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Complete stadium branding solution

Complete stadium branding solution: Scott MacCallum meets up with David Pritchard, Chief Commercial Officer for GroundWOW.

It was at Saltex in late 2019 that we first met. Neither of us had a crystal ball at the Show but 12 months on how is everyone at GroundWOW? Safe and well and finding a way to work…?

Amazing how quickly the year since Saltex has passed and I am pleased to report that we are in fantastic shape. As for our way of working, the team is well organised and ahead of the first lockdown, we put together a detailed plan that supported our transition to home working for as and when we’ve needed to.

Complete stadium branding solution

Complete stadium branding solution

The faith we had in our team and our processes through that period was paid back times over. Remote working during lockdown worked especially well on areas that sometimes struggle for airtime in a busy production setting.

That all sounds very positive. Does that mean you have you already reconciled the last 12 months and moved on?

Absolutely. Despite the many positives that occurred in GroundWOW during this difficult time, such as new products for the sports sector and in healthcare, I think we are all looking forward to moving on.

Looking back, what we ended up seeing was a split between organisations that were forced to wait for the pandemic ‘storm’ to pass versus others who had decided they would maintain business as usual as best they could. We saw two very different approaches to life “behind closed doors” and to be fair, both were entirely understandable. For anybody less familiar with our business, outside of core sports marking products, we manage a pipeline of development projects, some that we will deliver in to sport and others that leverage our modular technology and state of the art factory into other sectors. It is an approach we envisaged from the outset, endorsed and encouraged by our backers who are profoundly bought into the vision of our core autonomous robotic technology, and our wider RAAS (Robotics As A Service) offering. For them, that is all part of investing in a deep technology business. For us, it is this diversity of opportunity that minimises our exposure to any single sector.

Can you tell us any more about these other opportunities for your core technology?

Outside of sport, we are approached regularly with alternative use suggestions for GroundWOW’s multi-patented technology (now eight patents and counting!). A quick look through the newspapers and you can see that RAAS Technology businesses everywhere have continued to grow massively despite the pandemic.

In our case, it is easy to see how autonomous robotics might transition into transportation infrastructure or last mile delivery for example.

So, while our primary focus today is sport, it was our constant review of analogous markets that led us into discussions with the NHS in 2020. Appetite is all the way to the top of Government and as a result, we are delighted to have an offer currently under consideration for the whole of the Worldwide health care market.

Coming back to opportunity in sport, something we are regularly asked of our technology is, can it service any of our other wider needs. Well, I am pleased to exclusively announce that we’ll be unveiling something new for the sector very soon that will excite and delight everyone in sport – from the grounds crew to the Executive Board. As a self-sufficient manufacturer, we can take a project from the design phase to production readiness in literally a matter of days. But just because we can, doesn’t always mean that we will. Every idea must go via a rigorous research protocol to establish a meaningful strategic benefit, or otherwise.

How has the company grown over the last 12 months?

Commercially, we have continued to build relationships around the globe including with organisations who are either keen to deploy our technology or collaborate with us in their part of the world on one project or another. In the same way as so many others during the lockdown, we developed different ways to demonstrate our technology remotely, but hand on heart, I cannot wait to get back to more in person face to face conversations.

Team wise, we have recruited heavily over the last 12 months, building out a multi-national team of engineers and developers all based at our HQ, and we are still actively recruiting. The unwavering commitment to recruitment was also a clear signal to everybody else at GroundWOW that their livelihood was secure and the business still building proactively despite the biggest downturn in history.

Finally, with a larger team comes a larger space requirement and so we decided that we would accelerate our plans to create the Smart Factory we had envisioned from day one. We are thrilled with the result and the reactions from visitors. We occupy a large facility with an indoor test track in the middle and if you walked through the door today you could be forgiven for thinking you were in Silicon Valley rather than South Manchester.

World class teams deserve world class environments and we have taken huge steps in that direction to invest in our people and our customer journey.

Complete stadium branding solution

Complete stadium branding solution

The return of televised sport plays into your hands and I know you had big success at Cheltenham and Soccer Aid. Can you talk a little bit about those and some of the other major relationships you build during these difficult times?

Yes, Cheltenham and Soccer-Aid were like the book ends of a spring/summer period that is normally the prime time for sport in this country.

At Cheltenham, we installed for The Jockey Club’s headline sponsor (Magners) one week before the Festival and we ended up in lockdown a week after the actual event.

The Jockey Club were brilliant partners and hugely excited about new inventory facilitated by GroundWOW technology. As you might imagine, when you deliver an event of that profile, there is an inevitable spike in interest in the weeks and months that follow.

It was during Cheltenham week when Soccer Aid for UNICEF made their initial approach to ask if we would be interested to deliver pitch side branding for their main event sponsors at Old Trafford. As you now know, the original June date was postponed but we picked up in summer and delivered in September. Exactly like Cheltenham, delivering on a major stage like Old Trafford supercharges the level of inbound interest – but it is a nice problem considering these times of general uncertainty across the sector.

