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The latest company updates, industry news, and expert analysis from FSG.

Don’t Let Poor Court Lighting Leave You in a Pickle

Are you the only person in America who hasn’t heard about Pickleball?  The fine folks over at USA Pickleball want to change that!

That’s right.  Pickleball has a national governing body, official rules, official tournaments, and official rankings.  Pickleball is the real deal, as far as legitimate sports go, and you can bet the elite players work hard to qualify for the top tournaments.

And what do those top tournaments all have in common?  State-of-the-art pickleball facilities, that’s what!

And what do excellent pickleball facilities all have in common?  You guessed it: they have the latest, greatest, brightest, most energy-efficient, low-cost LED court lighting.

Big-time pickleball demands nothing less.

Sports Facility Owners “Relish” the Opportunity

So imagine your recreation center, country club, tennis center, or multi-purpose sports complex has some tennis courts that haven’t been seeing much action lately.  What are you going to do?

Converting tennis courts to pickleball courts can be as easy as breaking out a tape measure and rolling out some new paint to mark the lines.  On the other hand, many facilities are investing in brand-new pickleball courts to take advantage of the growing national trend.

Sometimes facility lighting upgrades are required because of system failures, or natural lifespan issues.  Still, no matter how long you knew the day was coming, lighting equipment failures always arrive like brand-new bad news at just the wrong time.

Then again, there are times when a facility upgrade is wrapped up in an exciting new opportunity – like pickleball – and the project can feel like an injection of optimism for facility owners.

At night, players want to have quality lighting on their tennis & pickleball courts.
Source: iStock

When it comes to riding the pickleball wave remember this: new courts need new lights, and refurbished courts take on a whole new glow when old, expensive HID lights are replaced with crisp, new, low-OPEX LED.

A Business that Demands Quality Lighting

Owners of athletic and sporting facilities understand that daytime hours are only the beginning.  The real opportunities to meet your facility goals happen when the sun goes down.

Sports hobbyists as well as serious ballers keep a gym bag in the car and head over to the courts in the evening, after work.  That’s why gyms and athletic centers are so busy at night.

To give the people what they want, sporting facilities invest heavily in outdoor lighting.  At many sporting facilities across the country today, those initial investments in lighting have long ago shifted from supporting facility success to actively working against it.

Legacy lighting fixtures typically feature high-intensity discharge (HID) lamps such as mercury vapor, metal halide, and high-pressure sodium.  Each of these lighting technologies was a breakthrough in its day, but in the modern world they all deliver only one thing: sharply rising costs.

Rising Costs Put the Squeeze on Sports Facilities

For quite a while now, we have been arguing in favor of a transition to LED lighting for all the obvious reasons.  The energy savings are remarkable, the reduction in maintenance costs is verifiable, and today’s tunable LED lamps offer a wide variety of options for facility managers with particular environmental requirements.

What we have not done before, however, is point out the very real expense associated with continuing on with legacy lighting technology.  Sadly, the time has come to speak directly to the negative cost impact of an ongoing relationship with High-Intensity Discharge (HID) lighting technologies like metal halide, mercury vapor, and high-pressure sodium

High-pressure sodium and other HID lighting sources are costing you more money than you realize.
Source: iStock

The truth is, with the widespread adoption of LED technology, lighting manufacturers have been finding it more and more difficult to prioritize these legacy product lines.  As government incentives and legislation continue to promote LED, legacy lighting manufacturers are being squeezed, and rising costs for legacy lighting technology are getting passed on to consumers. 

If there is any good news, it is this: LED lighting rocks!

The Time for LED Is NOW

In the past, there may have been legitimate reasons for you to delay the transition to LED lighting for your sports facility.  Today, cost is no longer one of them.

For many facility owners, the cost associated with maintaining legacy lighting systems has become prohibitively high, and it simply does not make sense to stick with HID lighting.  For those facility owners, we would respectfully request that you get in touch with us today.

Are you worried about financing your pickleball lighting project?  We have programs and plans that take the stress out of LED retrofits.

Do you wish you knew more about available rebates and utility incentive programs?  FSG can match you with every available rebate and incentive in your area.


Can you be sure that the lighting products you select for your facility are quality products that will last as advertised?  We’ve been answering this question for over 40 years.

