Momentum seems to be growing for a grass pitch at Lumen Field

Ever since feldturf was installed instead of grass at Lumen Field – despite the funding promised for its construction in Referendum 48 – there has been some consternation. Although the needs of football constantly call for grass, the fact that there are so many tenants and uses has made artificial surfaces simply more practical.

20 years after the Games began to be played there, an uneasy truce has effectively been created. Soccer fans have learned to live with FieldTurf, and stadium operators have agreed to replace it regularly when First & Goal installs temporary turf when needed.

In all of this, the one party that is largely accepted is the Seattle Seahawks, who effectively hold all the power in the relationship.

It was then-Seahawks head coach Mike Holmgren who wanted FieldTurf to start, and it has been considered the team’s preferred surface ever since. Whether that’s really the case or not, attitudes seem to be changing now.

Current Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll told reporters on Wednesday that he openly questions the safety of artificial surfaces in the wake of the DK Metcalf injury at Sophie Stadium.

This comes on the heels of NFL players calling for all surfaces to be grass, with one study citing a 28% increase in injuries on turf.

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Although there is no reason to think that the Lumen field will have a permanent natural grass field, officials involved in the World Cup bid in 2010 He pointed out that grass will be used in 2026 – before, during and after the Games. in Seattle.

But can there be enough motivation to make the change faster and more sustainable? This is difficult to say, but it is worth considering the challenges.

The rumor is true – we get a fair amount of rain in Seattle. But the amount of rain is not that much, the problem is the lack of sunny days. When Lumen Field was built, this was a real issue. But boost-light technology has advanced a ton since then, and almost everyone I’ve talked to suggests this isn’t a problem.

This leaves the challenge of how athletes running on a rain-soaked field can affect the quality of the field, but it can be mitigated by good drainage. Many advances have been made in modern systems that act as vacuums to absorb moisture and prevent it from accumulating.

From the beginning, Lumen Field was envisioned as not only the home of the Seahawks, but also the future home of the football team, as well as a venue for concerts and other events. This was part of the promise from the jump, and since the stadium is technically owned, I assume it will always be that way.

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As it stands, the Sounders play 20-25 games each year, the Seahawks play 8-12 and the OL Reign are currently slated to play 14-16. There are about four concerts a year and a few events like the Supercross. Combined, we’re looking at almost 60 days, not including training days or other non-official events.

There’s a lot of rips and tears in the field from changing, plus you can see that the grass needs some time under those grow lights and it’s going to be a challenge to keep it all together.

Some stadiums have solved the problem by making the grass pitch reversible. That’s what they do at Tottenham, Real Madrid and various other NFL arenas. I don’t think this is possible here, as a large part of the stadium would need to be demolished and rebuilt.

My suspicion is that some non-sporting uses may have to be restricted if grass is installed. If the Sounders, Reign and Seahawks can’t all handle it, it’s probably a starter, but everything should be up for debate.

None of this can happen overnight, obviously. As far as I can tell, new grass needs more than three months to fully establish. That would probably limit Lumen Field to February-April. It’s not the end of the world for the Sounders, but those happen to be the first three months of the season, which means they have to start the season with a long road trip.

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For the most part, other issues can be overlooked as long as there is budget to address them. Modern growing and drainage technology? That costs money. Does it limit non-sporting events? That also feeds into the last line.

I estimate that all of this will cost at least tens of millions of dollars. But as long as the various power brokers in Lumen Field aren’t there to make the money right, it seems possible.

There aren’t many comparisons around the world – hosting many teams in different sports and venues open to other events on the grass – but what I have found is Bristol’s Ashton Gate in a city with a climate. Seattle’s turf is home to the Bristol City Championship, the Bristol Bears of England’s top rugby league, as well as concerts and other events. All together it’s about the same number of events as it can handle a lumen and it seems pretty capacious overall.

I think this is all possible. If the will is there, the commitment is there, and the money is there, there’s no reason why we can’t have grass at Lumen Field. Will it happen before 2026 and last longer? I don’t know, but we can dream.


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