Relationship wise, our travel plans to certain parts of the world were put on hold. However, we found we were suddenly receiving a major level of interest from football. Typically, our discussions have been with proactive leaders looking for innovative logo and large-scale branding solutions to support their event delivery.

The other notable and enjoyable feature of our process is the sheer variety of discussions we are having with organisations who differ wildly in terms of available resources. Our technology is not cost-prohibitive and so we are able to engage prospects from all levels of sport.

What can you offer sporting events or sporting venues as revenue generating options during their televised/behind closed doors events?

This has always been the central proposition of GroundWOW, enabling a partner to drive revenue streams by printing sponsor brands and advertising logos on their real estate. Ie. sweating their asset. The main topics for discussion are either about selling pitchside real estate to matchday sponsors or in other cases, activating the pitch perimeter to drive added value for existing sponsors. We have all heard about spikes in TV audience figures and we know the value is always in fixed positions in front of the cameras.

That is what ground printed logos are.

The fact too that we run an autonomous vehicle and don’t rely on huge teams of people to carry out our work is also noteworthy given current stringent controls around stadium access.

What about opportunity outside of game day? You talk a lot about being a complete stadium solution, are these two elements related?

The main point here is that our conversations are not rooted in game day activations only. While conference and exhibition are largely stalled for now, non-game day brand activations are core GroundWOW opportunities.

In football for example, there may be 30 to 40 game days each year (depending on cup runs) but on the other 320 days, it is not uncommon for stadia owners to host multiple events every single day. In many cases, companies that hire out a venue are willing to pay for brand presence in incredible environments like stadia.

GroundWOW makes this possible, as the World’s first enterprise-wide ‘ground printer’ solution that literally anybody in the club can use. Not just the Grounds Team but also the marketing department, the sales department, the conference and exhibition team, and the charitable foundation. Teams have brought to us their own list of desired applications including end of season pitch days, stadium tours, car parks, media use, training grounds, concerts, wayfinding, grand scale art, product launches, partner films – that is what we mean when we talk about a complete stadium solution. Suddenly, the concept of a fully branded campus becomes a year-round reality.

For interested parties, what can they expect of a technology product business model?

Our business model is a really simple monthly subscription for Robot/ Software As A Service. Easiest analogy is a person’s mobile phone subscription. All relevant hardware and software are provided to the client including access to our full cloud infrastructure. How exciting is that?

You have grown the company significantly during the toughest economic downturn in our lifetime. What opportunities do you see for yourselves when we do get back to some sort of normality – whether that be in 2021 or heaven forbid, beyond that?

We feel good about where we are but we are sensitive to the proper process of emerging from lockdown safely. When the time is right, we’ll operationalise our growth plan further in sports marking and whole campus activation and we will also open offices this year in Australia and the United States. In the meantime, our new products in sport and healthcare, will continue to build value for us.

As history has shown, lots of innovative businesses have emerged and thrived as the result of a downturn exposing a need for things to change. We are looking forward with great optimism to whatever 2021 has in store. Watch this space.

The Complete Stadium Branding Solution

The Complete Stadium Branding Solution: Interview with David Pritchard, Chief Commercial Officer (david@groundwow.com)

It was at Saltex in late 2019 that we first met. Neither of us had a crystal ball at the Show but 12 months on how is everyone at GroundWOW? Safe and well and finding a way to work…?

Amazing how quickly the year since Saltex has passed and I am pleased to report that we are in fantastic shape. As for our way of working, the team is well organised and ahead of the first lockdown, we put together a detailed plan that supported our transition to home working for as and when we’ve needed to. The faith we had in our team and our processes through that period was paid back times over. Remote working during lockdown worked especially well on areas that sometimes struggle for airtime in a busy production setting.

The Complete Stadium Branding Solution

The Complete Stadium Branding Solution

That all sounds very positive. Does that mean you have you already reconciled the last twelve months and moved on?

Absolutely. Despite the many positives that occurred in GroundWOW during this difficult time, such as new products for the sports sector and in healthcare, I think we are all looking forward to moving on. Looking back, what we ended up seeing was a split between organisations that were forced to wait for the pandemic ‘storm’ to pass versus others who had decided they would maintain business as usual as best they could. We saw two very different approaches to life “behind closed doors” and to be fair, both were entirely understandable.

For anybody less familiar with our business, outside of core sports marking products, we manage a pipeline of development projects, some that we will deliver in to sport and others that leverage our modular technology and state of the art factory into other sectors. It is an approach we envisaged from the outset, endorsed and encouraged by our backers who are profoundly bought into the vision of our core autonomous robotic technology, and our wider RAAS (Robotics As A Service) offering. For them, that is all part of investing in a deep technology business. For us, it is this diversity of opportunity that minimises our exposure to any single sector.

Can you tell us any more about these other opportunities for your core technology?

