How much does it cost to build a turf baseball field?
If you are in a hurry…
Many baseball clubs are looking into replacing their old grass pitch with artificial turf. More often than not the most common question in the minds of facility managers is “how much does it cost to build a turf baseball field?”.
To answer this question we have written a complete guide that will give you a full overview of what goes into the price of a new baseball turf field, how much it costs to maintain and some useful financing tips.
How much a turf field costs depends on the size of the field, the quality of the turf and regional differences in sports field construction costs. Depending how those factors come together, the final bill will likely be between $420,000 – $1,140,000.
Artificial turf is a wise investment for a baseball diamond because it can withstand many hours of use each week and, unlike natural grass, does not need to recover. Artificial surfaces are also rarely unplayable due to weather.
Get a customized cost estimate for your baseball field construction project, by using our turf baseball field cost calculator.
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What are the advantages of building a baseball field with artificial turf?
Artificial turf has come a long way in the past few decades as it has been continuously developed and refined. Introduced mostly as training pitches and in lower leagues, synthetic playing surfaces became a success story, working up through the levels and then across sports. From soccer, lacrosse and football, and, now, baseball.
Baseball players are like any other player: they want artificial turf that looks and feels like real grass. They expect the ball to bounce and roll naturally, something they learn in their years of playing little league and playground ball. As they get older, they start thinking about things like shock absorption to prevent injuries.
Modern artificial turf meets these requirements.
Switching from natural grass to artificial turf is a good investment for baseball complexes because they can withstand much more playing time. They are also more playable after a rainstorm, reducing the downtime and delays, which can be particularly costly if you are hosting a tournament. Overall, turf diamonds can see more action throughout the year than grass diamonds.
What goes into the price of an artificial turf baseball field?
If a completely new baseball diamond field has to be built, the costs are, of course, significantly higher than if only a few repairs have to be made to the existing diamond. In order to evaluate how much a turf baseball field costs let’s take a more detailed look at some of the factors involved.
Size of the diamond
Both the base layer and the turf itself are priced per square foot. The larger grassy areas of the infield and outfield, the higher the cost.
Construction situation of the sports facility
Do you only want to renew the playing surface? Do you want to replace an existing surface? In both cases, this would be cheaper than if you are starting from scratch and have to build all the earthworks.
Quality of artificial turf
Artificial turf is no different than any other product: you have your choice of manufacturers, products and specifications… and the better they are, the higher the price. The top-of-the-line turf from the most reputable vendor will be more expensive than a simple surface from an untested supplier.
Design and logos of the sports facility
Artificial turf can bear the logo of your club or school, or even a sponsor or event. The size and intricacy of the design will affect the costs of this perk.
Regional cost differences
Depending on where the artificial turf is to be installed, the costs can vary. This is due, among other things, to different personnel and delivery costs.
Costs for a new baseball diamond
When building a new baseball diamond, before you can install the grass or turf surface you have to install the underlying drainage. As a rule, compacted stone is used, forming a flat surface through which rain can seep. Over that layer is the turf.
The drainage layer must be renewed every 20 to 30 years. The cost of the drainage layer varies depending on the material used and regional price differences.
The initial cost of the artificial turf and infill material is approximately $4 – $7 per square foot. The choice of artificial turf should be discussed with an experienced sports field contractor, and facility managers should seek several price quotes. Artificial turf fields have a lifespan of about 8 – 10 years, but many last longer than that. Most come with a warranty of eight years.
Turf for the infield, grass for the outfield
In professional baseball natural grass fields are still favoured over synthetic fields. However, in high school, college and little league it is not uncommon to find turf baseball fields. It is also possible to install a hybrid version which consists of a turf infield and natural grass outfield. Reasons for choosing the hybrid version are varied, but playability, durability and cost play a role. The more square feet of artificial turf that needs to be installed, the bigger the project budget needs to be. Read our brief article about turf baseball infield costs to learn more.
Unless you are planning to make the field available for playing only when the sun is up you will need to invest in a baseball field lighting system. Therefore it is highly recommended to take it into account and include sports field lighting in planning and budgeting at an early stage.
New construction costs compared to natural grass
Purchase prices for natural grass and artificial turf can vary by hundreds of thousands of dollars. That’s an incomplete stat, though. Planners must take into account the follow-up costs, especially for regular maintenance of a sports field; the projected life of the two options; and the revenue-generating potential of each.
Artificial turf has much lower and less expensive maintenance demands than natural grass. Grass has to be mowed and watered, and needs chemicals to ensure even growth. Individual areas need to be reseeded from time to time, and problems occur when there is too much or too little sun.
With artificial turf maintenance costs are often only a quarter of the cost of natural grass because they require neither water, sun nor fertilizer. That adds up to quite a bit over the course of 10 years.
Another advantage of artificial turf is that it can be used for more hours per week than natural grass, which has to recover in between and quickly becomes unplayable in bad weather. An artificial turf field, on the other hand, can be used by schoolchildren during the day and by clubs in the afternoon and evening. With optimized distribution of playing and training times, artificial turf can see as much action as two natural diamonds.
If you are not using the diamond yourself for any blocks of time, you can rent it out to generate revenue. Another source of income is branding the field with a sponsor’s logo.
Baseball artificial turf costs after completion
Compared to natural grass, artificial turf fields require less maintenance, so they are less costly.
Grass requires the right amount of water and sunlight. Too much or not enough will take their toll. Artificial turf is impervious to such environmental factors, and has no need for mowing, watering or the use of chemicals.
Roughly speaking, the annual maintenance costs are four times higher for natural turf than for artificial turf. Once again, the higher upfront costs pay for themselves over time.
Maintenance of a baseball artificial turf
Even though artificial turf requires much less maintenance than natural grass, it still requires some work to maintain quality, remove dirt and keep the risk of injury low. Regular tasks include brushing up the blades and removing debris. In addition, deep cleaning is recommended at regular intervals. The time and expertise necessary to do that work is much less than on grass diamonds.
Financing the baseball artificial turf field
To raise funds for the turf upgrade, facility managers can apply for grants or donations. For example, there are federal and state agencies that provide funding for municipal sports fields, along with private sector foundations. For example, these include:
- The Urban Parks and Recreation Recovery Program
- EPA Brown/Greenfield’s Program
- Land and Water Conservation Fund
- HUD – Community Development
Depending on the region, other grants may be available from state and local governments.
Another option is to start a fundraising campaign. This allows the school, community or association to raise funds from individuals and businesses. There are many examples of creative initiatives whose dedicated work has led to the realization of the dream of a modern, all-weather baseball diamond.
Sports facilities can also be financed with loans or through the manufacturer. Some vendors have developed their own financing arrangements with banks for this purpose. The costs can then be repaid in monthly or annual installments.