KNVB and ArenA test smart turf monitoring system for Dutch professional football

The Johan Cruijff ArenA and the KNVB, the Royal Dutch Football Association, are investigating whether the high-tech system that monitors the turf of the ArenA is suitable to serve as a basis for other clubs in Dutch professional football. The KNVB has already deployed the monitoring system on the training fields of the Dutch national team in Zeist. The smart turf monitoring system in the Johan Cruijff ArenA is unique in the world. With data produced by special sensors in the turf and measurements taken by the grass team, the system monitors the health and quality of the pitch 24/7. A dashboard shows the experts exactly when the turf needs feeding, light or water.

In collaboration with the Wageningen University & Research, the KNVB wants to see if the monitoring system can help professional football clubs optimize their pitches. Better, up-to-date insight into the status of the grass can improve its quality, just like it has in the ArenA. The data can even be used to predict the state of the pitch in a week’s time. The system saves on costs and prevents waste of resources. It ensures that not too much water, fertilizer or light is used and requires few maintenance hours.

 

The research is funded partly by a subsidy from the program Sportinnovator program, set up by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. The goal of Sportinnovator is to increase the efficiency of knowledge and innovation in sport. The KNVB and the Johan Cruijff ArenA are doing this together through the collaboration between the two organizations in the field of innovation. Together they want to make further improvements to quality and the visitor experience in stadiums such as the ArenA.



Johan Cruijff ArenA pitch
Underneath the ArenA pitch are 15 sensors that monitor the quality of the soil on which the grass grows. One weather station on the field and four weather stations on the roof keep track of climate conditions. Mounted on the roof and on the field, light sensors establish whether the turf is getting sufficient light. Each time the pitch is mown, scanners measure growth activity, including the number of blades of grass on the surface, and identify damaged spots. The turf can be checked 24 hours a day via a webcam.

 

All data derived from the sensors and the grass team measurements get processed for display in a dashboard. The dashboard monitors the health of the pitch and can indicate when it is necessary to maintain or improve grass quality. The dashboard tracks the state of the field in real time. The grass team maintains the pitch of the Johan Cruijff ArenA seven days a week. Using the dashboard, they can set ideal climate conditions for the grass. Measurements include temperature, humidity and air flow in the stadium to determine whether the grass can grow well.

 

International interest in the ArenA pitch
There is a lot of international interest in the high-tech pitch in the Johan Cruijff ArenA. Representatives from foreign football stadiums including EURO host stadiums regularly visit to learn from the knowledge and expertise of the ArenA’s turf specialists and unique monitoring system.

 

KNVB
A household name in the Netherlands, the KNVB (Royal Dutch Football Association) is the largest sports association with over 1.2 million members and more than 500 employees. With more than three thousand clubs, football is known as the largest social network in the Netherlands. This means that football has the capacity to involve people, to bring them together and get them moving like no other sport. Especially, of course, when the national selections come up. That is why the KNVB is deeply committed to making football accessible and enjoyable for everyone, whether they actively play the sport or not.

 

Wageningen University & Research
The mission of Wageningen University & Research is ‘To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life’. Within Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen University and specialized research institutes of Wageningen Research Foundation bundle their strengths to contribute to the solution of important questions in the domain of healthy nutrition and living environment. With approximately locations, 5.000 employees en 10.000 students Wageningen University & Research is one of the most appealing knowledge institutions in its domain worldwide. The comprehensive approach of questions and the collaboration between the different are at the heart of the unique Wageningen approach.


The Johan Cruijff ArenA
The Johan Cruijff ArenA is the football stadium of the Netherlands, home to Ajax and a match stadium for the Dutch national team. It also offers multifunctional accommodation for large-scale, national and international music and dance events as well as meetings on a smaller scale in (mainly) the business segment. Events take place in close collaboration with various partners. High-quality services, state-of-the-art facilities, safety and optimal form the most important strategic pillars.

The Johan Cruijff ArenA is one of the most sustainable stadiums in the world and is internationally regarded as a role model and advisor for modern stadium construction and exploitation. The Amsterdam Innovation Arena functions as a living lab for innovative concepts for stadium management and event experience.