Outside of sport, we are approached regularly with alternative use suggestions for GroundWOW’s multi-patented technology (now 8 patents and counting!). A quick look through the newspapers and you can see that RAAS Technology businesses everywhere have continued to grow massively despite the pandemic. In our case, it is easy to see how autonomous robotics might transition into transportation infrastructure or last mile delivery for example.  So, while our primary focus today is sport, it was our constant review of analogous markets that led us into discussions with the NHS in 2020. Appetite is all the way to the top of Government and as a result, we are delighted to have an offer currently under consideration for the whole of the Worldwide health care market.

Coming back to opportunity in sport, something we are regularly asked of our technology is, can it service any of our other wider needs. Well, I am pleased to exclusively announce that we’ll be unveiling something new for the sector very soon that will excite and delight everyone in sport – from the grounds crew to the Executive Board. As a self-sufficient manufacturer, we can take a project from the design phase to production readiness in literally a matter of days. But just because we can, doesn’t always mean that we will. Every idea must go via a rigorous research protocol to establish a meaningful strategic benefit, or otherwise.

The Complete Stadium Branding Solution

The Complete Stadium Branding Solution

How has the company grown over the last 12 months?

Commercially, we have continued to build relationships around the globe including with organisations who are either keen to deploy our technology or collaborate with us in their part of the world on one project or another. In the same way as so many others during the lockdown, we developed different ways to demonstrate our technology remotely, but hand on heart, I cannot wait to get back to more in person face to face conversations.

Team wise, we have recruited heavily over twelve months, building out a multi-national team of engineers and developers all based at our HQ, and we are still actively recruiting. The unwavering commitment to recruitment was also a clear signal to everybody else at GroundWOW that their livelihood was secure and the business still building proactively despite the biggest downturn in history.

Finally, with a larger team comes a larger space requirement and so we decided that we would accelerate our plans to create the Smart Factory we had envisioned from day one. We are thrilled with the result and the reactions from visitors. We occupy a large facility with an indoor test track in the middle and if you walked through the door today you could be forgiven for thinking you were in Silicon Valley rather than South Manchester. World class teams deserve world class environments and we have taken huge steps in that direction to invest in our people and our customer journey.

The Complete Stadium Branding Solution

The Complete Stadium Branding Solution

The return of televised sport plays into your hands and I know you had big success at Cheltenham and Soccer Aid. Can you talk a little bit about those and some of the other major relationships you build during these difficult times?

Yes, Cheltenham and Soccer-Aid were like the book ends of a Spring Summer period that is normally the prime time for sport in this country. At Cheltenham, we installed for The Jockey Club’s headline sponsor (Magners) one week before the Festival and we ended up in lockdown a week after the actual event. The Jockey Club were brilliant partners and hugely excited about new inventory facilitated by GroundWOW technology. As you might imagine, when you deliver an event of that profile, there is an inevitable spike in interest in the weeks and months that follow.

It was during Cheltenham week when Soccer Aid for Unicef made their initial approach to ask if we would be interested to deliver pitch side branding for their main event sponsors at Old Trafford. As you now know, the original June date was postponed but we picked up in summer and delivered in September. Exactly like Cheltenham, delivering on a major stage like Old Trafford supercharges the level of inbound interest – but it is a nice problem considering these times of general uncertainty across the sector.

Relationship wise, our travel plans to certain parts of the world were put on hold. However, we found we were suddenly receiving a major level of interest from football. Typically, our discussions have been with proactive leaders looking for innovative logo and large-scale branding solutions to support their event delivery. The other notable and enjoyable feature of our process is the sheer variety of discussions we are having with organisations who differ wildly in terms of available resources. Our technology is not cost-prohibitive and so we are able to engage prospects from all levels of sport.

What can you offer sporting events or sporting venues as revenue generating options during their televised / behind closed doors events?

This has always been the central proposition of GroundWOW, enabling a partner to drive revenue streams by printing sponsor brands and advertising logos on their real estate. i.e. sweating their asset. The main topics for discussion are either about selling pitchside real estate to matchday sponsors or in other cases, activating the pitch perimeter to drive added value for existing sponsors. We have all heard about spikes in TV audience figures and we know the value is always in fixed positions in front of the cameras. That is what ground printed logos are. The fact too that we run an autonomous vehicle and don’t rely on huge teams of people to carry out our work is also noteworthy given current stringent controls around stadium access.

The Complete Stadium Branding Solution

The Complete Stadium Branding Solution

What about opportunity outside of game day? You talk a lot about being a complete stadium solution, are these two elements related?

The main point here is that our conversations are not rooted in game day activations only. Whilst conference and exhibition are largely stalled for now, non-game day brand activations are core GroundWOW opportunities. In football for example, there may be thirty to forty game days each year (depending on cup runs) but on the other three hundred and twenty days, it is not uncommon for stadia owners to host multiple events every single day. In many cases, companies that hire out a venue are willing to pay for brand presence in incredible environments like stadia.

