AstroTurf

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This article is about the artificial grass. For the marketing and political campaigning practice, see astroturfing.
AstroTurf
Type LLC
Founded 1964
Headquarters Dalton, Georgia, USA
Key people Bryan Peeples - President
Jim Petrucelli - VP of Business Development
Troy Squires - Global Director of Sales and Marketing
Andy Belles - Brand Manager
Website astroturfusa.com

AstroTurf is a brand of artificial turf. The original AstroTurf product was a short-pile synthetic turf.[1] The prime reason to incorporate AstroTurf on game fields was to avoid the cost of laying natural turf, especially indoors.

An outdoor application for an AstroTurf field.

The original AstroTurf brand product was co-invented in 1965 by Donald L. Elbert, James M. Faria and Robert T. Wright. It was patented in 1965 and originally sold under the name "ChemGrass." It was re-branded as AstroTurf by company employee John A. Wortmann after its first well-publicized use at the Houston Astrodome stadium in 1966.

Early iterations of the short pile turf swept the major stadia, but the product did need improvement. Concerns over directionality and traction led Monsanto's R&D department to implement a texturized nylon system. By imparting a crimped texture to the nylon after it was extruded, the product became highly uniform.

In 1987, Monsanto consolidated its AstroTurf management, marketing, and technical activities in Dalton, Georgia, as AstroTurf Industries, Inc. In 1988, Balsam AG purchased all the capital stock of AstroTurf Industries, Inc. In 1994, Southwest Recreational Industries, Inc. (SRI) acquired the AstroTurf brand. In 1996, SRI was acquired by American Sports Products Group Inc. (ASPG).

While AstroTurf was the industry leader throughout the late 20th century, other companies emerged in the early 2000s. FieldTurf, AstroTurf's chief competitor in the early 2000s and today, marketed a product of tall pile polyethylene turf with infill. This third generation turf, as it became known, changed the landscape of the marketplace. Although SRI successfully marketed AstroPlay, a third generation turf product, increased competition gave way to lawsuits. In 2000, SRI was awarded $1.5 million in a lawsuit after FieldTurf was deemed to have lied to the public by making false statements regarding its own product and making false claims about AstroTurf and AstroPlay products.[2]

Despite their legal victory, increased competition took its toll. In 2004, SRI declared bankruptcy.[3] Out of the bankruptcy proceedings, Textile Management Associates, Inc. (TMA) of Dalton, GA, acquired the AstroTurf brand and other assets. TMA began marketing the AstroTurf brand under the company AstroTurf, LLC. In 2006, General Sports Venue (GSV) became TMA’s marketing partner for the AstroTurf brand for the American market. AstroTurf, LLC handled the marketing of AstroTurf in the rest of the world.[4]

In 2009, TMA acquired GSV in order to enter the marketplace as a direct seller. Despite baggage associated with the bankruptcy of the former brand owners, AstroTurf, LLC focused its efforts on research and development, which has promoted rapid growth since the acquisition. AstroTurf introduced a variety of innovative product features and installation methods, including AstroFlect (a heat reduction technology)[5] and field prefabrication (indoor, climate-controlled inlaying).[6] Sales of the 3D products, which feature a "RootZone" of crimped fibers designed to encapsulate infill[7] have especially grown. Adopters of the RootZone technology include professional organizations and colleges across the U.S.[8]

Product & Installation Timeline[edit]

1960s[edit]

1964

1966

  • First major installation of AstroTurf (ChemGrass) at the Houston Astrodome indoor stadium for the Houston Astros. The infield portion was in place before opening day in April, outfield was installed in early summer.

1967

1968

1970s[edit]

1970

  • The 1970 World Series is the first with games on AstroTurf (previously installed at Cincinnati's Riverfront Stadium), as the Reds play the Baltimore Orioles.[12]
  • The backyard of the Brady Bunch house between the service porch and garage and under Tiger's kennel is covered with AstroTurf.

1974

1975

  • The first international field hockey game is played on AstroTurf at Molson Stadium, Montreal.[14]

1980s[edit]

1980

  • The Philadelphia Phillies & Kansas City Royals play the entire World Series on Astroturf in their ballparks.

1984

  • AstroTurf installs the first North American vertical drainage systems in Ewing, NJ at Trenton State College (now known as The College of New Jersey).[15]

1989

  • The first E-Layer system (Elastomeric) is installed at William and Mary, as well as University of California, Berkeley.[16]

1990s[edit]

1993

  • The 1993 World Series was the fourth (and most recent) World Series to be played entirely on artificial turf, following those in 1980, 1985, and 1987, and the last to have any games played on turf until 2008. As of 2010, only two teams still play on artificial turf, and both are in the American League East and play on AstroTurf: the Toronto Blue Jays and the Tampa Bay Rays.

1999

  • Real Madrid C.F. (Spain) becomes the first European football club to purchase an AstroTurf system for their practice fields.[17]

2000s[edit]

2004

2005

2006

  • Knitted nylon short-pile turf (AstroTurf 12) installed for field hockey at Harvard University

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]