FieldTurf to be Installed at the Metrodome; Industry Leader Steps up Following Bankruptcy of SRI Sports

DALTON, Ga., Feb. 26, 2004 (PRIMEZONE) -- FieldTurf has come to the rescue of the Metrodome and will install its state-of-the-art artificial turf system at Minneapolis' renowned stadium. That announcement was made jointly today by FieldTurf CEO John Gilman and Roy Terwilliger, the Chairman of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission (MSFC). The installation is expected to be completed in time for the Minnesota Twins' home opener on April 5. In addition to the Twins, the Metrodome's other primary tenants include the NFL's Minnesota Vikings and the NCAA's University of Minnesota Gophers.

The MSFC selected FieldTurf to provide and install the turf system following last week's bankruptcy filing of Southwest Recreational Industries (SRI), the manufacturers of AstroTurf and AstroPlay. A bankruptcy court hearing today in Atlanta cleared the path for the Metrodome to void their contract with SRI and award it to FieldTurf. When the MSFC first decided to replace the Metrodome's current turf, FieldTurf was the first choice of the Vikings. However, the Metrodome is a public facility, which required the MSFC to select the lowest bid (AstroPlay). The alteration in the Metrodome's turf decision gives FieldTurf only about five weeks to install their product in time for the Twins' season opener.

"It put us under the gun, but we will do whatever it takes to deliver on time, and for the same price that we had originally quoted to the MSFC," said FieldTurf CEO John Gilman. "We know that the Vikings and Twins players always preferred FieldTurf, but the AstroPlay bid came in at a lower cost. Because the Astroplay bid came in lower than FieldTurf, the MSFC (a public agency) had no other option but to choose the lower price. But this is a great day for FieldTurf. The Metrodome is one of the nation's top multi-purpose stadiums, and we are delighted to have a presence there."

Said Vikings Head Coach Mike Tice, "Our players really like the FieldTurf surface a lot. They think it is the best surface out there, and they can't wait to get the season going so they can play on it."

Added Viking quarterback Daunte Culpepper, "I'm very happy to hear that we will be getting FieldTurf in the Metrodome. Earlier this month, I practiced on FieldTurf for the whole week leading up to the Pro Bowl (at Honolulu's Aloha Stadium), and then of course, we played the Pro Bowl on FieldTurf. It's a great surface, and I know it will be a huge improvement from what we've had in the Metrodome in the past."

Twins Manager Ron Gardenhire was very pleased with today's FieldTurf news. "We've had the opportunity previously to play on FieldTurf. It's a great surface, and it's much softer than our previous turf. Also, FieldTurf has no seams and that's big for baseball. We're really looking forward to playing on it. We needed a change. Getting FieldTurf is a big plus for baseball, and a big plus for the Minnesota Twins."

The Metrodome upgrade to FieldTurf's revolutionary artificial grass system continues a growing trend. The Twins will become the third MLB team to play their home games on FieldTurf, joining the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and Montreal Expos. In addition, 19 NFL teams currently utilize FieldTurf at their stadiums and/or practice facilities. FieldTurf is currently in use at Giants Stadiums (New York Giants, New York Jets), Seahawks Stadium (Seattle Seahawks), Ford Field (Detroit Lions) and the Georgia Dome (Atlanta Falcons). In addition, 30+ NCAA schools have FieldTurf in their stadiums, including Kansas State, Missouri, Nebraska, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin.

While the financial demise of SRI took most of the industry by surprise, FieldTurf management has been aware for some time of the low prices being offered by SRI, and the problems they had been experiencing with field failures. FieldTurf was not surprised by the bankruptcy, and had been warning customers of its imminent demise.

"FieldTurf is the undisputed industry leader," said FieldTurf VP/Marketing Troy Squires. "Regardless of price, it always comes down to the quality of the product."

FieldTurf is the result of years of research and development, evident in the patented FieldTurf infill mix of silica sand and cryogenic rubber, developed to perform like natural grass. Its patented products and layering process result in a system that emulates natural grass. Its additional benefits are found in improved player safety, reduced maintenance costs and flexibility for conversion -- allowing stadium managers to quickly change the field from one sport to another or to easily host a variety of sporting events, concerts and other special events on top of the FieldTurf surface.

Over the past few years, the quality and performance of FieldTurf's patented system has resulted in over 800 installations in more than 20 countries, and has made it the first choice for top stadiums around the world. FieldTurf is a privately held company that has revolutionized the artificial turf industry with its patented products and installation technologies. FieldTurf also offers a full range of artificial grass solutions.


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