GroundWOW makes this possible as the World’s first enterprise-wide ‘ground printer’ solution that literally anybody in the club can use. Not just the Grounds Team but also the marketing department, the sales department, the conference and exhibition team, and the charitable foundation. Teams have brought to us their own list of desired applications including end of season pitch days, stadium tours, car parks, media use, training grounds, concerts, wayfinding, grand scale art, product launches, partner films – that is what we mean when we talk about a complete stadium solution. Suddenly, the concept of a fully branded campus becomes a year-round reality.

For interested parties, what can they expect of a technology product business model?

Our business model is a really simple monthly subscription for Robot/Software As A Service. Easiest analogy is a person’s mobile phone subscription. All relevant hardware and software are provided to the client including access to our full cloud infrastructure. How exciting is that?

You have grown the company significantly during the toughest economic downturn in our lifetime. What opportunities do you see for yourselves when we do get back to some sort of normality – whether that be in 2021 or heaven forbid, beyond that?

We feel good about where we are but we are sensitive to the proper process of emerging from lockdown safely. When the time is right, we’ll operationalise our growth plan further in sports marking and whole campus activation and we will also open offices this year in Australia and the United States. In the meantime, our new products in sport and healthcare, will continue to build value for us.

As history has shown, lots of innovative businesses have emerged and thrived as the result of a downturn exposing a need for things to change. We are looking forward with great optimism to whatever 2021 has in store.  Watch this space.

For the latest industry news visit turfmatters.co.uk/news

Get all of the big headlines, pictures, opinions and videos on stories that matter to you.

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London Stadium relies on G860’s

London Stadium relies on G860’s: The London Stadium has recently increased its fleet of Dennis G860 cylinder mowers, and Head Groundsman James Williams has revealed exactly why.

James is an ambitious young groundsman and his prominent position at the London Stadium certainly is testament to this. The Welshman is about to embark on his fourth year in the role and understandably, he believes that 2020 has been the most challenging yet – but not for the reasons you might think.

London Stadium relies on G860's

London Stadium relies on G860’s

“It’s been a difficult year due to the pandemic,” he said. “The worst thing is waking up in the morning on a matchday and there’s just no spark because you know there will be no fans to showcase your pitch to.”

James obviously takes great pride in his work; he is hard-working, committed and works round the clock to ensure that the pitch is in the best possible condition. Anywhere he can make improvements he will strive to do so – and therefore when an opportunity presented itself, James was quick to seize it.

“When football started again, the Premier League announced that we have to prepare the pitch and leave it well alone five hours before kick-off – it used to be three,” said James.

“This would mean starting a lot earlier and so my CEO asked me if there was anything I needed which could help. Straight away, I told him that two more Dennis G860’s would be nice!”

The London Stadium already had three Dennis G860’s in its armoury when James arrived, and he was pleased to see a familiar mower – one which he had become accustomed to for many years previously.

“I used the G860’s the whole time I was at Swansea City FC,” he said. “I’m just extremely comfortable with them – they are reliable, adaptable and they get the job done to the high standard I expect.”

James isn’t the only groundsman to be of this opinion as many of his peers have long relied on the G860 to provide the perfect cut for sports turf. Lightweight at just 166kg; it is easy to manoeuvre and comfortable to operate.

The mower features a large diameter front roller with an adjustable scraper which has been designed for a precise height of cut control, giving an excellent finish on every occasion. The Dennis G860 also features an interchangeable cassette system to assist with a wide range of tasks such as including scarifying, verticutting, brushing, spiking, and slitting.

“The G860’s are normally brought out towards the end of the week once the pitch has been repaired to make sure that it is in the best shape going into a matchday.

“When the grass gets too thick, or if it’s dying off, we will use the verticutting cassette to clear that out – just to stop it from causing any thatch or disease. We probably verticut once a month as well as use the brush – both help to keep the pitch nice and healthy.

“The 8 bladed cutting cylinder always offers a fantastic finish,” continued James. “I like to cut down to 23mm for matchdays but if there is period when we’ve got a lot of games and training sessions on the pitch then I’ll take it up to 26mm for extra protection and coverage.”

The Dennis G860 was an instant hit when it was first developed and over the years it has proven to be one of the most popular sports turf mowers on the market. There is a reason behind its success according to James.

“Do you know what I like about the G860? It’s the fact that it hasn’t changed a lot. Dennis as a company has evolved with some other great machinery but the G860 doesn’t need to. Why would you evolve something that doesn’t need fixing? You can’t improve perfection.”

For further information or a no obligation demonstration, please contact Dennis 01332 824 777 or visit www.dennisuk.com

For more news, reviews and insightful views, you can follow Dennis on Twitter @DennisMowers and like the company’s Facebook page – www.facebook.com/DennisMowersUK You can also view the latest Dennis videos by visiting www.youtube.com/DennisMowers

For the latest industry news visit turfmatters.co.uk/news

Get all of the big headlines, pictures, opinions and videos on stories that matter to you.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram for fun, fresh and engaging content.

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Hunter hits the mark at the London Stadium

Hunter hits the mark at the London Stadium: Last year a Hunter Industries irrigation system, supplied by KAR UK, was installed at the iconic London Stadium. After seeing a number of benefits, Head Groundsman James Williams wanted to extend the Hunter system to other areas of the stadium.

