What a lot of paint!
By Laurence Gale MSc
The trend for commercial advertising on pitches is definitely growing if Leeds Rhinos are anything to go by. On a recent visit to see Jason and Ryan at the Headingley Carnegie Ground I could not help notice the sheer scale and size of the promotional adverts on the pitch.
The lads were preparing the pitch for tonight's local derby against Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, which will be televised by Sky TV.
In total there must have been well over 300 square metres of markings painted on the pitch. There were at least eight large motifs. The colours and designs were certainly eye catching from the stands.
However, like most groundsmen, I have my doubts about them. We should be concerned with the longer-term effects of these motifs/advertisements on the playing surface. In fact they not only affect plant growth but also create more work for groundsmen.
It can often take many hours to mark out these logos and, once they are in place, it often becomes difficult to carry out certain maintenance regimes.
When mowing the pitch with a 36" Ransomes Jacobsen as the Leeds staff do, the task involves greater complexities. More turning and weaving around the motifs is essential causing the groundsman to take longer to mow.
Other operations are affected, no verticutting, watering or aeration can be carried out for fear of smearing or damaging the logos.
The combination of all these processes will, over time, cause turf grass to decline. However most groundsmen have no choice but to agree to these adverts on their pitches, due to financial commitments and corporate sponsorship agreements.
Maybe, in the future, the powers that be may consider consulting and working with stadium groundsmen to ensure that there is a compromise in the size, position and number of these adverts.