Our national lighting distribution business is built on a long history of solid relationships with leading lighting manufacturers.  Our relationships with these companies pay off for you, in the form of the longest warranty protection periods available anywhere today.

Will the installation work go smoothly, with minimal disruption to your normal operations?  In a word, absolutely.  And in the unlikely event that there is a problem, FSG will not leave until the job is complete and you are completely satisfied.

We Make It Easy

At FSG, we take great pride in anticipating problems and avoiding them altogether.  Our experience with LED sports lighting retrofit projects allows us to make the process seamless for you.

When you give us a call, we will begin a four-step process that is the same for almost every lighting project we undertake:

1. Design a Solution

Once you contact us, we will go to work designing a lighting solution that meets your particular needs and supports your particular goals.

2. Execute the Solution

Once we have designed a solution for you, our commercial lighting specialists will get busy, coordinating their efforts with you to minimize disruption to your normal operations.

3. Evaluate the Solution

During the life of the project, FSG will continually evaluate the effectiveness of your lighting solution to make sure it meets your needs and supports your goals.

4. Maintain the Solution

Because we are commercial lighting contractors, we are uniquely qualified to support and maintain the lighting solutions we provide our customers.  You will be able to enjoy the full benefits of your new facility lighting for years to come.

Create An Experience

When you renovate old tennis courts for pickleball or break ground on a new pickleball facility, you are delivering an experience to your customers that they will loyally support.  Sometimes the project is relatively small, and sometimes facility owners make a bold move.

In 2018, the French Open tennis tournament went all-in. On the last day of that year’s event, the demolition crews arrived. They were there to renovate, rebuild, and re-imagine a venue that had been in operation for almost 100 years. 

In addition to adding state-of-the-art facilities and a retractable roof to Center Court, the crews also broke ground on entirely new courts. By adding a “greenhouse”-style sunken court, complete with retractable lighting fixtures, the tournament expects to sell somewhere around 150,000 extra tickets to upcoming events. 

The lighting upgrade at the Roland-Garros in Paris was long overdue, considering where the rest of the tennis world was with lighting at the time. The facility owners made their move not just because better lighting can help your existing business, but to set themselves up for success in the future. 

So now you’re thinking about hosting pickleball tournaments at your court facility. (OK, so maybe not the French Open, but maybe the Springfield Invitational.) Ask yourself how new lighting can actually create an opportunity for additional revenue.  And when you consider energy-efficient LED, think about how facility OPEX savings can arrive hand-in-hand with that new business!

Choose Wisely

At sporting facilities, lighting upgrades are a big decision. Perhaps no one understands that more than an NFL team. 

With stadiums that dwarf entire city blocks and host nearly 100,000 fans every week, NFL teams know both the costs and the opportunities that come with an extensive stadium lighting overhaul. 

For sports facility owners with this much on the line, experience and reliability are paramount considerations.  Lighting contractors are everywhere, but who do facility owners trust with mammoth lighting retrofit jobs at this scale?

FSG was selected as the lighting contractor on a project to design and install an LED lighting solution at NRG Stadium, home of the Houston Texans. With our years of experience in this industry, the resources of thousands of employees and hundreds of subcontractors, along with the dedication necessary to get the job done right, FSG was the logical choice for the Houston Texans organization.


So, as you can see, the size of your sports lighting project will not be a problem for us.  Whether you’re interested in re-lighting a high school football stadium or basketball arena, or you are considering expanding your facility operations to include pickleball courts, FSG is here for you.

Our teams of designers, managers, technicians, and maintenance experts are standing ready to help you bring the light to your customers and your athletes. Don’t let poor lighting stand in the way of giving you the most customer-centric experience in your market.

We Are Ready to Talk to You Right Now

Give us a call at (877) 293-6689 or visit our website today. Bring us your most challenging sports lighting questions!

When you contact FSG or visit our online store, you’ll immediately have access to lighting and electrical professionals who can walk you through the decisions you need to make about your facility’s lighting.  We’re working hard to be of service to you, and we’re ready when you are to discuss your situation.

If you are finally ready to say “Yes” to pickleball and  “No” to rising prices for legacy lighting components, there is no better time than right now to reach out.  

For individual facilities, multiple properties, or a large national lighting retrofit rollout, we can walk you through the process from specification to installation to project management, all with the ultimate goal of maximizing the ROI for your facility. 

We look forward to hearing from you!

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