Tennis is a globally-adored sport played by millions, and its popularity is only increasing as time goes by. It’s a great sport for kids, and its professional scene is quite popular. If you’ve ever seen a game of tennis, you probably noted some of its most characteristic elements. Two or four players battle it out on a flat surface with their racquets using fuzzy tennis balls. The placement of net and lines are uniform across matches as you would expect. However, there’s another crucial element that affects players and spectators alike—the lighting.
With how much visual focus tennis players need to play the sport, proper lighting is absolutely essential for both amateur and professional matches. While playing during the day is an option, tennis is a sport that’s also played indoors and at night, meaning that high-quality lighting is required. The amount of lighting and its spread has an enormous impact on the quality of play.
The question is—What is the best possible approach for illuminating a tennis court? There’s no simple answer to this question, but there are a few approaches worth considering. Here, we’ll cover this topic and explain what makes for good tennis lighting and how most courts handle it.
How important is lighting for tennis?
Unlike many other sports, tennis has incredibly high standards for lighting. This is due to the high-speed movements of the balls when playing, as seeing them can be tough in bad lighting conditions. A tennis player needs to be able to see the ball moving, and improper lighting can make this a major issue.
At the same time, the players can’t be distracted by the lighting fixtures. If there’s a lot of glare or high-intensity lighting pointed towards them, they may have the same issue with visibility. This is especially important to consider for events such as tournaments, where there are regulated standards for lighting. Despite the incredibly high requirements for tennis court lighting, there are many options on the market. Choosing one of them can be difficult, as they vary in terms of quality and cost significantly.
Tennis court light design
When it comes to light design, tennis courts have high requirements. Multiple light sources are necessary, and they must be spaced out properly to accommodate the court and audience areas. Usually, light sources are located relatively close to the playing area, and they have a standard height of around eight meters.
The total wattage of a tennis court may vary, but it hovers around four hundred watts. A standard tennis court requires around 500 lux of illumination. Larger installations, such as areas that host tournaments, will have different requirements. This also goes for certified arenas that host major tournaments and can expect larger crowds.
Minimizing glare is a top priority in tennis court lighting design, as it can affect both players and audiences. For this purpose, the angle and number of lights are adjusted, and the bulbs are chosen carefully to minimize intense lighting in specific areas. In modern arenas, LED lights are used to reduce eye strain for tennis players, as they cause minimal glare. Anti-glare accessories are always recommended for these purposes as well.
What types of lights are used for tennis courts?
As we’ve mentioned, there’s a wide variety of lighting options for tennis courts. Here are a few examples.
A popular option for tennis court lighting is the metal halide lamp. These court lighting fixtures have been used for outdoor tennis courts for a long while now, and they have their benefits and downsides. While they may provide effective illumination, they can cause unnecessary delays due to their startup time. It takes around fifteen minutes to turn them on to full illumination. The startup time is slow, and any issues with electricity or bulbs can make them a pain to use. If something trips a wire or there’s a malfunction, it will take another fifteen minutes to get them going again. They also use quite a bit of electricity, which is worth noting.
High bay lights
High bay lights are a staple of indoor tennis courts. They are specifically designed for use on high ceilings, and they offer intense illumination for spacious indoor sports areas. They are relatively easy to install and repair, and getting necessary parts for repairs isn’t a common issue. They consume quite a bit of electricity, and accessing them can be tricky without the help of professionals.
LED light fixtures are among the best lighting options for tennis courts. Their incredible versatility allows for diverse forms of lighting that can illuminate both indoor and outdoor tennis arenas. They can be used in various different lighting fixture types, including the ones used for high bay lights. The high amount of illumination that these bulbs provide is incredibly helpful for tennis courts, as even a few LED floodlights can increase visibility to match professional standards.
The hefty price tag for most LED lights can be considered a downside, but it comes with a silver lining—LED lights consume a lot less electricity than other lighting options. While they may be quite the investment at the beginning, the investment pays for itself eventually.
As lighting is so critical for tennis courts, regular maintenance and adjustments are essential to keep the lights fully functional. Many smaller tennis venues may lack proper lighting, or it may be considered subpar by professional standards. In these situations, improving the lighting options at some point is recommended. However, before they can be improved, assessment is necessary.
If the goal is to improve the lighting approach for a tennis court, the current infrastructure should be inspected and compared to the industry standards. Installing new lights is difficult without ascertaining the capacity of the court and electrical infrastructure. The weight and sail area of the lights has to be considered before they are installed in a court, as existing fixtures may not be able to support them.
To complete an assessment, tennis court owners should consult professional lighting experts first and foremost. They can determine the quality of the current infrastructure and suggest upgrades that will best suit the court. Older lighting options, such as metal halides, aren’t always recommended for newer tennis courts. LEDs have become the go-to choices in recent years for their many benefits, and low energy expenditures are one of them. This can lead to major energy savings for tennis event organizers. At the same time, outdoor courts may have different requirements due to frequent weather changes. This can also be solved with LED lights, as they are quite durable.
Tennis is a sport that depends on proper lighting quite a bit. Both players and spectators need good visibility for the court, and this can make setting up illumination a major challenge. Not only does the light need to be intense and evenly spread out, but it must also cause minimal glare and eye fatigue. With this in mind, there are many approaches to choose from for modern tennis court lighting.
To match the needs of professional tennis players, it’s recommended that tennis courts go over the standards set by sports regulatory agencies. The types of lighting used vary, and many different lighting options can be incorporated well enough to match standards. Nowadays, LED lights are considered to be the top choice, as they cause minimal complications and use as little energy as possible—making them the best option.