You can tell just by looking at the huge banks of floodlights and flashing video screens that stadiums use electricity on an industrial scale. There are also the sound systems, the comfortable club seating, luxury boxes, as well as kitchens for food and even air conditioning and heat for enclosed domed stadiums. You really can’t help but wonder, how much electricity does a stadium use?


How Much Is The Electric Bill For Stadiums?

As it turns out, the all-encompassing answer to that is it’s complicated.

It all depends on a whole lot of things: the time of year, the local climate, the stadium’s age, size, number of seats, lighting, maintenance operations, offices, how much space needs to be climate-controlled, does the stadium have a dome, is the dome retractable, and does it make its own energy? While stadiums might all appear to be just big buildings, each one is purposely built to be different — making it unique to its city and purpose. Baseball and football stadiums, no matter if they are built to accommodate both sports, are all designed to be different from other cities. And the same goes for practically ANY sports arena complex, world-wide.


How High Is Football Stadium Energy Consumption?

Based on everything mentioned, it can vary between reasonable to mind-blowing. In 2013, the University of Arkansas Razorback Reporter quoted data from the university’s Office for Sustainability saying the 77,000-seat Razorback Stadium racked up a yearly electric bill of $562,550.61. This included 6 home football games, one spring game, and several practices during the 2012-2013 season. However, 63% of Razorback Stadium’s consumption occurred outside of the August to November football season. The reason is that the south wing of the stadium houses the day to day operations, including maintenance shops and a kitchen.

Contrast that the AT&T Stadium in Dallas. The domed football stadium covers 73 acres and seats 80,000 people in air conditioned comfort under the Texas sun. Toss in the world’s largest hi-def TV screen (70 feet by 160 feet) and the estimated peak power consumption rolls in at a jaw dropping 750 megawatts. What does that add up to on steamy afternoon in late August when just the wholesale price for electricity is hovering around $30 per megawatt/hour (mWh)? An awful danged lot!

Football stadiums have gotten bigger and fancier over the years, and there's seldom a fan that doesn't appreciate stadium climate control. But that does increase the cost of electricity, especially during the height of unfavorable weather. Of course, there are more sustainable examples out there, such as Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. One of five U.S. stadiums recognized by the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, the 69,176 seat stadium is one of the greenest in the world with 11,000 solar panels and 14 wind turbines, producing more than four times the power it uses during a season of home games.


How Much Do Stadium Lights Cost To Run?

One of the most iconic parts of a football stadium, stadium lights  are one feature you'll see in any venue. In stadiums, there is usually a huge distance from the light source to the field. Getting optimum uniform lighting coverage that benefits plays, fans, and TV coverage presents a major challenge to lighting engineers. For years, metal halide lamps were the state of the art stadium lighting. The problem was that they not only used huge amounts of power, they had to be replaced frequently, took long times to warm up to full intensity, and wasted a lot of energy as heat, causing thermal stress.

With those kinds of costs, it’s not surprising that most stadiums have either converted or are in the process of converting to LED lighting systems. Not only are they more energy efficient, they have longer lifespans, reduced maintenance costs, and light up faster —all for half the cost (or less) of the old metal halide bulbs. Plus, digital control systems allows stadium lighting designers to better control individual LED bulbs and reduce usage further during peak demand hours or when there’s plenty of sunshine.

Are you a fan of creating your own stadium and watching sports from the comfort of your home? Keep that big screen's energy bill in check with an electricity plan from Direct Energy! We have the tips and tools you need to track your usage and stay energy efficient.