How much does a turf field cost? Complete guide for Clubs and Facility Managers

how much does a turf field cost
New construction of the artificial turf pitch: What costs are incurred and what grants can be applied for?

If you are in a hurry…

As a going-in position, building a new artificial turf field costs somewhere between $650,000 and $1,200,000. How much the turf field will eventually cost depends on many factors. The quality of the artificial turf and the subsoil are a significant chunk of the cost, along with the question of whether existing structures can continue to be used. When converting from natural grass to a synthetic grass pitch or modernizing an existing soccer field, it is sometimes possible to continue using the drainage or the base layer. This, of course, reduces the cost of building an synthetic turf pitch.

Other top-line costs to consider are floodlight systems, sport-specific equipment and ball-catching fences that need to be built around the field. At the same time, facility managers should commission an assessment of the local environmental conditions and a soil survey to determine the soil properties, ensure your land is suitable to your ambitions and better estimate the costs. 

Given the scope of possibilities, facility managers should consult a landscape architect or a planner specializing in sports facility construction to determine what is needed and offer a detailed budget for the various options.

As always, quality has its price, but it  protects against unpleasant surprises down the road. Use our artificial turf cost calculator to get an accurate estimate based on the specifications of your project.

Table of Contents

How much does it cost to put in a turf field?

As an example building a small artificial soccer turf field measuring 130 ft x 65 ft costs somewhere from $80,000 to $140,000. The line items can be broken down into a few major areas.

  1. Site preparation, Earthwork, Drainage: $45,000
  2. Synthetic Pitch Surfacing, shock pad system, Turf Installation: $50,000
  3. Infill: $12,000
  4. Inlaid markings: $8,000

As can be seen already from the breakdown above the synthetic turf field cost includes many more items than just the synthetic turf. The typical budget items for the construction of a new football field can be found below.  This list summarizes the major inputs to our artificial turf cost calculator. Read more about other important considerations related to sports field construction and operation in our turf football field cost article. 

Based on the area of the pitch and the selection of the infill granules, the costs can be calculated from:

  1. Soil expertise (optional)
  2. Construction site equipment (e.g. construction fences, traffic safety, signage)

  3. Trench excavation

  4. Drainage and drainage

  5. Subgrade and base course of the path areas

  6. Paving of the path areas, path boundaries, binder course

  7. Base course and paving of the obstacle-free area

  8. Base course of artificial turf playing field

  9. Elastic base layer or shock pads of the artificial turf pitch

  10. Synthetic grass surface, including inlaid markings

  11. Backfilling with artificial turf granules (optional, depending on the type of artificial turf)

  12. Control tests, grain distribution, water permeability

  13. Ball catching fence for artificial turf fields 

  14. Football goal posts anchored in ground sockets

In addition, planners should anticipate ancillary construction costs and costs for soil surveys, planning activities and testing procedures. 

Ancillary construction costs will be determined by the facility’s use cases, sport-specific needs and the materials used. Suppliers of sports turf often carry other products and systems that augment the playing surface or improve the experience of players, attendees and staff. These can be new installations or improvements on existing infrastructure. They include:

  • LED sports lighting system 
  • sports field sprinkler system
  • protective and supportive barrier systems
  • ball-catching fences
  • sport-specific equipment
  • maintenance equipment for the new turf field and other installations

Further reading:

artificial turf field installation cost

How much does synthetic sports pitch renovation cost?

In case you have an existing turf that is getting close to the end of the warranty period – or already past it – you might want to start thinking about replacing the old turf with a new one and how to dispose of the old one properly. How long a synthetic turf field lasts depends not only on the maintenance and usage level but also on the generation of turf that was installed. Sports turfs built in the beginning of 2000s are expected to last around 10 years. In contrast you can add another five years to the lifespan of a turf field installed in the last 10 years.  It’s also good to understand that sports turf manufacturers typically offer a warranty of eight years as a result of rigorous laboratory testing on the durability of the fiber material.

When renovating a sports turf, some costs can be eliminated,  making the budget more palatable for the club. Many times the existing elastic layer can be reused and the turf can be reapplied elsewhere. 

However, when renovating a turf field, the facility has to pay for dismantling the turf system and recycling the components. This must be performed by a specialized sports field contractor and the synthetic turf must be disposed of properly. The cost to deconstruct and dispose of the synthetic grass pitch and install a new surface ranges from $360,000 to $620,000.

In some cases, clubs can save money by performing some of the tasks on their own. For example, club members can pave the path areas and remove construction debris. The clubs should discuss the scope of in-house work with the sports field builder or specialist planner, who should still oversee in-house workers.

