October 31, 2010 6:40 PM   Subscribe

Why are stadium lights on in broad daylight? I have been to pro-games, college games and high school games. All the daytime games have the full stadium lights blazing as if the games were being played in full darkness! WHY?
posted by GGMA to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total)
What sport(s) are you talking about? The vast majority of the sporting events I've attended have been professional baseball games, and this has not been my experience. In fact, in night games during the right part of summer I notice when they turn the lights on partway through.
posted by danb at 6:47 PM on October 31, 2010

Anecdotal and all, but i heard one of the many sports talking heads explain this once. His take was, that the lights are very finely tuned, as in pointed to specific places, and sometimes on a day when it is partly cloudy, or when the afternoon shadows make the field weird, they turn them on to compensate a bit. Me, I figure dude your making 50K for this game, squint dammit, but hey America's game and all.
posted by timsteil at 7:05 PM on October 31, 2010

Stadium lights help even out the picture on TV.
posted by dfriedman at 7:07 PM on October 31, 2010

This sounds plausible

I haven't noticed the fact that the lights are on when I have attended games (NFL, college football, MLB)
posted by UsernameGenerator at 7:07 PM on October 31, 2010

Stadium lights need to undergo a burn-in phase. This may be done during the day to avoid bothering people late at night.

Another example of burn-in.
posted by jedicus at 7:07 PM on October 31, 2010

All of the games? I don't even remember going to a day game (noon start, football or baseball) where the lights were on (other than the ones with thick cloud cover). However, any football or spring/fall baseball game starting after about 2pm is likely to be finishing in twilight, and trying to play during fading light is fairly difficult and the lights do get turned on fairly early -- well before they're actually noticeable on the field of play. Which is, of course, the point -- from the point of view of a player, you don't want a really noticeable transition between daylight and stadium light. Stadium lighting also eliminates a lot of odd shadows on the field, and compensates for the variable brightness that happens when a game is played in mostly cloudy conditions, when the sun only occasionally peeks out from behind the clouds. Also, it does take a while for the lights to come up to full power -- when we do the band exhibition at the local HS, the lights get turned on at 5pm, and don't fully warm up until 6pm or so.
posted by jlkr at 8:11 PM on October 31, 2010

There are absolutely stadiums where this happens. And I recall watching a game where this was addressed. The discussion centered around the batter being able to see the ball better with lights on as it moved from where is was sunny into the darkness of the shadow over home plate.

Given that I rarely watch a ball game that isn't a Cubs game I'd be willing to bet that's where I heard it.
posted by FlamingBore at 10:57 PM on October 31, 2010

I work in stadiums pretty regularly, I can attest to the fact that it is because of the shadow cast by the stadium itself. Once the sun starts to dip behind the top of the stadium the lights come on. It helps make the light even for the TV cameras and for the players. It's never done when the sun is high though, only when it is dipping towards the horizon.
posted by WickedPissah at 8:03 AM on November 1, 2010

Turning on the lights in the middle of a game could potentially give one team an advantage.
posted by clorox at 8:46 PM on November 1, 2010

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