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Large Sporting Playing Field with Difficult Lighting Positions

Large Playing Field Case Study

Please click here to view or purchase the product LITE-BR-FLC-480W used or recommended for this application.

Existing Lighting System

The owners of this large playing field measuring approximately 145m x 110m used for cricket, soccer, football, hockey, etc., sought to upgrade the existing poor lighting system. The initial brief was to seek a solution to upgrade the existing 10 x 1500W metal halide flood lights in the three aging light towers whilst not installing any additional lighting poles. Typically an oval this size would have at least four evenly spaced lighting poles/towers in an oval shape, but for some reason this oval had a 6 pole design with only three poles in situ in a rectangular shape, as if they had run out of money for the remaining poles. So the challenge was to install specialised LED flood lights on the three existing poles whilst projecting sufficient light into the dark areas of the oval.

Two of the lighting towers/poles on the South side were each using 4 x 1500W metal halides and the single tower on the North side was using 2 x 1500W metal halides. The existing light levels were in the range of 8 lux up to 30 lux with very poor uniformity. The dark patches were particularly problematic on the West side due to the poor pole placement.


Sporting Oval Recommended Lighting Levels

The Australian Standards for Sports Lighting specify different lighting levels for different sports and different levels of competition such as recreational, amateur, semi-professional and professional.

For example, recreational and amateur level lighting suitable for training lighting specifies a maintained horizontal illuminance of 50 lux. This matches the requirements of the case study so our target lighting level will be an average of 50 lux.

For your interest club level competition or match practice lighting levels for football or semi-professional training are specified as 100 lux. Whereas semi-professional light levels for competition/match practice is 200 lux. Professional competition or match practice lighting levels for football is a massive 500 lux.

Other lighting levels exist for various grades of netball, basketball, tennis, lawn bowls, etc., but these will be dealt with in other case studies.

Metal Halide Replacement Options and Considerations

Whilst with sporting clubs there are always budget constraints the members on this occasion were very keen to consider the best possible products.

We offered them a choice of four different 500W LED flood lights as shown below in Table 1 which meet or exceed the output of a traditional 2000W metal halide. Whilst the 500W LED floods do not match the lumen output of the 2000W metal halide our experience shows that the actual light on the ground is very similar or in many cases more. This is due to the inefficiency of the omnidirectional bulb of the metal halide where light is effectively lost due to being projected in all directions rather than just towards the ground. As a result the metal halide relies on the efficiency of the reflector which often is not optimal.

In addition, depending on the age of the metal halide lighting system, the lighting output of the bulb degrades to approximately 65% after 5000 hours and 50% after approximately 10,000 hours so you are never seeing the original output of the metal halide light.

In contrast, in the case of the LEDs there is very little degradation with an output still maintained generally above 90% at over 40,000 hours of operation, given the LED flood lights are well engineered and the LEDs are kept cool.

In addition, in the case of the LED flood lights, the LEDs have a natural beam angle of approximately 120° so 100% of the light essentially points down towards the ground. Lenses are generally used to focus the light to narrower angles so the LED lighting system is very efficient.

Therefore, experience suggests LED flood lights in the range of 400W to 500W are enough when replacing up to 2000W metal halides but the beam angle needs to be carefully selected.

Each of these LED flood light models having various trade offs such as low cost and lower light output versus higher cost and higher light output including our class leading 140 lm/W LITE-BR-FLC-480/500 Sporting Oval Flood Light. Other considerations were the weight rating of the existing poles so the LITE-SHL-HB-500W was a definite consideration at only 10kg each and a reasonable output of 130 lm/W.

The final issue was given the sporting oval is in a residential area we needed to make sure the light is kept away from the neighboring houses and avoiding light spillage, particularly given we would be increasing the light level and spread of the light. This would require careful aiming of the lights and selection of the best beam angle. 

1000W, 1500W and 2000W Metal Halide Replacements with 480W to 500W LED Flood Lights What Beam Angle and Power Level to use?

Whilst our LED flood lights are available in up to 1000W LED Flood Lights we generally find the 360W to 400W or 480W to 500W LED Flood light options to be suitable for lighting sporting ovals for training purposes for football, soccer and rugby. Our LED flood lights in the 760W, 960W and 1000W power range also come with considerably more cost so cost wise the 480W/500W LED flood lights usually are more economical.

In addition, whilst each of the LED flood lights are available in multiple beam angles such as 10°, 30°, 45°, 80°, 90°, or 120° and even oval or rectangular beam patterns such as 60° x 100°, for this large oval application with the poorly placed and limited tower/pole numbers we suggested the 30° flood lights would be most suitable.

10° LED Flood lights or Spot Lights are really only suitable for very large stadiums with stadium seating and very high lighting towers of greater than 20m or for spot lighting of finishing lines or other areas where greater light/lux levels are required.

In the case of the medium beam LED flood lights such as the 80°, 90° or 60° x 100° LED flood lights these LED flood lights are very good for lighting smaller ovals such as soccer or football ovals or smaller ovals or courts requiring high lighting levels such as tennis, basketball, netball or lawn bowls courts.

The traditional 30° Narrow beam LED flood lights are ideal for large oval applications where the light has to be projected well over to the other side of the oval or into the centre of the oval with medium beam LED flood lights do not have the same depth of projection.

