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Company typeSubsidiary
Founded1964; 60 years ago (1964)
Key people
  • Heard Smith (CEO)
  • Philip Snider (COO)
OwnerEquistone Partners Europe
Footnotes / references

AstroTurf is an American subsidiary of SportGroup that produces artificial turf for playing surfaces in sports. The original AstroTurf product was a short-pile synthetic turf invented in 1965 by Monsanto.[2] Since the early 2000s, AstroTurf has marketed taller pile systems that use infill materials to better replicate natural turf.[3] In 2016, AstroTurf became a subsidiary of German-based SportGroup, a family of sports surfacing companies, which itself is owned by the investment firm Equistone Partners Europe.[1][4]


Close-up of astroturf

The original AstroTurf brand product was invented by James M. Faria and Robert T. Wright at Monsanto. The original, experimental installation was inside the Waughhtel-Howe Field House at the Moses Brown School in Providence, Rhode Island in 1964.[5] It was patented in 1965 and originally sold under the name "ChemGrass." It was rebranded as AstroTurf by company employee John A. Wortmann after its first well-publicized use at the Houston Astrodome stadium in 1966.[6] Donald L. Elbert patented two methods to improve the product in 1971.[7][8]

Early iterations of the short-pile turf swept many major stadiums, 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.

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, meant to mimic natural grass more than the older products. 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.[9]

UFCU Disch–Falk Field in Texas, utilizing an older-style AstroTurf surface that has since been replaced

Despite their legal victory, increased competition took its toll. In 2004, SRI declared bankruptcy.[10] 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.[11]

In 2009, TMA acquired GSV 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)[12] and field prefabrication (indoor, climate-controlled inlaying).[13] AstroTurf also introduced a product called "RootZone" consisting of crimped fibers designed to encapsulate infill.[14]

In 2016, SportGroup Holding announced that it would purchase AstroTurf, along with its associated manufacturing facilities. The AstroTurf brand has operated since then in North America as AstroTurf Corporation.[15]

In August 2021, AstroTurf became the official supplier of artificial turf to the United Soccer League, who run soccer leagues at the second, third, and fourth tiers of the U.S. men's soccer pyramid and the second tier of the U.S. women's soccer pyramid.[16]


AstroTurf (pictured in the outfield) inside the Houston Astrodome during a June 7, 1969, contest between the Houston Astros and St. Louis Cardinals



  • 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.




  • 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 Brady to lay the turf was owned by his college roommate, who had just started a landscaping business after returning from a combat tour in the Vietnam War with the 18th Engineer Brigade. In keeping with studio instructions, no direct mention of the war in Vietnam appeared in the script. The scene in which the installation takes place was ultimately cut, so never appeared in the series.[21][22][23]


AstroTurf installed at Busch Stadium in St. Louis (photo taken in 1975)
Cincinnati Reds shortstop Barry Larkin playing on AstroTurf at Riverfront Stadium, October 1990
The Indianapolis Colts lining up for a play (on AstroTurf) against the Green Bay Packers in 2004 at the RCA Dome




  • The Kansas City Chiefs home field of Arrowhead Stadium and the Kansas City Royals home field of Royals Stadium (now Kauffman Stadium) open in Kansas City, Missouri, with AstroTurf playing surfaces.
  • Dictator of Cuba, Fidel Castro, is attacked by a young dissident while opening an Astro Turf pitch at a sports centre in the outskirts of Havana. The dissident was tackled by security seconds after he had landed his first punch on Castro. Castro suffered only minor injuries; the dissident was believed to have been excecuted


  • The Buffalo Bills' home field of Rich Stadium (later Ralph Wilson Stadium, and then Highmark Stadium) opens in Orchard Park, New York, with an AstroTurf playing surface.



  • The first international field hockey game is played on AstroTurf at Molson Stadium, Montreal.[26]



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



  • The St. Louis Cardinals and Kansas City Royals play the entire 1985 World Series on AstroTurf in their ballparks.