The former Swansea and Liberty Stadium groundsman has certainly made an impression in London since he took the job in 2016. James’ work has been widely praised by his peers, and also by players and managers. By his own admission he is addicted to his profession.

Hunter hits the mark at the London Stadium

Hunter hits the mark at the London Stadium

“I think every head groundsman has a bit of an obsession with their pitch,” he said. “The lads are always asking why I’m messaging them even when I’m on holiday but I have cameras all around the pitch which I view on my phone and I’m forever spotting things. It’s difficult to switch off.”

James now has even greater control over the pitch when it comes to irrigation – so much so that he can even manage it from his own home or wherever he may be.

“We’ve got probes in the pitch which give me a lot of readings such as moisture, the humidity in the stadium, the temperature and a lot more. Every morning I get an email with a report telling me what the moisture levels are from three different depths. If I see that the moisture has dropped below 10% then I’ll turn the irrigation system on through my phone.”

This advantage has all been made possible thanks to a newly installed Hunter Industries irrigation system. Last year James felt that he was not getting the best out of the previous irrigation system and the pitch wasn’t getting the water it needed. After getting in touch with KAR UK, the UK’s leading wholesaler of irrigation equipment, a new Hunter system was installed. The system included eight of the most technologically advanced commercial rotors on the market – the all-new I-80’s.

Engineered for sports turf, the I-80 is built with a robust, dirt-tolerant gear drive that offers the highest torque output of any rotor in the commercial sphere, and extends a radius range from 11.3 to 29.6 meters. The I-80 features a wide range of highly efficient, dual-trajectory, wind-fighting nozzles for highly efficient performance in a range of applications. It also provides total top serviceability (TTS) via its integrated, surface-mounted snap-ring for no-dig easy maintenance.

Hunter hits the mark at the London Stadium

Hunter hits the mark at the London Stadium

“I was instantly impressed with how good they were,” said James. “The service from KAR UK was also excellent and was part of the reason why I decided to go ahead and replace the outfield and pitch surrounds with the new Hunter TTS-885’s with no-bounce covers and turf cups.”

The new Hunter TTS-800 rotors provide maximum uniformity and longevity as they use the same gear drive and nozzles as the I-80’s. The high-torque gear drives are the strongest in the industry, so the challenges of reclaimed water use or poor water quality are mitigated. An extra-large, fast-access flange compartment comfortably accommodates wire connections and other components.

James and his team are now able to control the system both to the pitch and the outfields through the mobile-friendly Centralus irrigation management platform. This provides highly secure, comprehensive cloud-based control and monitoring features to the new ACC2 controller at the stadium. The connectivity allows users to view a controller’s status, change settings, view forecasts, save water, and receive instant notification of important system alarms — all without costly and time-consuming travel and site visits.

It is a technologically advanced system, yet incredibly user friendly – something which James felt was important.

“The one thing that stands out the most for me is that this system is very simple to use and that was essential. I needed something that the whole team could use – not just myself.

“I’m very impressed with the whole system. There is a reason that more and more stadiums are switching over to Hunter.

“The service and support from KAR UK has again been fantastic.”

For more information, please visit www.karuk.com

You can also follow KAR UK on Twitter @KARUK_LTD for much more news, reviews and insightful views.

For the latest industry news visit turfmatters.co.uk/news

Get all of the big headlines, pictures, opinions and videos on stories that matter to you.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram for fun, fresh and engaging content.

You can also find us on Facebook for more of your must-see news, features, videos and pictures from Turf Matters.

Hunter the choice at Arthur Miller Stadium

Hunter the choice at Arthur Miller Stadium: Daniel Connor, groundsman at the Arthur Miller Stadium in Leeds, has reported excellent results since a new Hunter Industries irrigation system from KAR UK was installed.

The Arthur Miller Stadium is home to Stanningley Sports & Rugby Club and is used as a training base for the Leeds Rhinos first-team. It also plays host to Rhinos’ Academy teams from under 6’s up to under 19’s.

Hunter the choice at Arthur Miller Stadium

Hunter the choice at Arthur Miller Stadium

Overseeing the maintenance of the full-sized pitch and three smaller pitches is Daniel Connor, who says that the playing surfaces have significantly improved since the new irrigation system was installed.

“We used to connect our old system up to the mains and used to do four runs which took six hours just to get a bit of water on the pitch,” said Daniel. “In the heat of the summer you just could never get enough water on it no matter how hard you tried with the old irrigation system. The pitch literally used to dry out in hot weather and from May until July it used to turn into a dust bowl. It was rock solid to play on and we lost grass coverage straight down the middle.”

“I looked around to see what was on the market and I also got a number of quotes,” continued Daniel. “We had a lot of options but we were most impressed with KAR UK who came to visit us. They came across incredibly professional and knowledgeable and we concluded that the Hunter System from KAR UK was our preferred choice.”

