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New player in artificial turf business could spark price war

fieldturfNO Getty Images

While surveying the Internet for possible stories to share, I tripped across an item in the Buffalo News regarding the new artificial surface to be installed at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, New York.

Hooked by the fact that the company that won the contract is owned by a lifelong Bills fans, I was shocked by the price of the job:  $178,000.  Though A-Turf may simply be hoping to crack the NFL market, the price falls far short of similar projects.  For example, the Metrodome spent $495,000 last year on a new artificial surface.  In St. Louis, the Edward Jones Dome plunked down $2.5 million for a system that allows the turf to be moved when the facility isn’t being used for football, an alternative to the prior approach that cost $300,000 per year.

According to its website, FieldTurf costs well over $700,000 to install.

If A-Turf establishes any traction (pun not intended but nevertheless acknowledged), its competitors’ prices could be dropping quickly.

Assuming that A-Turf can charge a rate that low and still make a profit.

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28 Responses to “New player in artificial turf business could spark price war”
  1. MichaelEdits says: May 8, 2011 5:51 PM

    Signs we have no football stories to report right now…

  2. ladyboyfromtokyo says: May 8, 2011 6:11 PM

    this could signal the beginning of a turf war

  3. pacificamjr says: May 8, 2011 6:41 PM

    interesting story… zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
    zzzzzzz
    zzz
    z

  4. ramsfanjoe says: May 8, 2011 6:44 PM

    They will just make it in Mexico, just like everything else for ten cents on the dollar, and truck it in. Nuff said.

  5. liberrianp says: May 8, 2011 7:14 PM

    But will there also be a turf war?

  6. citizenstrange says: May 8, 2011 7:22 PM

    Speaking of how very, very, concerned Roger Goodell and the owners are about player safety it always seems just absolutely CRAZY to me that any NFL team would still play on a dirt freakin’ baseball infield.

    Could it be possible that Goodell and the owners don’t really care about player safety and instead ONLY care about money?

    Put your money where your mouth is. Get rid of ALL dirt infield surfaces.

  7. damanilee says: May 8, 2011 7:58 PM

    safety indeed!!!! this is an insult to bills players and fans. now when the ankle and knee injuries start piling up will this cheap stunt be held up to the proper scrutiny! on the other hand, if its possible to install an effective safe ugh artificial surface for this much less, than obviously someone else is lying here.

  8. moth25 says: May 8, 2011 8:06 PM

    And if the players really cared about their own safety they would push for more safety measures instead of whining about the safety measures that are implemented. I bet a good way to have a safer game is to NEGOTIATE it into the CBA…or maybe the lawyers care enough to sue the NFL for a safer work place.

  9. mataug says: May 8, 2011 8:07 PM

    does this also come with a ‘Made in China’ tag ?

  10. zimaman says: May 8, 2011 8:33 PM

    if I were a player I would definetly be concerned about this contract being awarded to a significantly “low” bid.

    it is hard to imagine the same product can be applied at 1/3 the cost and provide a safe and professional playing surface at the same time.

    maybe he can do this job at that price and make money but jeez if it’s not a first class field the bumbling Bills and Ralph Wilson are gonna look dopey again.

  11. zeapelido says: May 8, 2011 8:37 PM

    ralph wilson couldn’t read the small print which said they would be installing the original Astrodome turf from the 1970’s.

  12. ncsteeler says: May 8, 2011 8:41 PM

    $179K seems awfully cheap for an artifical surface. Natural grass would cost at least $100K, not last nearly as long, etc. Usual story is that art. turf. costs much more but also lasts much longer.

  13. whatchutalkinabouthillis says: May 8, 2011 9:02 PM

    Wow that’s ludicrously cheap; the field at my high school cost us a million, talk about a hometown discount…

  14. ttommytom says: May 8, 2011 9:07 PM

    Our High School spent 700 grand this year. Geez.

  15. baronvonmonocle says: May 8, 2011 9:16 PM

    It’s only that cheap because they’re only doing the end of the field that the Bills will defend. It’s not like the ball will ever leave it.

  16. tdem232wi says: May 9, 2011 12:37 AM

    Does the new artificial turf come with artificial weed? Maybe fewer player’s would get busted in the offseason…

  17. mashoaf says: May 9, 2011 1:08 AM

    Sounds like the Michael Scott Paper Company

  18. gilperreault says: May 9, 2011 3:29 AM

    This is being paid for by Erie County, not Ralph Wilson. Also, if you read the article this guy and his company is doing it at this low price to get a foot in the door to get business from other NFL teams. They have already turfed NCAA fields.

