The first artificial grass was installed in the Astrodome Stadium, Houston, Texas (1965). The product became very popular and widely adopted during the 70s. It was installed for indoor and outdoor sport fields mainly for baseball and American football in United States and Canada.
Most stadiums in the 60s and 70s were built indoor and artificial grass was, due to lack of sun light, the best option. In addition, stadiums became available for multiple sport activities where synthetic grass played an important role. Nevertheless, some outdoor stadiums also opted for synthetic grass as it allowed optimization of time, as there was no need to wait for the turf to rest after a game and it reduced maintenance costs making it budget-friendly.
In the 80s some European football clubs installed artificial turf pitches. The product had not been designed for football fields, the surface was much harder than natural grass and more injuries were reported. So at the beginning artificial grass was not favoured by fans or players. People even today remember those first failures which lead the gradual return to natural grass fields. The International Football Association (FIFA) and the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), as well as, many other national football associations banned artificial grass.
Nevertheless, artificial grass research and development continued and a new synthetic surface, with a sand and rubber infill, was presented as “the new generation” or “third generation of artificial grass”. These surfaces look and are as safe as natural grass.
Many clubs that had natural grass began to install the new artificial grass in training facilities or for mini-leage teams. Some stadiums that still have natural grass are now looking into the advantages offered by artificial grass. Governing football institutions that want to improve and make the game more popular, as well as reduce maintenance costs, are adopting artificial grass .