Today’s concerts and other non-sports entertainment are in most cases humongous extravaganzas, requiring truckloads of heavy equipment for the installation and removal of large-scale staging and support systems.
Field managers must protect their turf (no pun intended), and the best way to do that is with protective flooring of some kind. Many options, made by dozens of different manufacturers, are available on the market.
For example, facilities have the option of using a single, rigid flooring module, repeated across the entire venue, or incorporating multiple types of modules, each developed for specific applications and levels of weight-bearing capacity.
One option available to field managers is protective flooring from Matrax, Inc., a solution-based design, engineering, manufacturing and distribution company specializing in a range of temporary site access solutions, including turf protection for athletic venues.
The Matrax Turf Protection system is an injection-molded, high-density polyethylene panel with a solid back that measures 4 feet by 4 feet, is 1.5 inches thick and weighs 50 pounds. This turf cover system can sustain varying types of loading including stage setup, large cranes and other wheeled traffic.
Matrax utilizes a vertical locking system, with 4-inch overlapping flanges to interlock individual panels to one another, creating a contiguous surface that is free from trip hazards. Molded pegs on the lower lips and corresponding sockets on the upper lips transfer lateral loads between individual panels in all directions, and function as an aligning mechanism for the panels during installation, according to the company.
In addition, the overlapping and interlocking components are engineered and manufactured with tolerances designed to allow thermal expansion and contraction to occur without any interference between the panels, thereby eliminating buckling and uneven surfaces, according to the company.
Each panel has an embossed diamond plate pattern on the top surface to provide a non-skid surface, as well as solid lower skins that provide a 100 percent contact area with no voids.
This feature spreads loads evenly over the entire area of the mat, minimizing the overall load transferred to the turf below, according to the company. The mats are shipped and stored on 4-foot by 8-foot pallets in a two-panel configuration.
“A stadium manager’s overall goal is to develop and preserve the best playing surface for the athletes — safety is paramount,” says David J. Buddemeyer, co-founder of Matrax, Inc.
“To that end, a field manager should consider a field cover that not only preserves the turf — whether synthetic or natural — but doesn’t impact the underlying substrate in any way. Field protection systems that aren’t fully engineered can lead to damaged sod — or synthetic turf — and negatively compromise the underlying support materials.
“Unseen pock marks, ruts and cuts associated with open-back systems create trip hazards, untrue ball bounce conditions and seams,” Buddemeyer adds. “Closed-back, translucent, fully interlocking systems, such as Matrax, provide the protection needed.”
Matrax Turf Protection has been utilized in several countries and at notable U.S. stadiums such as the Georgia Dome, MetLife Stadium, M&T Bank Stadium, Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, FedEx Field, Gillette Stadium and the Citrus Bowl.