As a result, KAR UK – the UK and Ireland distributor of Hunter Industries irrigation equipment, supplied a variety of G885 and I-40 rotary sprinklers, PGV valves, an ACC2 controller with Wi-Fi and a Roam remote.

The I-40 is a tough commercial rotor that delivers water with accuracy and efficiency at distances up to 23.2 m. Featuring diverse three-port nozzle options, a non-strippable drive, and a thick rubber cover built to prevent injury; it’s no wonder this rotor is found in more stadiums than any other in the world. With the strength of stainless steel, the I-40 is built to last in the harshest sports, public park, and commercial environments.

Working in harmony with the I-40’s, the G885 rotary sprinklers boast one of the highest torque outputs on the market and its patented gear drive will push through anything that gets in its way. With such a powerful core, an array of efficient nozzles, and true full circle and part circle capabilities, the G885 is relied on by turf managers throughout the globe. Throw in the convenient serviceability of Total Top Service (TTS) and Decoder-In Head (DIH) technology, and you don’t just have the most powerful choice in rotors, you’ve got the most intelligent choice as well.

Hunter the choice at Arthur Miller Stadium

Hunter the choice at Arthur Miller Stadium

Daniel also benefits from the use of the ACC2 controller which is ideal for delivering advanced water management to meet the demands of large-scale commercial projects and the Roam remote – which eliminates the need to go back and forth to the sprinkler controller.

“Since we have had the new system installed the difference in the pitch has been phenomenal,” he said. “It has also made my life so much easier. The controls are incredibly effective and simple to use and we can now water at night which has been a huge benefit. From a maintenance point of view, it is very straight forward. It’s a simple screw and you can get right into the head without having to dig them out.

“It really does offer top performance. The rotors go 360°, head-to-head and we can now get water onto the middle of the pitch – which is something we previously struggled with.

“Ultimately, I’m over the moon with the system. We’ve been able to maintain grass coverage and we have a consistently good playing surface.”

Hunter Industries is distributed in the UK by KAR UK. For more information, please visit www.karuk.com or www.hunterindustries.com.

You can also follow KAR UK on Twitter @KARUK_LTD for much more news, reviews and insightful views.

For the latest industry news visit turfmatters.co.uk/news

Get all of the big headlines, pictures, opinions and videos on stories that matter to you.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram for fun, fresh and engaging content.

You can also find us on Facebook for more of your must-see news, features, videos and pictures from Turf Matters.

Hunter I-80 impresses at London Stadium

Hunter I-80 impresses at London Stadium: James Williams, Head Groundsman at the London Stadium, has praised the simplicity and efficiency of the new Hunter I-80 rotary sprinklers which were supplied by KAR UK.

Originally built to host London 2012, the Olympic Stadium, as it was formerly called, is now known as the London Stadium and is home to West Ham United FC – but that’s not all. The stadium also hosts UK athletics and concerts and has been a venue for the Rugby World Cup, The Race of Champions, Major League Baseball and the RFL Four Nations.

Hunter I-80 impresses at London Stadium

James, who started in the industry as an apprentice at Swansea FC, is now the man responsible for overseeing the maintenance of the pitch at arguably one of the most iconic stadia in the UK.

With a team of five, the young groundsman does a stellar job in keeping the pitch in immaculate condition despite the heavy usage but, ever the perfectionist, James is continuously looking at improvements he can make to raise the bar even higher. Therefore, when he felt that he wasn’t getting the best out of the previous irrigation system, he knew that it was time for a change.

James looked to see what was available on the market and it wasn’t long before a meeting with KAR UK was arranged. KAR is the UK’s leading wholesaler of irrigation equipment, and after admitting that he was hugely impressed with everything the company showed him, James’ attentions soon turned to a new Hunter Industries irrigation system which included the most technologically advanced commercial rotor on the market – the all-new I-80.

Engineered for sports turf, the I-80 is built with a robust, dirt-tolerant gear drive that offers the highest torque output of any rotor in the commercial sphere, and extends a radius range from 11.3 to 29.6 meters. The I-80 features a wide range of highly efficient, dual-trajectory, wind-fighting nozzles for highly efficient performance in a range of applications. It also provides total top serviceability (TTS) via its integrated, surface-mounted snap-ring for no-dig easy maintenance – something which James is particularly impressed with.

“It is just so simple – you can take off the turf caps and grow them in in a shed or under a light and then you can just put them straight back on. Even cleaning them is so much easier because you just whip them out like a normal sprinkler instead of having to dig them all out every time.”

James had eight I-80 rotors installed in the pitch and his system is further complimented by the ACC2 controller which is ideal for delivering advanced water management to meet the demands of large-scale commercial projects and the Roam remote – which eliminates the need to go back and forth to the sprinkler controller.

“This new Hunter system is so modern and advanced and the remote is brilliant,” he continued. “In the click of a button you can change the times of the sprinklers, so for instance, on a match-day we can water at half time as and when required.

“The ACC2 controller is also easy to use and that is what I wanted. I didn’t want it to be too technical because I want all of my staff to be able to use it as well as myself.”

