Livestream and highlights of e-workshop on pitch management

With a European line-up of speakers selected from several countries, we had a successful afternoon on the game changers in pitch management.

ESSMA was welcomed at the King Power at den dreef Stadium of OH Leuven. We visited the pitch, as can be seen in the livestream and Oliver Makin, head groundsman of OHL, shared his approach on pitch management.

View the full livestream

Main highlights from the workshop

1) Data is top-of-mind for groundsmen today.

All speakers mentioned the growing importance of testing and using the results of that testing in pitch improvement. Both in trainings centers as on stadium pitches, data dashboards are being designed. How do structure the data and how to efficiently use the results are an important challenge in the months to come.

2) Introduction of LED-lighting units in more and more stadiums.

Although there was some scepsis regarding the benefits of LED-lighting in pitch management, European pitch managers started testing and found positive impact after one month already. This is an interesting line of thought for covered stadiums.

3) High quality pitches are the result of hard work and good information.

Pedro Fernández-Bolaños, Grounds Quality Manager at LaLiga states that high quality pitches demand hard word and being updated as much as possible on evolutions in playing surfaces and growing lights. As good dashboarding can make a difference, LaLiga has invested in the Greenkeeper-app to gather data from all clubs and share learnings. Useful statistics are available to all contributors and results in insightful overviews on temperature forecasts for example.

Sofa Talk with Oliver Makin, head groundsman at OH Leuven

Oliver Makin has taken up the role of groundsman at OH Leuven now for 2,5 years. As OH Leuven is part of the same group of Leicester City FC, the goal was and is to have pitches of Premier League quality. Although the pitch is still facing challenges and has disadvantages like the absence of drainage, the project is well under way to be successful. One of the most important advices is to always keep the four key influences on pitch quality into mind: water, air, light and temperature.

View the sofa talk at 1:16:00

Presentations from VfL Wolfsburg, LaLiga and Friends Arena give European overview of current trends in pitch management

Klaus-Peter Sauer from VfL Wolfsburg gave us insight in his award-winning approach in the Bundesliga, whereas Pedro Fernández-Bolaños enlightened us on the approach of LaLiga. LaLiga had appointed Mr Fernández-Bolaños as a global grounds quality manager to gather and share insights amongst Spanish clubs. Mario Spagnolatti gave us more insight on the approach in the Friends Arena, a 54,000 stadium with retractable roof. This roofing has a large impact on the pitch quality as there is little natural light and little ventilation possible on the grass. Nevertheless, Mr Spagnolatti and his team maximize the lifespan as much as possible in these circumstances. All presentations are available on our Knowledge Platform.

Go to the Knowledge Platform