  19. cidman2001 says: May 9, 2011 8:38 AM

    I think it’s outrageous that school districts are paying $700,000 to $1 million dollars for a freakin HS football field! Plant some grass, chalk some lines and let the kids play the game. This is High Scool not the pros……no wonder we carry such a huge deficit. We’re obviously idiots…..

  20. yzguy431 says: May 9, 2011 8:46 AM

    a story about grass. really. maybe you can dust off the law degree, Mike.

  21. thetooloftools says: May 9, 2011 9:01 AM

    Turf just needs to go.
    Grass baby.
    <//////,,,,

  22. makimaguro says: May 9, 2011 9:17 AM

    I think it’s outrageous that school districts are paying $700,000 to $1 million dollars for a freakin HS football field! Plant some grass, chalk some lines and let the kids play the game. This is High Scool not the pros……no wonder we carry such a huge deficit. We’re obviously idiots…..

    —————

    The reason being that a quality grass field costs hundreds of thousands per year to maintain (water/fertilize/labor/etc.).

  23. cidman2001 says: May 9, 2011 9:39 AM

    The reason being that a quality grass field costs hundreds of thousands per year to maintain (water/fertilize/labor/etc.).

    I say leave that for the pros. Kids need decent grass not a professionally groomed playing surface. If the residents are so keen on having one, then they should go out in the community and get a local company to donate the services. Why should something that benefits 50 kids and a hand full of cheerleaders take up such a huge portion of the EDUCATION budget. How many iPads could you buy with that money. Give me a break……

  24. martinmayhew4president says: May 9, 2011 9:46 AM

    PGT- Pro grass talk. Can we stick to real football news, please.

  25. myeaglescantwin says: May 9, 2011 9:55 AM

    high schools and colleges are switching to aftificial surfaces because of the amount of traffic on these fields. Most schools have Football, b&g soccer, field hockey then b&g lacrosse & all of those practices. Its better for the kids..

    It should be mandatory for each stadium to have a grass playing field. & those teams that have the baseball dirt…. get real.

    our highschool field was a sand lot by the end of november.

  26. purpleguy says: May 9, 2011 10:48 AM

    Who cares, that field is usually covered with 3 feet of snow anyhow.

  27. aturf says: May 9, 2011 11:36 AM

    A-Turf, Inc. is very excited about the upcoming turf project for the Buffalo Bills and Erie County taxpayers at Ralph Wilson Stadium. We’ve followed some of the chatter and want to alleviate any concerns on the part of the passionate football fans and taxpayers in general.

    In the field building business, it’s rare to have the opportunity to showcase your system at an NFL stadium venue. The marketing value and credibility is immeasurable. This truly is a win-win situation, the Bills get a premier system and we get the honor of installing it.

    Given that this was a public bid led by Erie County, the price is a matter of public record. Over the years many NFL stadium fields have been given away by other field builders, at reduced prices or in some cases at no cost at all. In many of these cases, the Club makes the decision, meaning it’s not a public bid process and therefore the cost of such fields is not released. Why would a field builder do this? Again, because the exposure is tremendous and the difference between market price and paid price is treated as a multi-year marketing investment. Given the scope of work at Ralph Wilson Stadium, market price would have been in the low $300,000’s, not the $700,000 – $1,000,000 mentioned in above comments. The three quarters of a million dollars would be more typical of converting a natural grass field to synthetic, which includes considerable site work cost. The Ralph Wilson Stadium project is much simpler – remove the old and replace it with the new. As a matter of public record, the second low bid was $269,100.

    A-Turf has built more than 250 athletic fields in the last nine years … our record is impeccable … our systems are as player friendly, safe and durable as any on the market. Our Dalton, Georgia based turf manufacturing partner, Controlled Products, is the largest turf producer and arguably the most capable in the industry. They participated hand-in-hand with A-Turf in providing this one-time reduced pricing.

    Now it’s back to business as usual charging reasonable prices and providing outstanding value!

    Jim Dobmeier
    A-Turf, Inc.
    President & Founder

  28. jpmelon says: May 9, 2011 2:09 PM

    hopefully the price doesn’t go up too much when it needs to be replaced.

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