James reported that the manager and players are pleased with the new system and he went further in explaining how he uses it in the run up to match-days.

“Obviously a lot of it is dependent on weather, but we tend to give the pitch around 8mm of water on a Thursday or a Friday to prepare the surface for a game. We will then give it a top up before kick-off and then again at half-time if it is required.

“I see it similar to the way you would build a sandcastle. If you use wet sand to build a sandcastle then it will hold it all together and you’ll have a good castle. If you use dry sand then it will just all fall out. It’s exactly the same with a football pitch – keep it wet and it will stay nice and firm and hold together.”

Hunter Industries is distributed in the UK by KAR UK. For more information, please visit www.karuk.com or www.hunterindustries.com.

You can also follow KAR UK on Twitter @KARUK_LTD for much more news, reviews and insightful views.

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An insight into Yokohama Stadium

An insight into Yokohama Stadium: What an exciting tournament it has been so far! With just over a week until the final, let’s look into the incredible stadium where the final is taking place – International Stadium Yokohama.

The Rugby World Cup Final 2019 will be held in the International Stadium Yokohama, with the finalists still to be confirmed after this weekend’s semi-finals. This remarkable venue has a bespoke Bolt-Down Bottom Hinge System which is similar to that designed for the “Sliding Pitch” in the Sapporo Dome. Harrod Sport’s Design Team worked closely with our Japanese distributor; Kofu Field Co. Ltd to create these innovative designs ready for the tournament.

An insight into Yokohama Stadium

The biggest challenge encountered in the Yokohama Stadium was that there had previously been a smaller set of rugby posts in place. So, we had to develop something that could be installed over the original sockets, but with the added complication of needing to increase the foundation strength to cater for the greater forces imposed by the 17m tall posts. This was overcome by designing the Bolt-down Hinge Assembly installed with 6 of M20 Stainless Steel Indented Foundation Bolts at each upright.

Also, our unique Winched Rugby Lifters were used at all World Cup venues to ensure that the 17m posts could be erected without the use of any powered vehicles or lifting system.

These posts had to satisfy earthquake requirements. In Japan, it is stated in the Building Standards Act that when you want to install any permanent or non-permanent architectural buildings/objects that exceeds the height of 15m, the owner needs to submit the building certification to the government and that includes tiresome data of the installation site and structure calculation data, CAD drawings (with detail materials and dimensions stated) of the installed building/object.

An insight into Yokohama Stadium

If we had not provided the adequate information and drawings, we would have not been allowed to install 17m rugby posts in Japan. Also, all drawings and structural analysis documentation needed to be interpreted into Japanese for approval by the Japanese Government!

Innovation is at the forefront of what we do at Harrod Sport, and we are privileged to have worked on such a historic and thoroughly entertaining tournament.

For further information please contact Molly Spring (Sales & Marketing Coordinator) on molly@harrod.uk.com or 01502 583515.

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Matrax Pens Deal with Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Matrax Pens Deal with Mercedes-Benz Stadium: 2019’s Sports Facility of the Year closes on the acquisition of a 108,150 square foot Matrax heavy duty turf protection event flooring system

Mercedes-Benz Stadium is a sports and entertainment stadium located in the heart of Atlanta, Georgia that serves as the official home to NFL’s Atlanta Falcons and MLS’ Atlanta United. In 2019, the stadium was named Sports Facility of the Year at the annual Sports Business Awards and was also named Facility of the Year at the World Football Summit this past September in Madrid. The stadium is host to a wide array of major sporting and non-sporting events including Super Bowl LIII, the college football national championship, the 2018 MLS Cup and MLS All-Star game and will play host to the Men’s NCAA Final Four in April of 2020. Over the years, the stadium has hosted major music artists such as Garth Brooks, Kenny Chesney, Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, Jay-Z, and Ed Sheeran.  Most recently, the venue was host to George Strait, joined by musical guests Christ Stapleton, Chris Janson, and Ashley McBryde.

Matrax Pens Deal with Mercedes-Benz Stadium

As the intensity and frequency of non-sporting events continues to increase at stadium venues like Mercedes-Benz Stadium, there is greater demand to ensure the playing surface is protected from heavy loads and vehicular traffic.  Where other field covering systems are designed from a flooring perspective, Matrax was engineered with temporary road building and heavy vehicular traffic in mind.

To meet the increasing operational demands, an official request for proposal was issued by the stadium in July 2019 seeking 108,150 square feet of heavy duty, drivable flooring. Additionally, Matrax was able to broker the re-sale of the depreciated asset, thus offering additional value to the RFP process.

“As a world class venue, we hold all of our vendors to the highest standard. Matrax was selected for its proven track record of superior field performance and durability. Matrax is a solid investment for our operations and will be an integral component to our success on the field during these non-sporting events.”  David Duernberger, Director of Stadium Operations, Mercedes-Benz Stadium

The first deployment of the new Matrax 4×4 HD system will occur in early November 2019 to support an epic weekend of live music to include musical artists Keith Urban, Blake Shelton, Sam Hunt, Sugarland, Judah & the Lion, Cale Dodds, Eric Church, Luke Combs, Brothers Osborne, and Caylee Hammack.