  • The St. Louis Cardinals and Minnesota Twins play the entire 1987 World Series on AstroTurf in their ballparks.




  • The 1993 World Series, between the Philadelphia Phillies and Toronto Blue Jays, was the fourth World Series to be played entirely on artificial turf, following those in 1980, 1985, and 1987.


  • Real Madrid C.F. (Spain) becomes the first European football club to purchase an AstroTurf system for their practice fields.[29]


  1. ^ a b "Ownership". AstroTurf. 19 April 2016. Archived from the original on 23 September 2020. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  2. ^ Faria, James M. and Wright, Robert T. (1965) "Monofilament ribbon pile product" U.S. patent 3,332,828 assigned to Monsanto
  3. ^ "History". AstroTurf. 2016-05-16. Archived from the original on 2017-06-06. Retrieved 2017-05-30.
  4. ^ "AstroTurf Sale to SportGroup Finalized". AstroTurf. 2016-08-20. Archived from the original on 2017-08-01. Retrieved 2017-05-30.
  5. ^ "Gallery: First Experimental Artificial Grass Field Installed". 20 June 2016.
  6. ^ Weeks, Jennifer (2015). "Turf Wars". Distillations Magazine. 1 (3): 34–37. Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  7. ^ Elbert, Donald L. (1968) "Synthetic turf products having variable blade widths" U.S. patent 3573147A
  8. ^ Elbert, Donald L. and Wright, Robert T. (1969) "Pigmented fiber-forming nylon composition" U.S. patent 3565910A
  9. ^ "Southwest Recreational Industries, Inc. Reaffirms Jury Decision". prnewswire.com. 8 January 2001. Archived from the original on 10 August 2014. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  10. ^ "SRI's bankruptcy puts customers on new turf". Austin Business Journal.
  11. ^ "History Timeline – AstroTurf". astroturf.com. Archived from the original on 2013-04-08.
  12. ^ "AstroFlect". astroturf.com. Archived from the original on 2013-09-26.
  13. ^ "Prefabrication". astroturf.com. Archived from the original on 2013-09-26.
  14. ^ "RootZone". astroturf.com. 29 November 2016. Archived from the original on 24 June 2016. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  15. ^ "SportGroup Holding Purchases AstroTurf, SYNLawn, and Associated Manufacturing Operations | | AstroTurf". Archived from the original on 2017-08-01. Retrieved 2016-07-12.
  16. ^ USLSoccer com Staff (30 August 2021). "United Soccer League Announces Multi-Year Partnership with AstroTurf". United Soccer League. Retrieved 30 August 2021.
  17. ^ "History Timeline | AstroTurf". astroturf.com. Archived from the original on January 4, 2014.
  18. ^ "Topic Galleries". Baltimore Sun.
  19. ^ "How did Astroturf Become so Popular?". ThoughtCo.
  20. ^ "About AstroTurf". Archived from the original on December 12, 2010.
  21. ^ "The exterior vs. the interior of the Brady Bunch house and architecture in TV and movies". April 29, 2012.
  22. ^ "Socio-cultural Analysis: The Brady Bunch | Social History of Television: Charlotte Hudnutt". blogs.lt.vt.edu.
  23. ^ "A Very Brady Post: 6 Secrets from The Brady Bunch Vault". www.mentalfloss.com. November 5, 2008.
  24. ^ "1970 World Series by Baseball Almanac".
  25. ^ "Turf Talk with Archie Pt.1". FOX Sports. Archived from the original on 2007-02-25.
  26. ^ "Percival Molson Memorial Stadium".
  27. ^ "Lions' Stadium". The College of New Jersey Athletics.
  28. ^ "Marshall Press Release". Archived from the original on 2007-10-31. Retrieved 2007-02-04.
  29. ^ News & Events – SRI Sports – International – Field, Track, Indoor, Tennis Systems & Services Archived February 25, 2007, at the Wayback Machine

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