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Rio 2016 hockey tournament to be played on world-class artificial turf

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Worldwide Olympic Partner, Dow, works with strategic customer, Polytan, to supply the high-performing playing surface for the Olympic hockey pitches.

Building on the success of the London 2012 Olympic Games experience, the innovative artificial turf solution based on The Dow Chemical Company’s (NYSE: DOW) polyethylene (PE) and polyurethane (PU) technologies will be the official playing surface for hockey competitions during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, at the Deodoro Olympic Park.

Dow, the Official Chemistry Company of the Olympic Games, is working once again with Polytan STI, a global leading manufacturer and supplier for outdoor and indoor sports surfaces, to deliver a higher-performing, more reliable and faster artificial turf for the world’s best hockey players in Rio.

The companies worked together on London 2012’s Riverbank Arena, which helped set the new standard for hockey’s most important competitions.

Game-changing features

Two pitches and one warm-up area at Deodoro, as well as two additional pitches to be built at the Federal University of Rio, will benefit from a comprehensive playing surface that consists of specific high-performing materials formulated together in multiple layers. The surface system is designed to deliver enhanced durability for increased pitch life, and a consistent field-of-play throughout the busy Olympic competition schedule.

The production of synthetic turf is a highly elaborated process. The system begins with the production of the master batch and the yarn for the turf. The subsequent tufting and backing process provide a strong turf bind, even when the surface is wet. For the upper surface layer, the polymer yarn provides wear resistance and energy absorption, combined with softness and speed. The complete turf system, including embedded shock pad properties, provides stability, durability, shock absorption and force reduction properties for the benefit of the players and the game.

The internationally-certified artificial turf system offers colorability, enabling customised aesthetics and design for the playing surface. London 2012 marked the first Olympic hockey competition in history to be played on blue and pink turf. The blue colour enabled players, officials, spectators and the media to keep their eyes on the ball more easily, because it provided a high level of contrast against the yellow ball and white lines.

Ana Carolina Haracemiv, Global Marketing Director, Dow Packaging & Specialty Plastics, said:

Our unique position as the Official Chemistry Company of the Olympic Games and a global leader in the plastics industry, combined with our customer’s experience in artificial playing surfaces, enables us to deliver the best turf conditions for the world’s greatest athletes – in hockey and other sports. The solution we developed together is durable, low maintenance, stays consistently flat and fast from game to game, and requires no watering – compared to natural grass.

Contributing to the Olympic Legacy in Rio

Beyond the Olympic athletes, citizens of Rio will largely benefit from the innovative playing surfaces to be installed in Deodoro, as the Park will remain as one of the main legacy projects for the city after the Games have concluded. Dow and its customer plan to donate material to support the construction of the Deodoro pitches and enable the long-term use of the fields.

Sidney Levy, Chief Executive Officer of Rio 2016, said:

The contribution we are receiving from Dow and its customer is an extraordinary example of how the Rio 2016 Olympic Games are changing – for the better – our city and communities. It takes true Olympic spirit, strong partnerships and great corporate citizenship to help us deliver this unique legacy for the future of Rio.


Image: Dow/Polytan hockey pitch at London 2012

Jaguars unveil bold plan for transformation of Jacksonville site

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Team owner, Shad Khan, revealed the vision for the Shipyards development at the 2015 Jaguars State of the Franchise yesterday.

The eagerly anticipated vision to transform the Shipyards riverfront downtown property into a vibrant entertainment and leisure district was presented by Jaguars owner, Shad Khan, and team president, Mark Lamping, on behalf of Iguana Investments, a new development entity created by Khan specifically for the Shipyards project.

The vision was presented at the Jaguars’ annual state of the franchise event, where updates involving the Jaguars were shared with City leaders and news media in attendance, and online with the public via live streaming.

The property, which encompasses approximately 48-acres of City-owned property on the north bank of the St. Johns River, is central to Khan’s long-stated vision to bring new life and positive economic impact to Jacksonville’s urban core. By creating a year-round destination that bridges EverBank Field and the Sports Complex to Downtown Jacksonville, Khan said the Shipyards project – should it become reality – promises to serve the entire region for generations to come.

