Since its beginnings in 1998, Sportsfield Specialties has earned the trust of stadium designers for their vast experience, industry innovations, and commitment to quality, safety, and customer service. So, when Major League Soccer (MLS) Commissioner Don Garber announced a multi-year expansion that included construction of several new stadiums and the modernization of existing facilities, it was no surprise that Sportfield Specialties, Inc. had a place on the roster of equipment suppliers.
Ryan Holt, Stadium Preconstruction Manager for Sportsfield explained that this MLS expansion phase began in 2019 with construction schedules impacted by the Covid-19 shutdown in Spring of 2020. “Once safety measures were addressed, we began finalizing equipment needs with stadium designers,” he said, “It was kind of a blitz for a while.” According to Holt, in two years, Sportsfield has been involved in twelve construction projects related to the MLS expansion. “We were working on 2-3 stadiums at a time—and it’s still going on.”
The fast pace and project scale did not intimidate Sportsfield, however. The company is known for their ability to address the field equipment needs of professional sports leagues quickly and successfully.
Past examples include Sportsfield’s roles in manufacturing 35’ uprights for 23 NFL stadiums in 2014 after owners voted to increase their heights by 5’. Also, in 2016, Sportsfield played a significant part in engineering and installing large-scale netting systems for MLB after recommendations were made to extend backstop safety barriers down foul lines.
For Holt, who has been the point-person on most of the MLS projects, the ongoing demand from the league has kept him focused on one thing—soccer facilities. “That level of engagement means we are in tune with the league’s most current needs and concerns from one venue to the next.” He added that it has allowed Sportsfield and collaborating designers to invest their energy attentively on taking MLS stadiums to the next level and achieve a state-of-the-art standard for venues across North America.
“Contemporary venues are constructed for more than their flagship sport,” Holt said. He explained that stadiums are now designed for year-round use to host events from concerts to NCAA football playoffs and high school baseball / softball championships—this means equipment must be removable and easy to handle. Not to mention, MLS’ multi-use stadiums require equipment for more than the sport of soccer.
“One of the major contributions Sportsfield has made to this expansion phase has been with our StormGuard® Netting Systems—we’ve installed roughly 6,300 linear feet of the netting to date,” Holt said. The barriers were added to keep overshot balls in the arena and to protect adjacent pedestrian paths, parking lots, and buildings from potential harm from stray balls. Additionally, Sportsfield has installed their AdjustRight® Football Goal Posts in nearly all the project venues. Pro teams donning Sportsfield equipment at their stadiums and practice facilities include Los Angeles FC, Nashville SC, St. Louis City SC, DC United, Austin FC, Columbus Crew, FC Cincinnati, and Louisville City FC.
For over 20 years, Sportsfield Specialties has been showing up to the sports construction field with a commitment to innovation, customer service, and quality. It is no wonder they were recruited to assist in MLS’s most recent expansion. And as that number of teams grows, so do opportunities for Sportsfield to do what they do best—engineer high performing field equipment for multi-use athletic venues.