Cincinnati Bengals and Cincinnati Bearcats share stadium, stressing the grounds crew.
The Cincinnati Bengals are sharing Paul Brown Stadium this season with another big cat. While the University of Cincinnati’s stadium is under construction, the Bearcats and Bengals will be sharing the field.
“We’re hosting the University of Cincinnati this year while their stadium is being renovated, so we are in the process of changing fields, or changing our stadium, over between Cincinnati games and Bengals games on weekends. That’s something new that we haven’t done in the past that we’re slowly learning,” says Darian Daily, head groundskeeper for the Bengals.
Between games, Daily and his crew have many changes to make to the field. For the college games, hashes, number ticks, as well as the American Conference logo have to be painted onto the synthetic turf field. “We’re also responsible for putting up wall banners around the stadium to let everyone know that it’s the Bearcats and not the Bengals,” says Daily.
Daily has a normal crew of six, however for these quick changes four additional crewmembers have been added into the mix. When the games fall back-to-back, Daily and his crew pull an all-nighter to prepare the stadium.
“After the games we have to take all the banners down, scrub all the UC logos off—hashes, number ticks, logos — and then get our field ready to go for (Bengals) games. This weekend we have back-to-back games, so Saturday night we’ll be spending the night here and hopefully we will get done around three or four in the morning and be back in at 7 a.m.
But how is the field’s synthetic turf holding up? Daily says it’s holding up well so far. They are currently in the third year with the UBU Sports’ Speed Series synthetic turf.
One of the main challenges is the paint. “The big thing for the synthetics, with having multiple events, is to use the right paint,” says Daily. For him, it is important to have a paint that both looks good and can be removed with ease. They use Pioneer Athletics removable paint and have been working with the company for years to perfect the paint on the field.
“We worked with the (research and development) people from Pioneer 10, 12 years ago when we got synthetic to help develop the paints that would be removable and to (test) how the colors would look,” Daily says.
When it comes to removing the paint from the synthetic turf, Daily says it takes about an hour per logo. “Most of the synthetic paints have some sort of remover you spray on the painted area and this solvent basically breaks the glue down in the paint that makes it stick to the synthetic turf,” he says. “This breaks that glue, or bonding agent, down from the turf so the paint will come off. When you take agitating scrubbers over the area, it breaks the bond of the paint from the fiber and you can wash it through with regular water.”
When washing out the paint, Daily says it is important to make sure it doesn’t coagulate in the rubber infill of the turf. “That’s one of the things we (remain) diligent with, is flushing the paint through our system, through the rubber, through the backing. We can get it down into our drainage system so it doesn’t build up a hardness in those areas.”
It’s a late game this Saturday for the Bearcats: a 7 p.m. EST kickoff against Miami of Ohio. It’s an even later night for Daily and his crew; they must be ready for Andy Dalton and the rest of the Bengals kick-off against the Tennessee Titans at 1 p.m. EST, just a few hours later.