Khan said after the event:

The Shipyards would give Downtown Jacksonville the kind of iconic identity that many downtown districts in the United States enjoy and we currently lack. But it doesn’t work or make sense if it doesn’t provide jobs, boost our economy and self-confidence, stabilize the future of the Jaguars franchise and improve our overall quality of life.  Our proposal to partner with the City of Jacksonville on this project will achieve this and more.

The opportunity to make the most of our natural resources and potential as a city is here and it’s long overdue. It’s time we re-engage with our riverfront, an asset that many cities can only dream of.  It’s time to make Downtown Jacksonville the place to be every day of the year, to open a business, spend a weekend or even call home.  I am very appreciative of the consideration by Mayor Alvin Brown, the City of Jacksonville and the City Council members who were here today, and I assure everyone in Jacksonville that my commitment to making this happen is unqualified.

The Kansas City-based office of global architecture giant, Populous has provided the initial conceptual design support to Iguana Investments for the project. Ben Stindt, senior architect and principal at Populous, joined Khan and Lamping in presenting the vision on Tuesday. Populous was the original designer of EverBank Field and has worked with the City and the Jags on the EverBank Field improvements project, including video boards and other upgrades.

Khan said:

It is important for the design and feel of EverBank Field and the Shipyards to work in unison, which made Populous the perfect partner to provide the initial design concepts for the Shipyards. Populous has been very helpful in assisting us in molding the many concepts and ideas that have surfaced over the past year. We are grateful for their expertise.

According to the Iguana Investments’ vision, the goal of the development is to create a modern, urban, walkable destination that connects the Sports Complex and Downtown Jacksonville, activates Bay Street, engages with the Hogan’s Creek Greenway and hosts activities throughout the year. The vision is guided by the principles of embracing the St. Johns River and riverfront, showcasing Jacksonville’s unique character and listening to the market as to what types of development will flourish at the Shipyards.

The site would be developed into a mixed-use district with public park space, a river walk and other  uses that may be supported by the market, with potential options including residential, office, retail, restaurants, a hotel, a football-themed public space and a marina. Feasibility studies, market research and due diligence by Iguana Investments and the City of Jacksonville would be conducted to determine the specific types of development that would be thrive long-term at the Shipyards.

Lamping said:

We have been very clear that a stronger Jacksonville, and particularly a stronger Downtown Jacksonville, will equate to a more stable and successful Jaguars franchise. The improvements to EverBank Field last year speak to ensuring that Downtown Jacksonville continues to be home to the NFL and the Jaguars, and to current and future major sporting and entertainment events. The upgrades to EverBank Field were the outcome of listening to our customers, and the results have been tremendous.

Following yesterday’s presentation, representatives from Iguana Investments will deliver a proposal to the Downtown Investment Authority (DIA) on Monday, February 23. It is the anticipation of Iguana Investments that the DIA will review the proposal during its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, February 24. It is the hope of Iguana Investments that the DIA will review the proposal and promptly begin the process for a request for proposals.

“We are ready to move forward immediately on this project that is critical to the future of Jacksonville and the Jaguars,” Khan said. “It is our hope that the DIA shares our sense of urgency and resolve. The opportunity to change Jacksonville is here.”

The Shipyards served Jacksonville as a manufacturing and repair centre for small ships, barges, ferry boats and freightliners, but began to decline in the 1980s and, other than a brief period in the 1990s when the site was home to the River City Music Sheds, the property has largely remained vacant and unused. Since the demolition of the Music Sheds in 2001, the Shipyards has been at the centre of numerous failed development plans, bankruptcies and legal disputes.


Image courtesy: Populous.

Manchester City Football Club confirms Laing O’Rourke as Construction Partner

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Manchester City FC has confirmed that engineering firm Laing O’Rourke has been chosen as its construction partner for the expansion of its Etihad Stadium.

Laing O’Rourke were the original constructor of the stadium in 2002, ahead of Manchester’s staging of the Commonwealth Games.

In a statement on Monday, City said that design firm Populous would work with Laing O’Rourke on previously announced plans to increase the stadium’s capacity to 60,000. The first phase will see the South Stand expanded by some 6,000 seats, rising from 48,000 to 54,000. With a second phase to see the development of the North Stand.

