Super Bowl XLIX Playing Field Ready to Roll

For the second time in 7 years, the Super Bowl Field at University of Phoenix Stadium will make the smooth roll from its sunny outdoors spot in the Arizona desert climate to indoors. The playing field, designed by Arizona based Lloyd Civil and Sports Engineering, formerly CMX, is the only fully retractable sporting surface in the Western Hemisphere, and will be a focal point for the global event that is Super Bowl XLIX.

This unique engineering solution, accomplished in collaboration with a talented team of designers from several engineering and architectural firms for The NFL Arizona Cardinals and the Arizona Stadium and Tourist Authority, completed the vision to provide both the highest quality natural grass playing field and a true multi-purpose events venue. “The entire system is performing flawlessly, and the fact that the field is not commonly part of the public conversation, but rather an important ‘behind the scenes’ component of the overall stadium, is a true compliment.  And rightfully so, because the focus should be on the incredible athletes and the intricate coaching strategies that are at the core of the competition.” statedMike Lloyd, founding Principal of the firm and one of the innovators behind the design.

Prior to game day, the playing field rests outside the stadium, allowing the grass to soak up the sun and leaving space inside for trade shows and other events. This one of a kind solution brings together optimum venue elements---a natural grass playing surface and controlled environmental conditions---where athlete combatants decide the outcome for the ultimate football competition.  The NFL Players Association conducts a yearly survey that rates each of the NFL stadium fields. The majority of players consistently prefer to play on a top quality natural grass playing surface, and have ranked the University of Phoenix field at or near the top of the list each year since the stadium opened in 2006. Because the fully enclosed University of Phoenix Stadium will render any wind, rain, snow or ice a non-factor, the two Super Bowl teams will decide the game on Sunday, February 1, 2015.

The moveable field system, which moves into the Stadium as a single unit, is 234 feet long by 403 feet wide. A 37-inch deep tray of steel and concrete supports the playing field, which consists of 12 inches of custom-blended sand growing medium, together with sophisticated irrigation, aeration, drainage and electrical control systems. The entire tray system weighs nearly 18 million-pounds, and is powered by 76 one-horsepower electrical motors that drive the one-piece assembly into the stadium atop 13 hardened steel tracks.  The steel tracks are securely embedded in reinforced concrete, both outside the stadium and in the floor of the venue itself. Sound simple?  In addition to these structural support and mechanical moving systems, playing field design also provided specialized “coupling” devices so that pipes and control wires can be easily disconnected as the tray begins its brief 57 minute journey into the stadium, where water and power are just as easily reconnected to maintain a healthy stand of grass and support indoor game day operations.

Lloyd Civil and Sports Engineering is a full service civil engineering firm specializing in recreation and athletics facilities, with a unique focus designing and delivering high performance sporting venues. Founding Principal Mike Lloyd resides in the Phoenix area and is available to consider media requests, including on camera interviews, between now and Saturday January 31, 2015. Please inquire at