|Headquarters||Dalton, Georgia, USA|
|Key people||Bryan Peeples - President|
AstroTurf is a brand of artificial turf. The original AstroTurf product was a short-pile synthetic turf. The prime reason to incorporate AstroTurf on game fields was to avoid the cost of laying natural turf, especially indoors.
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.
Despite their legal victory, increased competition took its toll. In 2004, SRI declared bankruptcy. 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.
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) and field prefabrication (indoor, climate-controlled inlaying). Sales of the 3D products, which feature a "RootZone" of crimped fibers designed to encapsulate infill have especially grown. Adopters of the RootZone technology include professional organizations and colleges across the U.S.
Product and installation timeline
- 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.
- AstroTurf is first installed in an outdoor stadium—Memorial Stadium at Indiana State University in Terre Haute.
- 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.
- The backyard of the Brady Bunch house between the service porch and garage and under Tiger's kennel is covered with AstroTurf.
- The Miami Dolphins face the Minnesota Vikings on AstroTurf in Super Bowl VIII – Rice Stadium, Houston, TX.
- The Philadelphia Phillies & Kansas City Royals play the entire 1980 World Series on Astroturf in their ballparks.
- AstroTurf installs the first North American vertical drainage systems in Ewing, NJ at Trenton State College (now known as The College of New Jersey).
- The first E-Layer system (Elastomeric) is installed at William and Mary, as well as University of California, Berkeley.
- 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.
- Real Madrid C.F. (Spain) becomes the first European football club to purchase an AstroTurf system for their practice fields.
- AstroPlay installed at University of South Carolina Indoor Football Practice Facility
- Florida State University installs AstroTurf's XPE product
- Knitted nylon short-pile turf (AstroTurf 12) installed for field hockey at Harvard University
- Three AstroTurf XPE fields installed at Penn State University
- Old Dominion University installs AstroTurf 3D for football program at Foreman Field and Practice Field
- AstroTurf 3D installed at University of Oregon Rec Fields and Russell Training Center of the St. Louis Rams
- AstroTurf introduces new baseball product that replicates grass and clay. Baseball system is installed at Wichita State University
- AstroTurf selected as The Official Synthetic Turf of Major League Baseball and baseball systems are chosen by Toronto Blue Jays and University of Kansas
- Edward Jones Dome installs AstroTurf's Magic Carpet System, a fully retractable field, for the Saint Louis Rams
- AstroTurf 3D systems installed for football teams at University of Cincinnati, Citrus Bowl, Stanford University, University of Tennessee
- AstroTurf 3D systems installed for soccer and lacrosse use at Stanford University and James Madison University
- AstroTurf 3DXtreme introduced, which blends monofilament and slit film fibers for combined grass-like aesthetics and high durability. Installed at Home Depot Center for NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, played in early 2012
- AstroTurf 3D system replaces FieldTurf installation at Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium for Kansas State University's football team
- AstroTurf baseball product chosen by Kansas State University, Long Island University, The Ohio State University, Tampa Bay Rays, Virginia Tech
- AstroTurf XPE installed for Penn State's lacrosse field
- Boston College,Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Utah State University select AstroTurf 3D for football teams
- Indiana University and Vanderbilt University install AstroTurf baseball products
- Cornell University installs AstroTurf infield product for softball
- Intramural programs around the country install AstroTurf infilled surfaces, including James Madison University, Liberty University, Ohio State University, University of Tennessee, and Utah State
- Liberty University, Oklahoma State install AstroTurf for football
- Alamodome, Dallas Baptist University, University of Michigan, Southern Illinois University select AstroTurf baseball products
- 4 out of 16 host sites for 2013 NCAA Baseball Tournament feature AstroTurf baseball surfaces
- AstroTurf GT+ soccer field is FIFA certified at Marshall University
- Four 3DH fields at Evergreen Sportsplex in Leesburg, VA are FIFA certified
- Field Hockey pitches surge - short pile AstroTurf 12 installed at University of New Hampshire, Northeastern University, USA Field Hockey Training Facility at Virginia Beach, Stanford University, University of Iowa, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Boston University, Ohio University, Bowdoin College, Spooky Nook Sports Complex, Yale University
- US 3332828
- Topic Galleries - baltimoresun.com[dead link]
- About AstroTurf
- 1970 World Series by Baseball Almanac
- FOX Sports on MSN - AstroTurf Turf Talk - Turf Talk
- Percival Molson Memorial Stadium
- The College of New Jersey Athletics - Lions' Stadium
- Marshall Press Release
- News & Events - SRI Sports - International - Field, Track, Indoor, Tennis Systems & Services