In its wake, the U2 tour is leaving sod at stadiums across the nation
The entire grass field at the stadium is being replaced this week, as is usually done before the Bears home opener. But this year, officials decided to wait until after the U2 concerts over the weekend. "This has been planned all along," team spokesman Scott Hagel said. "And it isn't unusual. Prior to every regular season opener, portions of the field are re-sodded. So this is something we have done annually."
After U2 played at FedEx Field Tuesday night, the sod was not replaced before Sunday's Bucs-Redskins game.Which explains why the field looked awful.
But the Redskins have announced that the sod will be replaced after the game.
UVa doesn't expect to be that fortunate this time. U2's stage, located in the stadium's south end, is massive. Aluminum panels stretching about 75 yards, from the south end zone to the opposite 35-yard line, will cover much of the field for more than a week.
"It's likely the grass will die and not be safe and playable," Bauman said.
Still, a final decision won't come until Oct. 4, when all the concert equipment has been removed. UVa's football team has five home games left, starting Oct. 10, and the Virginia High School League will play two state finals at Scott Stadium on Dec. 12.
Live Nation, which is promoting the concert, will bear the financial responsibility if the field must be replaced.
"This has been a partnership with Live Nation," Bauman said. "They understand we have football games to play. They want that to go well for us, and they want the concert to go well, too."
If the field has to be replaced, a Charlotte-based company, Carolina Green, will begin removing the playing surface Oct. 4. A day later, the installation of thick cut sod, grown for UVa in Maryland, will begin.
According to athletic director Lee Fowler, concert organizers have put money in the six-figure range in escrow to build a new field after the concert. Of that money, some will be spent on resodding immediately after the concert, with the rest left for work after the season if necessary.School officials have consulted with experts who have completed similar turf rebuilding efforts after shows in other stadiums, but they are anxious to see the results.
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