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FIH latest affiliate member of ESTC

EMEA Synthetic Turf Council (ESTC) is pleased to announce that the Fédération Internationale de Hockey (FIH) has joined ESTC as an affiliate member. The affiliate membership enables FIH to interact directly with the synthetic turf industry and to participate in the various ESTC knowledge forums.

ESTC Director General Stefan Diderich calls the membership a milestone for both the synthetic turf industry and the international hockey community. “FIH and ESTC share the ambition of sustainable and durable synthetic turf fields that don’t compromise on affordability and game experience. Having FIH onboard will help speed up the process as ESTC represents the entire synthetic turf value chain for synthetic turf for different applications. FIH will certainly also benefit from knowledge gained or best practises observed in other synthetic turf applications and which our members have achieved.”

Hockey, through the innovative leadership of the FIH, has over 40 years’ experience of playing on synthetic turf fields and now fully embraces this type of playing surface, using it for all high-level competitions. Looking to the future, the FIH is working with the synthetic turf industry to develop surfaces that perform as desired, but without the need to water them first.

Commenting on the FIH joining the ESTC, Jon Wyatt, FIH Sport and Development Director, says that playing on synthetic turf has made hockey the fast, exciting and technically skilful game that is now played by millions of people around the world. By joining the ESTC, the FIH will be able to strengthen its relationships with the companies producing the surfaces that hockey needs. It will also help to ensure that FIH is part of the debate as questions around sustainability, maximising opportunities and returns on investment and environmental considerations become ever more important.

Synthetic turf helps MLB to deliver

Since the American Major League Baseball organization targeted Europe as a key growth market, it knew upfront that the stakes would be high for any baseball game played on European soil. The London Olympic stadium was identified as being the perfect venue. The synthetic surface temporarily installed for the fantastic event delivered the finishing touch.

Following successful baseball campaigns in Australia, Japan, Mexico and Puerto Rico, American Major League Baseball (MLB) decided that the time had come to bring the game to Europe. They were well-aware that they were in for a massive challenge. The sport certainly has a significant following in Europe but finding a suitable venue would be a challenge of a different magnitude as there is no baseball-specific venue in Europe that could accommodate large groups of fans. Knowing that Londoners are ‘big event-goers’ and that the English capital hosts sold-out events frequently, the suggestion of MLB to consider the former London Olympic Stadium was well-received. The presence of an athletics track meant that the dimensions of the venue would afford enough space to fit a baseball field. Being a former Olympic venue, London Stadium still has many, if not all, facilities and quality standards that the MLB considered vital to delivering a game of huge magnitude. As the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees quickly expressed specific interest in participating in the London Games, the MLB knew that it had secured all the ingredients necessary to establish a new benchmark. All that was left was to set for a date that would allow the preparation of the field at a time where the climate conditions would be best.

London Olympic Stadium is the home ground of West-Ham United F.C. and their summer break would be the best time-frame to change the field into a baseball field. With a concert scheduled for 1 June and a Diamond League athletics meeting scheduled for 20 and 21 July, dates in late June were be the only possibility left. All parties settled on 29-30 June 2019 to host two Boston Red Sox vs New York Yankees games.

Flexible solution

With only three weeks to establish a field and another three weeks to return the venue to its official state, the decision was made to install a synthetic turf surface. Natural grass was not an option due to the little time available for the installation of the field, as well as the fact that, once removed, it couldn’t be used again in 2020. The 2019 event is the first part of a two-year deal. With rain hampering the preparations during 16 of the first 18 days, the organizers certainly counted their blessings for settling on a synthetic turf surface.

FieldTurf was contracted to produce the surface. They shipped over 15,000 square meters of its FieldTurf Vertex carpet from their plant in Auchel, France to the London venue. The carpet combines six ridged monofilament fibers that are tufted with one slit film fiber per tuft. This combination delivers an exceptional resilience and contributes to an appearance and behavior that resembles a natural turf field. A mixture of standard SBR, cryogen SBR and sand provides players with the required stability. Clay for the pitcher’s mound and home plate area, as well as dirt for the infield, was shipped in from the USA.

