Having year-round perfect stadium grass is top sport

Limited and unevenly distributed daylight levels in professional sports stadiums affect turf growth and quality, and in turn also sports performance. Combined with the Hortilux HSE NXT II, Turf Lighting Solutions (TLS) systems have made match winners out of stadium pitches around the world.

Taking green turf for granted

“Anyone who has a lawn knows that grass is not always green. Sun, rain and frost cause bare, yellow or uneven patches in the grass. And yet athletes and sports fans take the green turf in professional sports stadiums for granted,” says Svenning Messmer, Marketing Director of Turf Lighting Solutions (TLS). He explains why year-round green grass is a challenge for sports venues: “Because of the size of professional sports venues, grass only gets limited exposure to sunlight. On top of that the light distribution is uneven, causing a patchy field or insufficient rooting of young plants. This is bad news for elite performers: insufficiently rooted grass can cause clumps of grass to dislodge during turning, increasing the risk of injuries.”

Mobile grow light installations

Grow light is essential for optimal growth in grass, but how is it integrated into sports stadiums? Svenning: “TLS is part of the RA Group AS, a Norwegian company with more than 30 years of experience with aluminium industry and more than 15-years’ experience of designing, manufacturing and installing of aluminium rigs. I have come to know Hortilux as an innovative, proactive company and grow light specialist. Together we make a great team.” Due to its light weight, aluminium is ideal for grow light systems on sports turf. It makes for easy handling and the rigs don’t leave imprints behind on the grass. The aluminium rigs house Hortilux HSE NXT2 1000Watt bulbs. The reflector ensures even light distribution. The lights are adjustable in height, which makes for optimal use of the heat radiated by the lamps for extra growth.

Top-notch grass

TLS systems with Hortilux grow lights can be found in the football stadiums of, among others, Glasgow Rangers, Besiktas, Everton, and even in Japan. Having visited football stadiums all over the world, Svenning Mesmmer is very much aware that infrastructure varies for each stadium. “That’s why we have various models. We can provide each stadium with a system that is tailored to the venue, but also to the grass type and geographic conditions. We actively search for solutions in partnership with Hortilux. Take, for example, systems for different continents: they require a different voltage, and Hortilux know exactly how to handle it. The grow light systems are easy to operate for groundsmen: they are mobile, manoeuvrable, easy to set up and mowing can take place while the grow lights are doing their job. It’s the groundsmen, after all, that make sure the turf is top-notch.

Because the ball is round, sometimes the turf gets blamed for a disappointing performance – but not if TLS has anything to say about it.