“The expansion of the stadium is a hugely significant moment for City,” said Tom Glick, Manchester City’s Chief Commercial Officer.

Glick continued: “Manchester City Football Club strives to provide its supporters and visiting fans with one of the best possible matchday experiences in the Premier League and European football. The success of this is demonstrated by games being sold out and rising demand from supporters for more season tickets, matchday tickets, and premium seating.”

Arena Group unveils Glasgow 2014 plans

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Official provider to Glasgow 2014, Arena Group has revealed the plans for transforming the Commonwealth Games venues with its temporary overlay, structures and seating products.


As an official Overlay and Temporary Structures Provider, Arena Group, including the Arena Structures division, has been working closely with the Organising Committee to design and install over 230 structures; totalling more than 20,800m2.


Meanwhile the company’s seating division, Arena Seating, has been liaising with each venue in Arena Group’s capacity as the Exclusive Temporary Seating Provider. The team has been tasked with delivering every single temporary seat at the Games – around 22,000 in total – across 10 venues. The seating team will also be installing camera platforms, wheelchair access platforms, press positions and commentator platforms.


Installation times vary for each venue, with the first project due for completion – the official merchandise shop in a Glasgow city centre location – commencing at the beginning of June.

FC Dordrecht in the Netherlands plays on synthetic turf for first time

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FC Dordrecht will play its Jupiler League (first division) and friendly matches on synthetic turf from now on. The first game on the new surface was against Feyenoord on Saturday 20 July. In record time synthetic turf was installed for the first time ever in the Dordrecht stadium.

In the next football season eight of the 20 clubs in the Jupiler League will train and play their home games on synthetic turf.

FC Dordrecht will thus join the ranks of Almere City FC, FC Den Bosch, SBV Excelsior, Helmond Sport, FC Oss, FC Volendam, and VVV Venlo.

Jelle Beuker, Operational Director of the Coöperatie Eerste Divisie (CED) [Cooperation First Division], explained the development:

We aim both to enhance the attractiveness of matches in the Jupiler League and to increase the playability of the pitches, particularly during the winter season. Synthetic turf makes this entirely possible. An additional advantage is that every stadium with synthetic turf now enables players to both train and play matches, thus also saving the clubs on operating costs. Moreover, the choice of synthetic turf helps to project the Jupiler League as a platform for talented footballers who have the potential to grow to premier league level.

Current list of clubs playing on synthetic turf in the Jupiler League as from the 2013 season:

  • Almere City FC on a synthetic turf system from GreenFields with fibres from TenCate
  • FC Den Bosch on a synthetic turf system from GreenFields with fibres from TenCate
  • C Dordrecht on a synthetic turf system from GreenFields with fibres from TenCate
  • SBV Excelsior on a synthetic turf system from FieldTurf Benelux with fibres from TenCate
  • Helmond Sport on a synthetic turf system from GreenFields with fibres from TenCate
  • FC Oss on a synthetic turf system from Edel Grass with fibres from TenCate
  • FC Volendam on a synthetic turf system from FieldTurf Benelux with fibres from TenCate
  • VVV-Venlo on a synthetic turf system from FieldTurf Benelux with fibres from FieldTurf

Photo courtesy FC Dordrecht – photographer Erwin Spek.

All England Tennis Club uses innovative graphics to show visitors the way

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As the Wimbledon Championships got underway this year, enhancing the visitor experience took a new turn. With over 35,000 visitors per day during the prestigious lawn tennis fortnight, unmissable graphics were the latest wayfinding development to keep the fans and traffic safely on course at the event and on leaving for home.

Championship manager Matt Crawcour said:

Providing the best possible visitor experience is hugely important to us. A big part of this is to provide information for everybody to move safely and efficiently with minimum queuing and delays.

The unique Applied Media floor-applied graphic system has been adopted as part of an experimental signage scheme designed to contribute towards continuous safety improvements. The scheme enhanced pedestrian, wheelchair and vehicle movements in and around the world famous venue in South West London.

The system, which is more usually employed for high impact advertising campaigns, provided clearly visible route markings to help the large visitor numbers enjoy even more of the Championship experience.

