LED Soccer Stadium Lights

Soccer stadiums and arenas are becoming more popular in the U.S. and are similar to football stadiums in their construction and lighting needs. Some stadiums, including some that were used in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, are used for both sports, so their lighting for events have to showcase the entire field! Soccer is up and coming now, but how can LED light fixtures create an even better viewing experience?

What is LED stadium lighting good for?

LED stadium lights are a more energy efficient, cost effective, and provide a more optimal light output. A great led lighting design should allow an even distribution of light across the playing field for both indoor and outdoor venues. Most LED arena lights include a folded aluminum fin in their design to help dissipate excess heat on energy sports lighting LED fixtures which improves broadcasting light quality and enhances the overall lighting experience. These qualities are beneficial to viewing the game because they improve broadcast lighting quality, enhance the overall lighting experience, and improve the playing time.

What types of LED lights are used in soccer stadiums?

Soccer stadiums typically use either LED flood lights or high bay lights, as you may have seen during the FIFA World Cup. These lights can typically be manually controlled; however, the problem with traditional lights is the type of bulb that is commonly used. They have become problematic when it comes to energy efficiency because they don’t provide much of it. Stadiums generally require a high intensity of light with some fixtures reaching as high as 200,000 lumens per fixture, which is why LED light bulbs would be more beneficial!

Keep in mind, energy efficiency isn’t the only benefit to LED lighting. Find out why stadiums across the country are making the switch to LED outside lights!

To Replace or Retrofit: That is the Question

The most common type of lights used for stadium lighting are Metal Halide, High Pressure Sodium, or Mercury lamps. Not only are these lights less energy efficient, but they are going out of style. Retrofitting fixtures with LED light bulbs has recently been a hot topic, and while for certain lighting projects it is the most cost-effective option, we recommend replacing your fixture altogether. When deciding to make the switch from these traditional lights to LED outside lights, there are a few things to take into consideration.

  • The age of your current lighting system
  • The amount of brightness you require to light your space
  • The wattage to lumen ratio to find the right LED replacement

Replace Your Fixture

A standard metal halide floodlight for soccer is generally 2000W with a brightness of about 200K lumens. This means that for each watt, this MH bulb can offer a brightness of 100 lumens. For a fraction of the energy consumption, you could replace your old 2000W MH light with a 500W LED flood light for the same amount of brightness. The LED replacement would offer 400 lumens per watt. That’s an energy savings of 75%!

If you need help converting to LED, check out our LED conversion chart!

LED Replacement

MH Wattage

HPS Wattage

Average Lumen Output




110,000 – 140,000








400,000 – 520,000

How to determine the level of lighting

There are different levels of play that require different lighting of sports light LEDs. Often, these are measured in footcandles and lux depending on what you are trying to measure, and which LED light fixtures are being measured, such as high bay lighting fixtures.

Uniformity ratio is the ratio of the max number of foot-candles divided by the minimum number of foot-candles required on the court’s surface. This is measured to help make sure there are no dark areas on the field and the sports lamp is evenly dispersed.

Lux is the total amount of visible light that illuminates a space or surface in all directions and is the standard unit for illuminance.

Footcandles are the measure of light (lumens) in 1 square foot. To measure this, you can use a level light meter. Below is a chart of which lighting outputs different levels of play require for their amount of space for arena lights:

Levels of Play

Horizontal Light Levels

Vertical Light Levels


Grid Spacing

National Championship

125 footcandles

125 footcandles to center main side high camera; 75 footcandles to end line camera


30 ft. x 30 ft.

National Broadcast

100 footcandles

100 footcandles to center main side high camera; 60 footcandles to end line camera


30 ft. x 30 ft.

Regional Broadcast

75 footcandles

75 footcandles to center side high camera; 45 footcandles to end line camera


30 ft. x 30 ft.


50 footcandles



30 ft. x 30 ft.

*A footcandle is equivalent to 1 lumen per square foot*

*1 footcandle = 10.76 lux*

What are the benefits to LED fixtures in soccer arenas?

LED lights provide superior illumination and are long lasting. The typical life span of LED flood lights or LED High Bay lights is 35,000 hours, which averages to about 4 years if on 24/7, so over time it will last you almost 3 times that! They also create a better viewing experience for you by creating better TV lighting, special effects, and improve the overall watching experience with HD viewing. In addition, retrofitting existing light fixtures to LED lights will lower both utility and maintenance costs over time by not having to be replaced as often.

Some other benefits for using LED stadium lights are:

  • Reduce Glare: Because LED lights include more flexibility and dimmability, they can lower the glare with their standard glare shield and are aimed specifically so they are out of the line of sight from both players and spectators.
  • Remove Shadows: The direction the lights face also help eliminate the shadows by creating uniformity for soccer stadium lights.
  • Eliminates Flicker: As for the flicker, LED flood lights are instant on and off and don’t require additional warming up time, and LED lights are best for spectators to look at because the uniformity creates a balanced light that doesn’t require their eyes to constantly adjust.

What are some standards and requirements for soccer stadium lighting?

4-6 LED pole placement guide,6-8 LED pole placement guide

Different soccer stadiums have different light pole locations, but the main designs include side or corner lighting. Minimum pole heights are determined, by Football NSW, UEAF, and others, based on if you are using a side pole or corner pole and the distance from the center of the pitch to the base of the pole location. (3) According to NCAA regulations, “the sizing of soccer fields should follow these recommended guidelines: Width - 65-80 yards, Length - 110-120 yards, Optimum size - 120 yards x 75 yards, and any new facilities should be a minimum size of 115 yards x 70 yards.” (2)

Side Lighting - With side lighting, it is recommended that there are two poles on each side of the field for optimal lighting. There should not be any poles placed behind the goals or within the 10 degree arc within the front or back of the goal line.

Corner Lighting – For corner lighting, it is recommended to use a four or six pole design. The poles should not be mounted within 15 degrees on either side of the pole, and they should be at least 5 meters outside behind the boundary fence or Principle Playing Area. (1)

What are you waiting for? Make the switch to LED! Replacing your fixtures now can save you so much more energy and money in the long run and bring a bigger return on your investment. Lots of stadiums are making the switch to LED, why shouldn’t you? Try to outdo the stadiums that were shown during the 2018 FIFA World Cup and create a stadium that allows all of the players and spectators to see what they’re cheering for!

For more information about LED Arena Lighting.

For more information about LED tennis court lighting.

Danielle Abram
Danielle Abram

Danielle is a classic wordsmith and unapologetic user of the Oxford comma. Her experience includes blog posts, technical copy, social media copy, email marketing, product descriptions, scripts, and so much more. In other words, there's no limit to what she can write about!

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