Canadian Football League

Friday, March 25, 2005

Canadian Football League Team to use Field Turf.

The B.C. Lions will become the third CFL team to play on FieldTurf this season, a move players say will reduce injuries but will also increase game ticket prices by $1.
B.C. Place Stadium will pay $1 million to buy the artificial turf used by the Montreal Expos in their final Major League Baseball season at Olympic Stadium and install it in the home of the Lions. Lions defensive back Mark Washington welcomed Wednesday's announcement.
"The old stuff was pretty hard," said Washington.
"I'm very happy to have the new FieldTurf. I think it's going to benefit our team tremendously. Just being able to recover faster, being able to maybe add another year to our career."
Howard Crosley, general manager of B.C. Place Stadium, said the new turf can also be used by minor football, soccer, rugby and lacrosse teams.
B.C. Place will also be the site of this year's Grey Cup game.
Besides the Lions, B.C. Place Stadium is used for over 200 event days - including trade shows - and generates in excess of $31 million a year in revenue, Crosley said.
To help pay for the turf, Lions tickets will increase by $1, Crosley said.
The same facility charge will be added for other events like concerts and motocross races, but not trade shows.
"Spectators attending events always pay for the use of the facility one way or the other by buying tickets," Crosley said.
"It's part of the ongoing upkeep of the stadium."
It hasn't been decided if the stadium fee will be applied to next year's season tickets.
"Those are discussions we have to have with the Lions," Crosley said.
The Montreal Alouettes and Ottawa Renegades currently use FieldTurf.
Joe Galat, FieldTurf's vice-president of international sales, said talks are underway about installing the turf in Toronto, Calgary and Regina.
Galat described FieldTurf as "shag carpet filled with sand and rubber."
"It has the same properties as grass," said the former CFL coach and general manager.
"You just don't have to mow it or water it."
Roughly two-thirds of the NFL's 32 teams currently use the turf at their stadium or practice facility.
Crosley said the new turf will be ready for the Lions June 16 pre-season game against Calgary.
The removable turf comes in approximately 1,000 trays that measure six feet by 12 feet. When not in use, the trays can be stacked and stored.
Crosley estimated it will take between 12 and 16 hours to remove or lay the turf. The old B.C. Place turf required between eight and 10 hours to install.
FieldTurf has been approved by FIFA, soccer's international governing body, raising hopes B.C. Place can attract international teams for exhibition matches.
"Some of the most renewed clubs in Europe still won't play on it but that will change over time, I am confident of that," Crosley said.


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