For the preparations, installation and removal of the field, MLB relied on input from local partners. They awarded the project to Hewitt Sportsturf and Slatter Sports Construction. Both companies are local partners for ESTC member FieldTurf Tarkett. J&E Sports, another ESTC member, was subcontracted to the project. All in all, 110 experts from the various companies were on site day and night, resulting in on-time delivery and the removal of the field in just under three days. All components used are currently safely stored in a warehouse near London to enable the use of synthetic turf for the 2020 games again.

Well received

The two games in London were the first ever at which the Red Sox faced the Yankees outside the USA. They were also the first in which both teams competed on synthetic turf. It didn’t bother either the management or players of either team. ‘It’s the first Yankees-Red Sox game out of the country, so why not a lot of firsts?‘ New York pitcher CC Sabathia remarked when asked by an AP reporter. ‘I think it will be fine,’ he added. Synthetic turf is the surface of choice in many USA lower league baseball competitions. It is also the surface used for the home grounds of MLB teams Tampa Bay Rays and the Toronto Blue Jays. ‘I am assuming it’s like Toronto’s or Tampa’s, so it shouldn’t be an issue,’ Yankees manager Aaron Boone said in the same AP article. Boone received support from Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts. ‘If we had never played on turf, it would be different, but we’ve played on turf.’

All in all 50 runs were scored with the Yankees winning both games, the most ever in consecutive games between the Yankees and the Red Sox. More importantly, both games broke or met several records in MLB history. The three first-inning home runs the Red Sox had in the second game was an accomplishment that matched their earlier feat in their August 14, 1979 game. The eighth-inning homer by Didi Gregorius during this game extended the Yankees’ record of consecutive games with a home run to 31. The first game lasted for 4 hours and 42 minutes, three minutes shorter than the longest nine-inning game in MLB history. The 30 total runs scored during this game, were the second-most ever. Most importantly, perhaps, the attendance of 59,659 was the highest at any MLB game since September 28, 2003. Such attendance truly reflects the viability of hosting MLB games in Europe, while the temporary synthetic turf surface has proven its worth. ‘Around a third of the spectators at the baseball games came from overseas, generating millions of pounds for London’s hotel, restaurant and retail industries,’ London Stadium CEO Graham Gilmore said while pointing out how his venue and London had benefitted from the game. The London Stadium alone sold 80,000 pints of beer, 10,000 hotdogs and 2,600 bags of monkey nuts.

More in stock

The 2019 games were part of a two-year agreement. If things work out well, they might soon be considered the curtain-raiser for much more than just four games. ‘We are in advanced talks with MLB about a new contract from 2021 onwards,’ Gilmore announced. He knows already that in June 2020 the London Stadium will host the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs. Both clubs also have a long-standing rivalry that will certainly fuel a need for victory.

Baseball fans all over Europe are eager to learn what will happen after next year’s games. Rumour has it that France is also keen to host a baseball event. If that is the case, MLB could follow suit with the American NBA and NFL and start incorporating European venues in its regular calendar. One thing for sure is that there is no need to worry about the surface or the ability of the synthetic turf industry to meet all requirements. Based on the several new records that have been set and feedback received from the fans, it can truly be said that they managed to deliver.

Kilmarnock F.C.

With over 149 years of history, Kilmarnock F.C. is not only the oldest Scottish Premiership club but also the oldest professional football club in Scotland. The team from East Ayrshire Although hosts their games at Rugby Park which is one of only two stadia in Scotland with synthetic turf pitch.

This ground has been used by the club since 1899. In 1994/95 it underwent a major redevelopment and became an all-seater stadium with a capacity of 17,889. The synthetic turf has been installed on Rugby Park before 2014/15 season. Besides New Douglas Park in Hamilton, Rugby Park is the only stadium in Scotland with synthetic turf pitch and is not only capable of hosting football matches but also serves for concerts and rugby players. In fact, the match between Scotland and Georgia played on 26 November 2016 was the first rugby union international match featuring  a tier 1 nation to be played on artificial surface. The 3G top-quality pitch obviously meets current quality guidelines from FIFA and UEFA.

Killie (the nickname for Kilmarnock F.C.) has avoided relegation in their first season they played on the synthetic turf pitch, hence accomplished their goal for season 2014/15. Club’s manager-at-that-time Allan Johnston has welcomed the new synthetic turf with such words then: “This is a fantastic step by the club and the prospect of training and playing at Rugby Park is really exciting for everyone associated with the first-team squad. Having our own training base and using a top-quality surface with consistent characteristics all year round will be much better for the players.”