Matrax has become the system of choice by many industry professionals and has been utilized at countless notable venues worldwide including but not limited to Banc of California Stadium, Petco Park, Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium, San Siro Stadium, MetLife Stadium, and Gillette Stadium.

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Pitch Work At Pirelli Stadium

Pitch Work At Pirelli Stadium: Work has been completed on a new drainage system at the Pirelli Stadium as the pitch is prepared for the 2018-19 season.

Burton Albion groundsman Simon Marshall says the groundstaff are “always keen to improve the surface”, and extra work has been undertaken this summer to get the pitch in the best condition for Albion’s attempt at earning promotion back to the Championship next season.

Pitch Work At Pirelli Stadium

Efforts began immediately following the European Under-17 Championships last month, with games having taken place at the Pirelli.

On top of the usual seeding of the playing surface, which is done annually between campaigns and is currently being carried out, the new drainage system was put in place to maintain a better condition for the pitch throughout the coming season.

“Over the years we have had problems with the drainage, so we are having a new major drain system that should keep the pitch in better condition,” said Marshall.

“Then we won’t need to put down as many waterproof sheets due to the inconsistencies across the pitch.

“From the groundstaff’s point of view, we are always keen to improve the surface, and with the chairman and the club’s backing, we are making progress year on year.”

After a season in which the Brewers went seven months without a home victory, Nigel Clough will be hoping his side can become a tougher proposition at the Pirelli again in 2018-19.

That will rely on the quality of football they can produce in League One – and the surface they are playing that football on.

“Pitch work is done every year, but they need continued investment and major work now then,” said Clough.

“You can see from the pictures the amount of work going on out there, and hopefully it will give us a good playing surface for next season.”

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All Eyes On Luzhniki Stadium

All Eyes On Luzhniki Stadium: A team from global pitch specialists SIS Pitches is on hand at Luzhniki Stadium as the World Cup tournament kicks off in Russia today on a SIS Pitches surface.

Throughout the tournament, a team of 12 people from SIS Pitches will maintain the surface of the Luzhniki Stadium – where the opening ceremony and opening game (Russia v Saudi Arabia) is taking place today, and where the World Cup Final will be held.

All Eyes On Luzhniki Stadium

Over the four weeks of the tournament, the main pitch at Luzhniki will host the equivalent of nearly the full number of matches that would be played on a Premiership pitch during a whole football season.

The company will also maintain the three training pitches at the stadium, which will be used by all the national teams who are playing at the venue.

CEO of Cumbria-based SIS Pitches, George Mullan said: “Luzhniki will have the heaviest programme of games and training sessions as well as hosting the opening ceremony and the rehearsals for the opening ceremony. We have already had six rehearsals for the opening ceremony, 15 training sessions and seven matches on the pitch; this is as well as the activity on the training pitches.

“Maintaining a pitch under these circumstances can be challenging as the opening ceremony is taking place on the pitch just half an hour before the first game kicks off. Some 80,000 football fans will be in the stadium and millions of people will be watching from around the world. However, our team will be pitch-side to make sure that the surface is maintained to the highest standards.

“We will have 12 people at the stadium throughout the tournament, making sure that the surface is perfect before every game. They will then repair the pitch if any damage has been caused during the game. I will be there personally at some of the games – but I won’t be watching the football; I will be concentrating on the surface!”

The use of the company’s sophisticated reinforced natural turf system, called SISGrass, as well as its revolutionary aeration technology, SISAir, will make the Luzhniki Stadium the most technologically advanced pitch in World Cup history. The use of SISAir will also mean that the pitch can be drained off in a matter of seconds.

SIS Pitches was selected to design, construct and install six of the 12 stadium pitches for Russia 2018, including the Kaliningrad Stadium, where the highly anticipated match of England v Belgium will take place on Thursday 28 June. It is also the first time that a World Cup Final has been played on anything but all-natural grass.

SIS Pitches also installed three training pitches at Luzhniki, four training pitches at Otkritie Arena – the home of Spartak Moscow, and one at Tolyatti, which is being used as a base by the Swiss national team.

SIS Pitches will be maintaining Luzhniki Stadium throughout the World Cup but the other five pitches – Otkritie Arena, Rostov Arena, Kaliningrad Stadium, Samara Arena and Saransk Arena, have already been formally handed over to stadium management, who will handle their maintenance. Each pitch was independently tested to meet international quality standards before SIS Pitches formally handed them over.

SIS Pitches is a world leader in synthetic and natural sports surfacing and is one of the world’s largest sports pitch companies. The global pitch specialists lay grass and synthetic pitches and sports surfaces at world-class stadiums around the globe.

Outside of the World Cup, the company continues to deliver exceptional sports surfaces for schools, colleges, universities, sports clubs and local authorities in the UK and around the world.

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