The broad-beamed, strong artificial lights known as floodlights are often used to illuminate large or outdoor playing fields while a sports event is being held during low-light conditions. In the top tiers of many professional sports, it is a requirement for stadiums to have floodlights to allow games to be scheduled outside daylight hours. Evening or night matches may suit spectators who have work or other commitment earlier in the day. The main motivation for this is television marketing, especially in sports such as Gridiron which rely on TV rights money to finance the sport. Some sports grounds which do not have permanent floodlights installed may make use of portable temporary ones instead.
Darwen FC have reportedly the first floodlit satdium. Floodlighting in association football dates as far back as 1878, when there were floodlit experimental matches at Bramall Lane, Sheffield during the dark winter afternoons. With no national grid lights were powered by batteries and dynamoes, and were unreliable. Lights were later be used by clubs such as Thames Ironworks, but they stopped the practice after joining the Southern League in 1888.
In the 1930s, Herbert Chapman installed lights into the new West Stand at Highbury but the Football League refused to sanction their use. This situation lasted until the 1950s, when the popularity of floodlit friendlies became such that the League relented. The first floodlit Football League match took place at Fratton Park, Portsmouth on February 22, 1956 between Portsmouth and Newcastle United.
Floodlights may cause light pollution.