)

Takeaway: LED Drivers will automatically adjust to the voltage that is coming in if it’s in the range that the fixtures are graded for.

7. Color Temperatures

By far the most practical color temperatures for outdoor baseball and softball fields are 4000K and 5000K. And between those two options, 5000K is the best when you are replacing metal halide lights. For High-Pressure Sodium Lights, either option will be a major improvement.

8. Selecting the Best Optic / Beam Angle

Selecting the right optic/beam angle is important to consider. A lighting plan produced by our product specialists will help determine what the best one is. Typically, choosing an optic is dependent on field size and pole height. With a shorter pole height, you’ll need to use a tighter optic. However, field size and pole distance will also determine what the best optic should be.

The good news is that a lighting plan will tell you the best optic/beam angle to use. It’s not uncommon to specify different beam angles for outfield versus infield lighting.

Video Resources to Help Educate You

Dwayne Kula

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About the Author

Dwayne Kula is President of LED Lighting Supply. On any given day, Dwayne is writing content for the site and helps manage the marketing initiatives that are on-going. He has a Software Engineering degree and still dabbles in writing software for the company as needed. When not working, he enjoys spending time with his family, working out, playing the occasional game of golf and exploring New England.

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