Cost of replacing a grass pitch with artificial turf

Many clubs and sports facility operators know it: maintenance cycles are  getting shorter and training on the aging sports field is becoming increasingly uncomfortable. Before long, they’ll be closing the pitch for extensive repairs amid complaints and grumbling from their members, many of whom remember the last time this was done, not too long ago. The alternative to another round of repairs (and starting the cycle all over again) is to replace your grass sports field with artificial turf.

This is a capital expenditure that involves high investment costs that will only prove their value over the long term. The club’s board or the municipality must estimate the costs and verify their ability to finance the project before getting deep into the planning process.  The project stakeholders should bring in a sports field construction specialist, landscape architect or other large-scale construction planner right from the start. These experts can provide valuable tips and minimize the costs of overhauling a natural grass field into a long-lasting synthetic turf pitch.

converting grass to artificial turf field

Why you should consider replacing grass with artificial turf

Whether substituting a grass sports field for artificial turf is worthwhile in the end depends on many factors, with money being an important one – as always – but not the only one. 

Synthetic turf sports fields are becoming increasingly common across the country. The biggest advantage of an artificial turf playing field is that it can be played on year round. The maintenance and upkeep costs are also significantly lower than for a natural grass field. 

Before deciding on an artificial turf system, facility managers should lay out their use concept and determine the general requirements for the field. This will let them assess whether the project is worth the investment. Knowing which sports at which level, and the frequency of play will help managers choose the right product and understand the turf field cost structure. They will need to consider the sport-specific needs of the surface, the preferences of the players (for example, are they more concerned about high-performance or a comfortable-on-the-joints surface?) and what other activities or events the field may host

A new synthetic sports pitch can be “game-changing” for a club or town. It can turn a run of the mill sports field into a destination, attracting tournaments, sponsors and more and better players.  But if, for whatever reason, those are not on the horizon for your facility and only a small number of teams will ever use the field, the artificial turf field may not fulfill  its potential and may not be worth the investment. The club should take an in-depth look at the sales, marketing and user impacts that a new artificial surface will have before committing to construction. 

Further reading: Why more high schools are choosing artificial turf for their sports fields

On top of the financial concerns, legal and logistical issues will influence the decision to go forward with the project: Will a building permit be required? Do building noise protection requirements have to be observed? What will be the annual and accumulated costs of maintaining the artificial turf pitch over the next 10- 15 years? Are there any sport- or  association-specific requirements or guidelines  that should be taken into account, e.g. whether the planned field has the proper dimensions and safety consideration for intended user base.

Going forward with a conversion to artificial turf

Once the decision to swap your old pitch with synthetic grass is settled, the first major decision is aligning the use concept and the sports. A synthetic turf pitch for field hockey must meet different requirements than a pitch for soccer or for multifunctional use. 

Each sport’s requirements should be hashed out with an sports facility manufacturer or a sports field builder early in the planning phase. Particularly if you want to be able to use the field for multiple sports, there may be a limited set of construction materials and unique area constraints that will satisfy all those use cases with a single field. 

Additionally, facility managers should take stock of which components of the existing sports field can be integrated into the new construction. Preserving parts of the base layer, for example, can be quite economical. Likewise, in some cases, the drainage or other infrastructure related to the construction and maintenance of the field can carry over to the artificial turf. But to make this happen, you’ll need guidance from someone with a high level of expertise in sports field soils and base layers to determine how much can be preserved.

cost of artificial turf field per square foot

Does a turf field cost more than a natural grass pitch?

This table compares sample costs for a turf field and a natural grass field, including the annual maintenance and upkeep costs. The last line breaks everything down to costs per one playing hour.

Cost comparison: artificial turf field vs. natural grass pitch

These calculations assume a pitch size of 320 ft x 200 ft, backfill with sand and an EPDM infill granule, ancillary construction costs and taxes . Other sports field equipment such as floodlights, a barrier system or sports equipment are not included.

Costs of sports field construction Artificial turf field Natural grass
Construction costs
$880,000
$520,000
Maintenance costs/year
$8,000
$22,000
Utilization time/year
2,000 hrs.
800 hrs.
Cost per hour of use
$44
$65

How much does artificial turf field cost per square foot?

Many clubs and cities want to know how much a sports turf field costs per square foot. They are asking that question prematurely. The costs cannot always be given with any useful level of precision until the facility operators gather a lot of information and opinion. This information orients all the stakeholders around the final product and sets the terms for the planning process.   

Only after they know what they will need for their intended use cases and have the site inspected by a landscape architect or construction specialist can they list the line items and break down costs for the project per square foot (or other unit).

All that said, the cost of the actual synthetic surface itself varies depending on the product quality, manufacturer and infill granules. The cost per square foot factoring in all construction can be estimated using the artificial turf cost calculator. The calculator will also provide the costs for new or refilled infill granulate, so the club can plan for upfront and continuing costs. 

