AstroTurf

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AstroTurf
Corporation
Founded 1964
Headquarters Dalton, Georgia, United States
Key people

Heard Smith – Chief Executive Officer

Troy Squires – President

Jim Petrucelli – VP Strategy
Website astroturf.com

AstroTurf is a brand of artificial turf playing surface. The original AstroTurf product was a short-pile synthetic turf.[1] Since the early 2000s decade, AstroTurf has marketed taller systems that utilize infill materials to better replicate natural grass.[2] The prime reason to incorporate AstroTurf on game fields is to avoid the cost of laying and maintaining natural turf and to maximize hours of usage. Today AstroTurf is a member of the SportGroup, a family of sports surfacing companies.[3]

History[edit]

AstroTurf installation at Boston College's Alumni Stadium

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 a company employee named John A. Wortmann after its first well-publicized use at the Houston Astrodome stadium in 1966.[4]

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 since the early 2000s, 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.[5]

Despite their legal victory, increased competition took its toll. In 2004, SRI declared bankruptcy.[6] Out of the bankruptcy proceedings, Textile Management Associates, Inc. (TMA) of Dalton, Georgia, 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.[7]

In 2009, TMA acquired GSV in order to enter the marketplace as a direct seller. AstroTurf, LLC focused its efforts on research and development, which has promoted rapid growth. AstroTurf introduced new product features and installation methods, including AstroFlect (a heat reduction technology)[8] and field prefabrication (indoor, climate-controlled inlaying).[9] AstroTurf also introduced a product called "RootZone" consisting of crimped fibers designed to encapsulate infill.[10] This product has been adopted by many professional organizations and colleges in the United States.[11]

In 2016, SportGroup Holding announced that it would purchase AstroTurf, along with its associated manufacturing facilities. The AstroTurf brand now operates in North America as AstroTurf Corporation.[12]

Product and 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; the outfield was installed in early summer.

1967

1968

1969

  • The backyard of The Brady Bunch house between the service porch and garage and under Tiger's kennel is covered with AstroTurf. According to script development notes, the installation firm hired by Mike to lay the turf was owned by his college roommate who had just started a landscaping business after returning from a combat tour in Vietnam with the 18th Engineer Brigade. However, in keeping with strict studio instructions no direct mention of the war in Vietnam ever appears in the script. The scene in which the installation takes place was ultimately cut and so never appears in the series.[17][18][19][20][21][22]

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.[23]

1973

1974

1975

  • The first international field hockey game is played on AstroTurf at Molson Stadium, Montreal.[25]

1980s[edit]

1980

  • The Philadelphia Phillies and Kansas City Royals play the entire 1980 World Series on AstroTurf in their ballparks.

1984

1989

1990s[edit]

1993

  • The 1993 World Series was the fourth (and last) 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 2017, only two MLB 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.[28]

2000s[edit]

2004
2005
2006
  • Knitted nylon short-pile turf (AstroTurf 12) installed for field hockey at Harvard University
2007
2008
2009

2010s[edit]

2010
2011
2012
2013

2014

2015

2016

References[edit]

  1. ^ US 3332828 
  2. ^ "History". AstroTurf. 2016-05-16. Retrieved 2017-05-30. 
  3. ^ "AstroTurf Sale to SportGroup Finalized". AstroTurf. 2016-08-20. Retrieved 2017-05-30. 
  4. ^ Weeks, Jennifer (2015). "Turf Wars". Distillations Magazine. 1 (3): 34–37. 
  5. ^ "Southwest Recreational Industries, Inc. Reaffirms Jury Decision". prnewswire.com. 8 January 2001. 
  6. ^ "SRI's bankruptcy puts customers on new turf". Austin Business Journal. 
  7. ^ "History Timeline – AstroTurf". astroturf.com. Archived from the original on 2013-04-08. 
  8. ^ "AstroFlect". astroturf.com. Archived from the original on 2013-09-26. 
  9. ^ "Prefabrication". astroturf.com. Archived from the original on 2013-09-26. 
  10. ^ "RootZone". astroturf.com. 
  11. ^ "Installations – AstroTurf". astroturf.com. Archived from the original on 2013-05-15. 
  12. ^ "SportGroup Holding Purchases AstroTurf, SYNLawn, and Associated Manufacturing Operations | | AstroTurf". Retrieved 2016-07-12. 
  13. ^ "History Timeline | AstroTurf". astroturf.com. Archived from the original on January 4, 2014. 
  14. ^ Topic Galleries - baltimoresun.com[dead link]
  15. ^ [1]
  16. ^ About AstroTurf Archived December 12, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  17. ^ Exterior vs interior of the brady bunch house
  18. ^ 18th Engineer Brigade Homepage: History Archived 2007-10-24 at the Wayback Machine.
  19. ^ Socio-cultural analysis of the Brady Bunch
  20. ^ Write it funny or they'll cut it: famous scenes that never made it to the sit com screen
  21. ^ Brady Bunch secrets and hidden back stories revealed in old production notes
  22. ^ The Brady Bunch Goes to Saigon: Season One DVDs reveal some striking connections between the resilient clan and the Vietnam War
  23. ^ "1970 World Series by Baseball Almanac". 
  24. ^ "Page Not Found". FOX Sports. Archived from the original on 2007-02-25. 
  25. ^ "Percival Molson Memorial Stadium". 
  26. ^ The College of New Jersey Athletics - Lions' Stadium
  27. ^ Marshall Press Release
  28. ^ News & Events - SRI Sports - International - Field, Track, Indoor, Tennis Systems & Services Archived February 25, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]