RECENT ARTICLES
  • Soccer Draws Top Yankee Stadium Crowd in '14

    by Rexford Sheild August 2014

    The New York Yankees are synonymous with success at the MLB level, but it was a different scene at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, as the stadium hosted two of the top international soccer teams -- Manchester City and Liverpool -- in front of a packed house. 

  • Ohio State's Meyer: Football Playoff Poses Travel Burden

    by Tim May, The Columbus Dispatch July 2014

    If Ohio State has a dream season, it could be a nightmare scenario -- financially -- for many players' families, coach Urban Meyer said, and he wants that addressed.

  • TCF Bank Stadium Switches to Grass for Soccer Match

    by Rexford Sheild July 2014

    When the Minnesota Gophers' TCF Bank Stadium opened in 2009, it joined the growing list of collegiate and professional stadiums sporting synthetic turf. But this weekend, the stadium will be sporting a more natural look when it hosts a soccer matchup on Saturday featuring two of the most premier teams from Europe. Manchester City, champions of the English Premier League this past season, will face off against Olympiacos, winners of the Superleague Greece, as part of the the second annual Guinness International Champions Cup tournament.

    Workers are busy installing sod over the existing synthetic turf, creating a playing surface more akin to what the players are accustomed to. "Because you end up running 7, 8 miles in a soccer match running on [synthetic] turf is not good for your legs," tournament spokesman Harrison Raboy said. "They play on grass, and that's the most natural playing surface for soccer."

    University of Minnesota athletic department spokesman Dan Reisig noted the sod used is a bit thicker than what you normally might see in a backyard, and the process of installing the grass was, as Reisig called it, a "pretty significant effort." After the field is installed, it requires delicate care, including mowing the grass to the preferred length, putting patterns on it, and painting and watering it. 

    Despite the effort involved, the installation will not be a permanent fixture. The Premier League match will be followed by another featuring North America Soccer League members Minnesota United and Ottawa Fury, with tickets being valid for both contests. The stadium will return to its natural playing surface of synthetic turf on Monday, and some of the grass used for the match will be repurposed with the rest of it being recycled. 

    The tournament takes places in 13 cities and 12 stadiums in both the United States and Canada. TCF Bank will not be the only stadium hauling in natural grass and redoing its playing surface; Michigan Stadium is bringing in that same type of thickened sod to host Manchester United and Real Madrid. Steve Bush, owner of Bush Turf, said in an interview with Mlive.com's Michael Niziolek that the initial layer of sod is like "thick landscaping fabric" and once that is laid down, truckloads of sod are moved in. However, the difficulty with this is that Michigan Stadium only has one tunnel through which to shuttle the sod. 

    When you look at the grand scheme of turning the whole field around for an international soccer "friendly," there has to be some sort of validation for such a laboring process, and there certainly is in Michigan's case. When the game gets underway on Saturday afternoon, it is estimated to be one of the most-attended soccer matches ever, with the stadium holding over 109,000 spectators, which will greatly assist local businesses as well as Ann Arbor's economy. Not to mention, there could be some positive, residual effects for Detroit's economy, but there have been no projected gains yet.

    The third and final synthetic-turf stadium among the 12 tournament hosts is California Memorial Stadium, home to the Cal Bears, which also changed its playing surface to grass when Real Madrid played Inter Milan on July 26. 

     


    Rexford Sheild is an intern with Athletic Business. 

     

  • Northwestern's Fitzgerald: Unionization Efforts 'a Positive'

    by Andrew Seligman, The Associated Press July 2014

    No matter how this season unfolds, Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald insists no team is more unified than his Wildcats. For that, he credits the push for them to unionize.

  • Want to Buy the Bills? You Have Until 5 p.m. to Bid

    by Tim Graham, News Sports Reporter July 2014

    The NFL's regular season doesn't begin until September. But the bidding process to buy the Buffalo Bills kicks off today. Prospective buyers have until 5 p.m. to notify financial firm Morgan Stanley they intend to remain in pursuit.

  • Conference USA Leaders: Stipends 'The Right Thing To Do'

    by Harry Minium July 2014

    IRVING, Texas | Conference USA has agreed to pay athletes in at least some sports the full cost of attending college, a decision that could cost schools, including Old Dominion, an average of $500,000 per year, league commissioner Britton Banowsky said. Speaking at C-USA football media day, Banowsky said conference presidents and athletic directors agreed during a retreat last year that providing the stipend "was the right thing to do."

  • Mountain West Commish Describes 'Precarious Position'

    by Taylor Bern July 2014

    Craig Thompson is entering his 16th season leading the Mountain West. He's the only commissioner the league has ever had, and on Tuesday at the Cosmopolitan he briefly discussed that past before moving to the topic the assembled media was more interested in: the future. Many conversations about the future of college athletics are broken into the haves and the have-nots. The Mountain West is part of the latter, one of the five FBS-level conferences that could be left behind if the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC would decide to form their own league.

  • Sterling Files Suit; Rivers to Quit as Coach if Owner Stays

    by From staff and wire reports July 2014

    In Brief In brief: Doc Rivers will quit if Donald Sterling stays with Clippers NBA: The interim CEO of the Los Angeles Clippers testified Tuesday that coach Doc Rivers told him he will quit if Donald Sterling remains the owner of the team.

  • Columnist: No End in Sight for Dodgers TV Frustrations

    by Jim Carlisle July 2014

    Back in the day (as the kids say — or used to until just now when I said it), the Dodgers were almost a radio-only enterprise. Well into the 1970s, the only games the team ever televised were those from San Francisco.

  • ACC Network Makes Sense, But Several Caveats Remain

    by Naples Daily News (Florida) July 2014

    Expansion has, for the foreseeable future, run its course. While college athletics is entering a period of widespread and uncertain change, the ACC has achieved stability. The biggest question facing the conference now is a simple one.