Retractable pitch debuts in Premier League

Katie McIntyre in Sports Venue Business says the opening Premier League match on the world’s first dividing retractable pitch took place last week, when Tottenham Spurs took on Crystal Palace at the New Spurs Stadium.

Sheffield (England) engineering specialist SCX has been building up to this key fixture in its 46-year history, which saw the pitch it designed, engineered and installed at the New Spurs Stadium; the first Premier League match follows the successful testing of SCX’s pitch and two test event games at the new 62,000-seat stadium.

The grass surface, which can be rolled back to reveal a bespoke NFL pitch below, is the result of the vision and expertise of SCX Special Projects, the bespoke engineering arm of the SCX group. The retractable real grass surface splits into three pitch-long steel trays. When the trays slide together, the join is invisible and imperceptible to the players. The trays, weighing more than 3,000 tons each, can be rolled under the new South Stand to reveal the NFL artificial surface in a process taking about 25 minutes.

The mechanical tests included the sideways movement of the side trays to meet the center tray, the defining feature that makes the pitch a world first. Teams of electrical, mechanical and design engineers from SCX Special Projects, based in Wincobank, Sheffield, were on hand.

The innovative system means the venue can be used for music concerts and other events in addition to regular football matches and NFL games. See more here