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Monday, July 14, 2014
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Published: Monday, 1/27/2014 - Updated: 5 months ago

SUPER BOWL

Oregon firm has home-turf edge in game

Company workers helped install playing field at MetLife in N.Y.

BY TYREL LINKHORN
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER
The UBU Speed Series S5-M synthetic turf at MetLife Stadium is ready to go — whether it snows or not. So far, forecasts say fans are in the clear. The UBU Speed Series S5-M synthetic turf at MetLife Stadium is ready to go — whether it snows or not. So far, forecasts say fans are in the clear.
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The novelty of a cold-weather Super Bowl — will it snow or won’t it Feb. 2 in New York? — has added yet another discussion topic to one of the year’s biggest entertainment frenzies.

Based on the latest forecasts, it looks like the game is in the clear. Brad Morrison is thankful for that.

“The last thing I want to see is our turf under snow for the big game,” he said Monday.

Mr. Morrison is chief executive officer of Maumee Bay Turf Center in Oregon, one of several companies that worked to install the synthetic turf playing field in New York’s MetLife Stadium.

Maumee Bay Turf Center is one of 15 worldwide distributors for Georgia-based UBU Sports, a leading manufacturer of synthetic turf. The eight-year-old company was founded by Mr. Morrison and PJ Kapfhammer, who serves as the company’s chief financial officer.

Maumee Bay Turf Center has about 35 full-time employees and covers Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana for UBU Sports. In early 2012, the company installed a new playing surface at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, where the Cincinnati Bengals play.

The company also sends employees to help with other installation projects around the country, including last summer at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

Mr. Morrison said two of his employees helped with the installation. That doesn’t sound like many, but he said the project at Paul Brown Stadium was done by five or six people.

“They’re skilled craftsmen, and it doesn’t behoove you just to throw labor at these projects the way we do them,” he said.

The Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks will battle it out Feb. 2 on the turf at MetLife Stadium. The Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks will battle it out Feb. 2 on the turf at MetLife Stadium.
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MetLife Stadium is the regular-season home to the New York Jets and New York Giants. UBU Sports made the end-zone turf changeable so that whichever team is playing at the stadium can have its own logo displayed there.

“We can go from Jets to Giants in 12 hours,” Mr. Morrison said. “There’s a third set of panels that are blank.”

Those will be temporarily painted for the big game. Mr. Morrison said his company developed a scrubbing unit based off a zero-turn lawn mower that can remove the paint.

“They can drive over top of these logos, it will wash it, scrub it, suck up the water, and be ready to paint a new logo on it,” he said.

Another interesting tidbit: UBU Sports has tinkered with the coloring of its turf so it looks better on high-definition televisions. Mr. Morrison said sometimes artificial turf will look flat or shiny on television. To fix that, the company designed a bicolored turf in which half of the fibers are lime green and half are field green.

While Mr. Morrison hopes the game doesn’t end up a snow bowl, the field will be just fine either way, he said. NFL and stadium officials already have had some practice clearing snow from the stadium. Mr. Morrison said as of Friday, half a million pounds of snow had been removed after last week’s snowstorm.

The turf isn’t the only local connection to Super Bowl XLVIII. Wilson Sporting Goods Co. makes all Super Bowl game balls at its football factory in Ada, 65 miles south of Toledo.

Contact Tyrel Linkhorn at: tlinkhorn@theblade.com or 419-724-6134.



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