• 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'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. 


  • Atlantic 10 Unveils New Logo, Welcomes Davidson

    by Andrew Brandt July 2014

    Not to be outdone by the Big 12 Conference's rebranding, which AB reported on Monday, the Atlantic 10 Conference also unveiled an updated look.

  • Big 12 Conference Launches New Logo, Identity

    by Andrew Brandt July 2014

    The Big 12 Conference unveiled a number of new identity and branding standards Tuesday, including — most visibly — the official launch of its new logo.

  • USC to Offer Four-Year Scholarships in Revenue Sports

    by Michael Gaio June 2014

    The University of Southern California is joining a short list of Division I schools offering student-athletes an added sense of security with its scholarship offers.

  • Washington Redskins Lose Federal Trademarks

    by Michael Gaio June 2014

    In what's being called a "landmark decision," the United States Patent and Trademark Office has canceled six federal trademark registrations for the name of the Washington Redskins, ruling that the name is "disparaging to Native Americans." Due to its "disparaging" nature, the name cannot be trademarked under federal law which prohibits protection of offensive or disparaging language.

  • Video: Anti-'Redksins' Ad Airs During NBA Finals

    by Michael Gaio June 2014

    The debate over the Washington Redskins' nickname isn't going away, not even during the climax of the basketball season. The Washington Post reported Tuesday that the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, a tribe based in California, paid for an anti-"Redskins" commercial that aired to a national audience during Game 3 of the NBA Finals Tuesday night. See an extended version of the commercial below.

  • Meet the Man Behind 3-D Playing Surface Projection

    by Michael Gaio June 2014

    Hardwood ripples. Free-throw lanes rise. Game footage rolls and championship banners unfurl in an unexpected space — the playing surface. Welcome to the next generation of in-arena entertainment. Through the use of high-powered projectors, Scott Williams and his team at Quince Imaging can turn almost any surface into a high-definition, 3-D video display. With the Miami Heat, Brooklyn Nets and Cleveland Cavaliers among Quince Imaging’s clients, AB eMedia editor Michael Gaio caught up with Williams to learn more about the technology that gives "state of the art" new meaning.

  • Photo: Purdue to Put Fan Photos on Football Helmets

    by Michael Gaio June 2014

    Trying to market a college football team coming off a 1-11 season can be a difficult challenge. But sometimes tough times can inspire the most creative solutions. Take this latest idea from the Purdue Boilermakers for example: The football team is running a promotion that will give fans the opportunity to have their mug plastered on the team's football helmet.

  • NCAA Endorses Autonomy for 'Power Five' Conferences

    by Michael Gaio April 2014

    The NCAA took a major step toward restructuring its governing system for the "Power Five" conferences on Thursday.

  • Exploring New Ways to Improve Fan Engagement

    by Emily Attwood April 2014

    With myriad media options available for fans to experience their favorite sporting events, the competition for viewers' attention is starting to rival the competition on the field. From online social media campaigns driving awareness to facility enhancements aimed at luring fans back into the seats, athletic organizations are focusing more attention and resources on what's happening off the court to help them gain a greater understanding of their audience.