So the options provided were narrowed down to the following LED flood light options:


Power (W)

Lumens Total

Eff. lm/W

Beam Lens Angle °

Dist. (m)

Meas Ø (m)

Av. light Lx

Max Light Lx















































What is the best LED flood light for this large sporting oval application?


1. LITE-SHL-HB- 500W dual purpose LED Flood Light - Highbay

The LITE-SHL-HB-500W dual purpose LED Flood Light/Highbay arguably gives the best bang for your buck at approximately $750 to $820 each inclusive of shipping door to door and depending on quantity. We typically recommend this light for sporting clubs on a budget.

Applications where a light weight flood light is required such as telescopic mast systems for police rescue or SES service vehicles or portable lighting equipment given the LITE-SHL-HB-500W has a mass of 10kg which is class leading and relatively light weight. It is also very useful for retrofit applications where the lights that are being replaced are of relatively low mass and the pole rating does not permit use of the heavier flood lights.

The only limitation of this light is it cannot operate in high temperature applications > 40 ~ 45°C which is not a problem in an outdoor sports area at night. It may be a problem in a hot roof space or indoor sporting arena during the day without air conditioning. However, this same light can be configured in 300W to 400W to increase its temperature tolerance for hot indoor applications.

The LITE-SHL-HB-500W LED Flood Light can also be supplied in a dual configuration producing a total of 1000W.

2. LITE-BR-FL-480W Stadium Series Flood Light

The LITE-BR-FL-480W Stadium Series Flood Light available in configurations from 240W to 960W / 1000W is a premium commercial grade flood light for all sporting and factory/industrial applications. It is our tried and tested product and consistently outperforms its 2000W metal halide replacement. At 125 lm/W it remains a very efficient output.

It is the largest and heaviest of our 480W/500W flood lights at approximately 20kg so load ratings of poles and fixtures needs to be a consideration when retrofitting this light.

3. LITE-BR-HB-500W dual purpose LED Flood Light - Highbay

The LITE-BR-HB-500W is a dual purpose LED Flood Light/Highbay which has essentially been replaced by the LITE-BR-FLC-480W but offers some additional beam angles where versatility is required. As the oldest flood light in this group it still maintains a good but the lowest efficiency at 120 lm/W.

4. LITE-BR-FLC-480W Premium High Output LED Flood Light

The LITE-BR-FLC-480/500W is new for 2018 utilizing the new Philips LUXEON 5050 LEDs in the 120° wide beam angle reaches a class leading output of 160 lm/W or 76,515lm at 480W. It can be used as a flood light or highbay and is used in applications where maximum efficiency and maximum light output is required. The LITE-BR-FLC-480/500W is a high quality flood light weighing in at approximately 17kg.

The 30° narrow beam version of the LITE-BR-FLC-480/500W uses last years Philips LUXEON 3030 LEDs but still reaches a class leading efficiency of 141lm/W.

DIALUX Lighting Simulation 1

We ran an initial Dialux lighting simulation comparing our tried and tested LITE-BR-FL-480W Stadium Series Flood Light and our economy range LITE-BR-HB-500W dual purpose LED Flood Light. Remarkably as shown below the LITE-BR-FL-480W Stadium LED Flood Light shown on the left half of the oval did not provide as even distribution as the LITE-SHL-HB-500W on the right half. Although the LITE-SHL-HB-500W does have slightly higher light output so that can partly account for the better distribution.

We could have improved on the lighting distribution of both the LED flood lights shown but we were a still a little short on light with an average illuminance of 36 lux. We could have also improved on this by swapping out the LITE-BR-FL-480W on the left side of the oval with the slightly higher output LITE-SHL-HB-500W on the right side of oval given the increase in output is approximately 8%.

However, we wanted to see how the higher output LITE-BR-FLC-480/500W would go so as it has an almost 12% increase in output over the LITE-BR-FL-480W Stadium LED Flood Light so without haste we went to the next simulation. This would surely meet our 50 lx average light requirements without having to go up a category to much more expensive 760W or 1000W LED Flood lights. In addition, there is also the option of using the LITE-BR-FLC-480/500W in 10° which may prove useful in projecting light across the court into the dark corners.

Note there are 8 flood lights on each of the top poles (20m high) each pointing entirely on one half of the oval. The furthest pole has 8 lights, with 4 pointing to the right half of the oval and the other 4 pointing to the left. 


Figure. 145m x 110m sporting oval showing lighting distribution comparing 12 X LITE-BR-FL-480W on the left to 12 x LITE-SHL-HB-500W on the right.

DIALUX Lighting Simulation 2

In this next simulation we used the high output LITE-BR-FLC-480/500W. So far we have installed only six flood lights on the pole, one is a 120°, four are 30° and one is 10°. We plan to add another two 10° floods to project out into the middle of the field and possible swap out some of the 30° with more 10°.

You can see even with only six LITE-BR-FLC-480 high output LED Flood lights we already have greater light intensity and are now exceeding our 50 lx target. You can see the single 10° LED flood light beam on the left hand side projecting out almost to the other side of the oval. 

Check back soon to see what result and final lighting combination that we come up with.