The Principality Stadium, previously known as the Millennium Stadium, was opened in June 1999 and has welcomed an average of 1.3 million visitors per year through the gates. Adding to the wealth of high profile fixtures and events the venue has held over the last 18 years will be the 2017 UEFA Champions League Final in June. With preparations well under way, the pitch is looking match-fit thanks to the work of Head Groundsman Lee Evans and his trusted partner, Johnsons Sports Seed.
“With an irregular schedule of fixtures, and the shadiest stadium in the UK, our maintenance revolves around repairs and mini renovations throughout the year” explains Lee. “Between October and February, the sun doesn’t rise high enough to get onto the pitch at all so for five months of the year we’re in complete shade. Even though we have lighting rigs, we only have enough to cover half the pitch at one time, so when it comes to overseeding it’s vital that what seed we use can tolerate shade.”
With the obvious challenges this poses for growing grass, Lee sticks with mixtures he knows when it comes to overseeding, and this is Johnsons J Premier Pitch.
“The reason we use J Premier Pitch is two-fold; I’ve used it for a number of years, including my time at Aston Villa, and you get to know products and how they perform, but importantly you need to find mixtures that work in the environment you’re faced with. The Johnsons J Premier Pitch mixture delivers fast establishment, it’s hard wearing, shade tolerant and stripes well with good, strong colour – vital when most our events are broadcast on television.”
Following a busy start to 2017, including the Six Nations rugby tournament and quickly followed by eight further games in the space of two weeks, Lee has been fortunate enough to have a six-week clear window in the run up to big event. Thanks to the mini renovation works, commenced in September 2016, the pitch is now match ready. “The preparations have gone smoothly with the seed delivering as expected. We’ve now got the time to perfect things without too much stress – thanks to keeping to what we know and using J Premier Pitch.”