All Kilmarnock F.C. youth teams have also started to conduct training session on the artificial turf pitch. Concerts, e.g. the one of Elton John’s have also been organized on the renovated Rugby Park. The entire object became a seven day per week facility‎ and the hub for all of the club’s activities. Also, open training sessions became a regular event. Apparently, the decision to modernize the stadium and install the synthetic turf pitch has had a very good outcome on Kilmarnock’s form in the long term – after avoiding relegation in the season following installation of the synthetic turf, they have consecutively achieved better league positions and currently they are 5th in the Scottish Premier League which is their best result in years. Killie fans are definitely looking forward to the future to see their side battle in European competitions in the upcoming years.

TigerTurf launches a new video channel at TigerTurf.tv

This month sees TigerTurf launch a new online video site, TigerTurf.tv, giving customers, consultants, architects and others interested in artificial grass an easy to access reference website for videos of TigerTurf projects.

As well as the website, TigerTurf.tv is also available as a free iPad app and can be downloaded here or through AppStore on your tablet.

TigerTurf.tv contains five different sections: Sports, Landscape, Projects, Partners, and TenCate. Each section contains video content relevant to the heading.

  • Sports – TigerTurf videos showing sports pitch installations, interviews with sports facilities’ staff and other sport-specific clips.
  • Landscape – TigerTurf videos showing guidance for landscape installation and maintenance as well as other landscape-specific clips.
  • Projects – Videos featuring TigerTurf facilities.
  • Partners – Videos made by TigerTurf Partners.
  • TenCate – Videos made by our parent company, TenCate.

Across the five sections, TigerTurf will regularly add new video content to provide viewers with interesting and informative clips about our products and projects and the great work our Partners do.

If you have a TigerTurf video that you would like to see added to TigerTurf.tv, please email it to UKmarketing@tigerturf.com.

Hockey Stadium Upgraded with Elite Xtreme Turf Hockey Surface

Professional water-based synthetic turf system offers the optimal playing surface for field hockey stadium in Malaysia.

Hockey players at Stadium Hoki MBPJ, Petaling Jaya, now have one of the top quality hockey pitches in the world, certified to FIH Global as an elite level playing surface.

The new synthetic turf was part of a series of upgrades at MBPJ Stadium, which also included 706 new stadium seats, building enhancements, and new mechanical pumps. All upgrades have been monitored by the Malaysian Hockey Federation to ensure the stadium is on par with international standards.

The hockey pitch was expertly installed by SportsTech Pro, based in Kuala Lumpur. The company removed the existing surface, and prepared and installed an in-situ shockpad and synthetic turf on-site. The pitch features Act Global’s Xtreme Turf NFH13-MF, a professional, water-based hockey system. The system includes advanced texturized fibre technology and glass-reinforced primary for a highly durable surface. The water layer helps lower friction to create a flat, fast pitch for high speed of play. A short, dense turf pile gives excellent traction and surface stability to enhance player footing, stick movements and ball roll for a technically accurate game.

The system has been certified to FIH Global level, which indicates it is suitable for International and Olympic Level play.

As a preferred FIH Supplier, Act Global is committed to working with the FIH to grow the game of hockey and provide top-quality pitches around the world. The initiative is aimed at ensuring good quality hockey fields are built for all levels of play. By providing consistent and dependable standards for hockey turf installations worldwide, the program will promote player welfare and protect the investment of those funding hockey facilities.

About Act Global

Act Global is a world leader in synthetic turf technology, with manufacturing facilities on three continents and sales in more than 70 countries. The company carries a full range of products for sports (Xtreme Turf and Xtreme Grass), landscaping (Xtreme Lawn), aviation (AvTurf) and land reclamation (LiteEarth). Act Global is a FIFA Preferred Producer for Football Turf, Synthetic Turf Council Certified Manufacturer, World Rugby Preferred Turf Producer, FIH Preferred Supplier, and holds ISO 9001 Certification. Its products have undergone hundreds of independent laboratory tests for quality, durability, safety, environmental soundness and performance. For more information, visit http://www.actglobal.com