Historic Day Salutes the Icon That Invented the Synthetic Turf Industry

On March 21, 1966, the scoreboard on the Houston Astrodome read “You are about to witness an historic event,” to commemorate the first major league baseball game played on a synthetic surface. That surface was AstroTurf®.

More half a century later, we continue to mark that historic day with the fourth annual AstroTurf® Day on 21 March 2024.

At the leading edge of athletic turf innovation for almost 60 years

AstroTurf®, part of Sport Group, is the original inventor of synthetic turf, and the company has been at the leading edge of athletic surface innovation for almost 60 years. AstroTurf® products have set the stage for some of the most iconic moments in sports history. They have served as the playing surface for 12 World Series, 11 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, 8 Major League All-Star Games, and 34 NFL Pro Bowls. AstroTurf® is also a preferred turf for college athletic programs, high schools, and sports complexes across the United States.

The space race inspires AstroTurf®’s launch

The brand name is inspired by the Houston Astrodome, the world’s first domed multi-sports complex and the launching point for AstroTurf® synthetic turf products. At the time the facility was built, the Astrodome was a marvel of sports architecture. While stunning and thoughtfully designed to align with the progressive vision prevalent during the space race era, the structure had one fatal flaw: the clear Lucite panels of the dome created a near-blinding glare that made it almost impossible for athletes to catch pop-ups.

The ceiling was then painted to reduce the glare. This, however, created an entirely new problem. As the original Astrodome field was made from live grass, the painted dome deprived the turf of the sunlight it needed to stay alive. With dead grass, no one could safely play on the field.

This was when the Astrodome first installed brand-new technology for the era – a revolutionary playing surface developed by the engineers and scientists behind AstroTurf®.

A history of firsts from Super Bowl to Olympic Field Hockey 

Immediately recognized as an effective solution and ideal playing surface for professional athletes, synthetic turf was quickly adopted by both professional and college-level sports. In 1967, Indiana State’s Memorial Stadium became the first outdoor installation. By 1974, the first Super Bowl was played on AstroTurf®, and 1975 marked the first international field hockey game on AstroTurf® at Molson Stadium in Montreal. In 1980, the entire World Series was played on baseball fields installed with this ultra-durable synthetic turf.

A celebration of leading-edge innovation, technology and quality

Since the early days of synthetic turf, the technology has continually improved, edging ever closer to the ultimate goal of replicating the feel, performance, and safety of natural grass while offering the strength and longevity of synthetic turf. AstroTurf® has been at the forefront of that innovation, helping to revolutionise the field of play for sports worldwide and transforming sport and spaces where participants of every age and sport come to play.

“We are thrilled to celebrate the 4th annual AstroTurf® Day, a momentous occasion that honors our rich history and the hard work of our incredible team. This day is a testament to our enduring commitment to innovation and the communities we serve. We look forward to continuing to push the boundaries of what’s possible in the world of artificial turf.” – Gary Jones, Director of Marketing at AstroTurf Corporation.

Join the AstroTurf® celebrations

As we celebrate AstroTurf® Day on March 21st across our Sport Group offices worldwide, we invite our employees, partners, customers, and communities to join us in recognizing the impact of AstroTurf surfaces and the people behind them.

About AstroTurf 

For athletes and sports enthusiasts, AstroTurf has revolutionized the game. The brand offers advanced, multi-sport, and specialized synthetic turf systems equipped with proprietary engineered technologies. A growing number of high schools, colleges, professional sports teams, and municipalities are choosing AstroTurf-branded products for their premium quality, technical superiority, and safety. For more information, visit astroturf.com.