Tomorrow's World Football Cup Final, the first-ever to be staged on a revolutionary hi-tech playing surface, is set to deliver a multi-million pound boost to SIS Pitches, the English firm behind the groundbreaking technology.
Cumbria-based SIS Pitches installed its hybrid surfaces using patented fibre injection technology with undersoil aeration system in six of the 12 tournament venues, including Moscow's 81,000-capacity Luzhniki Stadium, which will host Sunday's decider between France and Croatia.
Luzhniki's pitch uses SISGrass, - 95% natural grass reinforced with 5% synthetic fibres - and SISAir, a unique aeration system capable of removing a deluge of rain from the surface in just five seconds, whilst optimising root moisture via a network of undersoil pipes.
George Mullan, CEO of SIS Pitches, said: "With around one billion people expected to watch the final, there's clearly pressure to get the pitch in top condition, despite it being used for over 60 hours - the equivalent of a full Premier League season - in the past five weeks. That would have been impossible on a traditional all-grass pitch.
"Everyone has been raving about the quality of football at this tournament and our pitches have certainly given Modric, Lukaku, Mbappe and Kane a brilliant platform to perform on. The feedback we've had from everyone involved has been hugely positive. It's the first worldwide showcase for these technologies to be combined at a World Football Cup final and it's performed perfectly."
The six World Football Cup stadia using SISGrass are Luzhniki, Spartak, Samara, Kaliningrad, Saransk and Rostov.
Having installed over 80 hybrid surfaces worldwide, including English Premier League sides Chelsea, Newcastle United, Fulham and Bournemouth, as well as Scottish champions Celtic and the English FA's St George's Park complex, with Barcelona to follow, SIS Pitches predicts annual revenues will grow from £55m to £65m in 2019.
SIS Pitches CEO George Mullan (fifth from left, back row) and staff
Mullan said: "We're seeing huge interest from professional sports teams in the US and Japan, as well as the enormous American university sector and we're installing eight SISGrass pitches in France this summer alone."
Founded in 2001, SIS Pitches employs over 340 staff worldwide, with manufacturing headquarters in Maryport, Cumbria.