The London Borough of Merton also approved the system as temporary signage on the macadam footpaths around the perimeter of the Wimbledon complex. The signage safely guided the queue for tickets and the authority were impressed with results and performance and are assessing potential for future events in the borough.

Business development director for Applied Media, Larry Walsh said:

This innovation has been specifically developed to facilitate branding, advertising and signing opportunities in new and sometimes difficult to access locations. Sports fans will be familiar with the Applied Media graphics which were also adopted to provide branding in the challenging tidal environment at this year’s BNY Mellon Boat Race in London. Last year our parent company also worked closely with Transport for London using similar technology to apply and remove 120 kilometres of temporary games lanes for the Olympic and Paralympics games.

The panels are designed for use in areas with heavy pedestrian activity and can be overrun with vehicular traffic. The panels are easily laid on any sound surface and then quickly lifted without damage to the substrate or leaving adhesive residue.

Crawcour added:

Following the success of this year’s trials we may consider further opportunities to roll out Applied Media at Wimbledon next year.


Wimbledon helped traffic and fans get around more easily with its new signage.

Wimbledon helped traffic and fans get around more easily with its new signage.

Parade Ring turns dance floor at Goodwood

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Goodwood Racecourse is among the British race courses that have reinvigorated horse racing by juxtaposing a classically British sport with the current passion for live, outdoor music events. After an exciting evening of horses thundering down the straight, the usually sedate Parade Ring turns into one of the most glamorous dance floors in the UK, complete with spectacular laser show.

Now in its third year, the West Sussex venue, just over an hour from London, has seen the likes Mark Ronson, Mike Skinner and Boy George take to the decks and thrill the countryside with the sound of music. Last year over 20,000 guests soaked up this unique experience at the sell-out nights and organisers anticipate even larger crowds in 2013.

The 2013 acts and dates are Rudimental, Andy Cato (Groove Armada) and Trevor Nelson.

Goodwood Racecourse Managing Director, Adam Waterworth said:

We’re thrilled to be celebrating the third year of Three Friday Nights event at Goodwood. We love the mix of the adrenalin of horse racing combined with the world renowned D’s we have signed. I am confident that this year will be our best year yet.

Austin360 Amphitheater at Circuit of Americas

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Austin360 amphitheater at Circuit of Americas

Austin360 amphitheater is working in partnership with Live Nation.

The Austin360 Amphitheater, a new 14,500-seater amphitheatre at the Circuit of the Americas, has open up with a concert featuring country stars Kenny Chesney and Kacey Musgraves.

The Circuit of the Americas has agreed a ‘multi-year’ sponsorship deal with entertainment publication Austin360. Bobby Epstein, the founding partner of the Circuit of the Americas, said:

Circuit of The Americas is delighted to welcome Austin360 as the naming rights partner for our new amphitheatre. Partnering with the largest and most successful media company in Central Texas gives us a tremendous advantage as we introduce a brand new concert stage into Austin’s established music scene.

Circuit of Americas will this year host races in the V8 Supercars and Moto GP as well as the Formula One US Grand Prix. The Austin360 Amphitheater will be run in partnership with promoter Live Nation and is set to stage a complementary series of concerts and other major events – including performances by the likes of Jimmy Buffet, the Dave Matthews Band, and Train – with its title sponsor providing extensive publicity and other support.

Australian Football League pro-active on stadiums

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The Australian Football League’s attendance was down but TV watching up for 2012. Total attendance for the NAB Cup, NAB Challenge, AFL Premiership season and finals was 7,374,832, down from 7,488,198 in 2011; while average attendance per game in the Premiership season was 31,509, down from 34,893. The fall was in line with the League’s expectations following the introduction of expansion clubs Gold Coast and Greater Western Sydney.

AFL’s Chairman Mike Fitzpatick explained:

“Playing Premiership season matches in smaller capacity venues in Cairns, Canberra, Darwin, Hobart and Launceston may also have the effect of reducing overall crowds, but the AFL Commission is committed to providing an opportunity for as many people as possible to attend an AFL game.”

The AFL has confirmed it would like to buy Docklands Stadium earlier than 2025, when its existing deal means it will take ownership of the venue. It also says it is again considering plans to develop a new stadium in central Melbourne to help ease the financial burden on Victorian clubs playing at Etihad Stadium.