GreenFields USA‘s MX 3-STAR turf system will be installed at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, AMB Sports & Entertainment and GreenFields USA recently announced in a news release. Set to open in 2017, Mercedes-Benz Stadium will be a multi-purpose venue and home to the Atlanta Falcons and the city’s new Major League Soccer team, Atlanta United.
“Our goal is for every feature of this stadium to be a difference maker,” says Rich McKay, president and CEO of the Atlanta Falcons. “Our challenge to GreenFields was to create a turf surface that will not only be the best in the world for professional football and soccer, but will have the durability to maintain top quality over time. They’ve produced a world-class field that is a safer surface for NFL players.”
The GreenFields MX 3-Star turf system is the world’s first synthetic turf system to excel in the NFL beast test, AMB and GreenFields say in the news release. The BEAST testing process mimics the forces exerted on an athletes’ lower legs and how the surface under their foot contributes to optimal performance and reasons for associated injuries.
“We strive to develop and make products that perform well for elite athletes, no matter the sport,” says Guido Vliegen, president of GreenFields USA. “After much testing, our R&D group finalized a brand new kind of infill and shock pad. When paired with the GreenFields MX turf, it’s an amazingly versatile system and for football and soccer, delivers enhanced performance and safety.”
Testing according to exacting FIFA protocols has confirmed that the GreenFields MX 3-STAR system also closely mimics the shock absorption and energy restitution characteristics of natural grass soccer-specific stadium surfaces, the news release states. Stadiums throughout The Netherlands have converted to GreenFields MX systems including ADO Den Haag, Sparta, Dordrecht, PEC Zwolle, Volendam, RJC, and Heracles.
“The GreenFields MX turf that will be installed at Mercedes-Benz Stadium showed reduced traction forces in our laboratory testing,” says Richard Kent, Ph.D., principal scientist and consultant for BioCore and assistant professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Virginia. “It performs much like a natural grass field.”
GreenFields MX is a 100-percent recyclable field that has no pile lay, which reduces glare found in other traditional synthetic surfaces. The top layer of the system features GreenFields MX Trimension, a patented weaving technology that ensures the synthetic grass fibers will stand up straight.
“This will be a world-class stadium where we will host Atlanta United matches as well as international competition, so for us it was important to partner with a company that had an extensive background and experience in soccer,” said Atlanta United president Darren Eales. “The surface GreenFields has developed is the most innovative, highest quality turf surface on the market.”
Unlike traditional synthetic turf where the fibers are bound one at a time to the top layer, the proprietary GreenFields MX process weaves the fibers directly into the matting while also varying their composition and length. The resulting ‘clumps’ of grass are nearly identical in texture to natural grass and possess many of the same properties.
The shock absorption characteristics of the 3-STAR turf system are provided by a separate dampening layer, called ECOCEPT, below the turf. The ECOCEPT sports performance layer furthers GreenFields goal of moving toward a zero-waste future by recycling end-of-life plastics and rubbers of many types that were previously unable to be recycled.
“We are redefining the stadium experience every step of the way,” said Scott Jenkins, general manager of Mercedes-Benz Stadium and AMB. “Versatility is key for our turf surface, from how the ball rolls for soccer, to safety for football, to what the paint looks like on the field and how natural the grass appears.”
Photo credit: GreenFields USA