How to Light up a Basketball Court

The NBA playoffs have begun, and while LA’s favorite team didn’t quite make the cut, we’re still rooting for the other LA team to represent our city. Along with March Madness wrapping up, now’s a good time to see what it’ll take to light up a basketball court. Most of you are probably not taking on NBA sized lighting projects. But regardless, the steps below will help you decide how many fixtures you need to illuminate a basketball court.

Take Your Gym’s Measurement

There are two steps you must take before purchasing luminaires to light up your basketball court. First, determine if your project involves an indoor or outdoor court. Then find out the court’s measurements. Most are high school court sized so our dimensions will be 84 feet in length and 50 feet in width. The ceiling’s minimum height must be at least 16 feet so that it doesn’t interfere with play. The higher the ceiling, the less likely the ball will hit it so we recommend a 24-foot mounting height if possible.

The next step is to measure how much light you need per square foot (foot candles) to fully illuminate your basketball court. You can find the amount of required foot candles by using a light meter. Because we are using a high school court, we will need 75 foot candles.

Now that you have your measurements, you can input them in one of many online resources available. Choose from many modeling software like AGi32, a powerful model builder that can simulate architectural environments. For our purposes, we will be using the Visual Interior Tool by This is a free modeling tool that helps you find out how many fixtures you’ll need. It will also tell you how far apart to install each commercial light.

Once you’ve inputted the dimensions, select an LED high bay that closely resembles the fixture that fits your budget. Generally the higher the lumen output, the fewer fixtures you’ll have to use.

Indoor Lights

Because your indoor basketball court likely has a high ceiling, you’ll need to use high lumen LED light fixtures. We recommend the 265W or 325W LED linear high bay light, either of which require 6-8 units to be used. Athletes may not know their own strengths when throwing basketballs, so if this is a concern we suggest using our UFO LED high bay light. These are made of diecast aluminum and can be mounted using a yoke for a very secure installation. Make sure your LED lights have diffusers since glare may also become an issue.

Outdoor Lights

You won’t need lighting as powerful as LED high bays for outdoor courts since the night sky provides contrast. You can use 2-4 LED shoebox lights or floodlights. This depends on whether your court is a half or a full, and how many courts you need to illuminate.

Are you ballin' in the dark, or have the best court vision? Let us know in the comments below. And follow us on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn for more tips and updates! Whatever the case, glare will inhibit your ability to drive to the basket or shoot the 3. Check back next week to learn how to reduce it.