Costs around the artificial turf field installation

Many factors contribute to turf field cost. The pure square meter prices of artificial turf should never be considered separately from other aspects of sports field construction. 

Costs can be reduced if the existing drainage is still functional; and if barrier systems, ball fences or the floodlighting system can continue to be used. 

The calculation of the total costs should also include the ancillary construction costs for planning activities, expert opinions and building permits.

When selecting a product, clubs should seek advice from all sources, inspect various synthetic grass pitches in the area and exchange information with clubs in the vicinity. Manufacturers, sports field builders, architects and specialist planners should also be consulted. The experience of clubs and the expertise of professionals are important prerequisites for making the artificial turf project a success.

The following questions should be addressed during project planning:

  • What are the costs per square foot for an artificial turf field?
  • What are the costs for the new construction of the field?
  • How can the club finance the project?
  • Which grants can be applied for and from which public or non-profit institutions?
  • What personal contributions can the club and its members make to the construction project?
  • What will the maintenance cost, what equipment is necessary and how much does it cost?

The following information can be obtained from other clubs:

  • What did their turf field cost per square foot?
  • How durable is their pitch and what mistakes can be avoided already in the planning phase
  • Where did they gather information before building their artificial pitch?
  • What experience did they gain in financing and crowdfunding?

For further information read our brief article about typical questions everyone asks about when planning to build an synthetic sports pitch. 

What is the cost of artificial turf infill?

Infill granules are an important component of the new construction or renovation of a synthetic grass pitch. Anyone planning such a project should understand that infill material is an important cost item when installing artificial turf for a sports field. There are several artificial turf infill material options on the market to choose from which is why calculating the cost is not so straight forward. To give you an idea only the cost of infill for a small soccer pitch would sum up to around $12.000

How much does a synthetic sports pitch cost to maintain?

The costs surrounding the care and maintenance of synthetic turf surfaces are divided into regular and advanced measures. Clubs should clarify the care and maintenance costs of an artificial turf pitch at an early stage. Compared to natural turf, a synthetic surface requires less maintenance and is therefore cheaper to maintain. Nevertheless, the club must maintain the synthetic pitch and have it checked regularly, either by its in-house staff or an outside company. 

Cleaning the synthetic sports pitch is of particular importance, and should be performed on a weekly basis. It is important to remove leaves, foliage and debris so  the contamination does not permanently impair the playing characteristics of the pitch. The groundskeeper needs appropriate training  from the artificial turf manufacturer to ensure that the grass is optimally maintained and can last for 8 – 10 years.

At a minimum, the  following measures must be carried out regularly:

  • Cleaning the pitch
  • Brushing the pitch
  • Deep, intensive cleaning 
  • Repair of heavily-used playing zones
  • Watering the  field

The cost of synthetic grass pitch maintenance is approximately $4,000-$6,0000 per year for a small playing field. For large playing fields, it’s worthwhile to get quotes from companies that offer professional maintenance using industry-specific equipment and trained personnel.

sports turf maintenance

Artificial turf maintenance equipment: Optimally maintaining the field

The costs for sports turf maintenance equipment should factor into the plans and budgets at an early stage. Different machines can perform different functions in the maintenance of a pitch. Clubs can maximize their cost strategy by purchasing a few versatile machines instead of a fleet with many overly specific machines. Clubs should also account for the distinction between equipment for regular maintenance and those for advanced maintenance. Machines for regular maintenance should be owned by the club and can be operated by the groundsman or a trained club member, while it’s not cost-effective for clubs to own those from the latter category.

Some equipment clubs should consider buying for their regular in-house maintenance include:

  • Towed equipment for attachment to a  tractor or  quad bike.
  • Ride-on, push and trailer vehicles that can cover assorted regular maintenance requirements
  • Multipurpose machines and complete solutions

How much does maintenance equipment cost?

The cost of the appropriate maintenance tools starts around $12,000 for a wheeled trailer.  Prices go up from there to all-in-one solutions  that are more likely to be used by professional contractors and specialized sports field builders. Finding the right machine for the club depends on the maintenance responsibilities the facility owners assume for themselves. If the municipality maintains the city’s sports fields, a few machines are sufficient for the club. However, if the club, school or university is entrusted with the maintenance, the purchase of one or more specialized pieces of equipment may be worthwhile.

In addition, the size of the pitch and the infill of the pitch play an important role. Turf fields with artificial  granules require more intensive maintenance and different maintenance equipment than fields that are  filled with quartz sand.

The costs surrounding a fleet of equipment for clubs and municipalities should be calculated at the beginning of the planning phase and factored into the overall costing.