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How BrightView turned a London soccer pitch into an MLB-caliber field

June 28, 2023
(Photo: BrightView)

(Photo: BrightView)

Major League Baseball’s (MLB) official field consultant, BrightView recently transformed London Stadium — home of West Ham United FC — into an MLB-caliber field for the 2023 London Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs.

The BrightView turf team had just 18 days to create the field, according to the company. This differs from the two-plus months that crews had to create playing environments for the Field of Dreams game in Dyersville, Iowa, and the Fort Bragg (N.C.) game in 2016.

“Even though this field is used by West Ham – a team playing in the top tier of English football (soccer), the requirements for the playing surface are much different for an official MLB game,” said Murray Cook, president of BrightView Sports Turf. “For that to occur, we had to grade the field and bring in all new materials to conform to MLB standards.”

The material included 4,000 tons of aggregate to level the surface, more than 144,000 square feet of artificial turf and 345 tons of clay. Cook and his team also installed the foul poles, batters’ eye, dugouts and more.

This is the second time in four years that MLB is hosting a game in London, and it plans to return again. The company says that made creating a field with sustainable materials a crucial part of its efforts.

“Instead of having to bring in all the materials for as many times as the series happens, we are using turf that can roll up in sections, foul poles that can also be taken apart in sections, and all of it — even the clay — stored without being damaged,” Cook said.

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