Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots, New England Revolution and University of Massachusetts Amherst Football, recently acquired an outdoor drivable field cover from Matrax to protect the synthetic turf during non-football events. Ranked as one of the top 10 venues in the world over the last decade by Billboard magazine, the stadium hosts a variety of events, including soccer matches, NCAA championships and concerts.
In September, the stadium had one of its busiest stretches in the 13-year history of the venue. Gillette Stadium was converted from a football field following the Patriots preseason finale vs. the New York Giants into a natural grass surfaced-venue for a New England Revolution soccer match and an international soccer friendly featuring the United States Men’s National Team and Brazil. Following the USA vs. Brazil match, the stadium was converted back into a football field for the 2015 NFL Kickoff featuring the Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers. Following the NFL season opener, the venue was transformed from a football field to a concert venue for One Direction in less than 42 hours. Gillette Stadium’s Facility Operations Manager Jason Stone, who has extensive experience with various turf protection products, said this could not have been accomplished without Matrax.
The primary purpose of the Matrax field covering system is to protect the synthetic turf, support heavy vehicular traffic during the construction of stages and lighting systems and to provide a safe surface for the general public during events. Other systems that Gillette Stadium had previously used could not support fully loaded 40-foot tractor-trailers weighing 40,000 pounds, which made for challenging stage builds.
Where other field covering systems are designed from a flooring perspective, Matrax is engineered with temporary road building and heavy vehicular traffic in mind. It is designed to be easily installed, stored, and transported. The Matrax system has translucent properties that permit light to penetrate to the surface below, thus allowing natural grass to stay alive for up to seven days while covered, thereby eliminating the need for sod replacement. While it transmits light, it does not transfer heat from the surface to the underside.
Other venues using Matrax include Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, MetLife Stadium and the National Mall in Washington, DC.