In Our Territory: LaGrange-Based Atlas Turf International Provides Turf For All World Cup Sports Venues – LaGrange Daily News
In our territory: Atlas Turf International, based in LaGrange, supplies turf for all World Cup sports facilities
Posted at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, October 15, 2022
Billions of people will tune in to the 2022 World Cup next month. Few would think a World Cup in Qatar would have a LaGrange flavor, but it does. All eight stadiums and 82 practice facilities used have turf provided by Atlas Turf located right here in LaGrange.
“We are a small company with a global footprint,” said Chairman John Holmes, III. “We export turf all over the world.”
It will be the first time in World Cup history that all facilities will have the same type of turf. This could be the last time this happens as most countries hosting the World Cup have already developed football infrastructure, including the United States, Canada and Mexico who jointly host the next World Cup in 2026. Qatar had very little in place before the World Cup that was suitable for hosting big matches.
Atlas Turf did not earn the right to be the exclusive turf supplier for the 2022 World Cup overnight.
Founded over a dozen years ago in LaGrange, Atlas Turf has boomed in recent years, but has largely gone unnoticed by the community around it. The company has been supplying turf for golf courses around the world since the company was founded with hotspots in Southeast Asia and the Middle East.
“Our primary customer base is golf courses,” Holmes said. “We had been selling turf in the Middle East for years, and about 10 years ago I received a call from a facility in Qatar wanting to purchase turf to use on one of their football pitches.
FIFA – international football’s governing body – demanded that Qatar experiment to find a type of turf that would work well in its environment after winning the right to host the World Cup. Atlas Turf has just the product that would work well in the Qatari climate – Platinum TE™ Paspalum – which the company has a trademark.
“They did a few trials with turf from around the world, and our turf came out the winner,” Holmes said. “They were comfortable with it because it had already proven effective there on one of their football pitches.”
The specific type of turf is trademarked by Atlas Turf, which means that if other companies want to produce it, they have to pay royalties to Atlas Turf, and it has become a major source of revenue for the company.
Holmes was in Qatar just three weeks ago to make a final turf inspection before the start of the World Cup in late November. He wants to make sure that the biggest project Atlas Turf has been involved with goes well with the games that are on the horizon. Before COVID-19 hit, he was there four to five times a year. It is easy for Holmes to do all the stadiums as they are within 45 miles of each other in the Qatari capital of Doha, where 80% of the country’s population lives.
The World Cup has opened up a plethora of new opportunities for Atlas Turf, which was previously primarily focused on golf courses.
“We dabbled in other things,” Holmes said. “Football was on our radar, but it wasn’t a big part of our income. It really put us at the forefront of football. We expect big things to happen after the FIFA Cup. world.
Atlas Turf continued to supply turf to football pitches and golf courses while expanding into new businesses. The company has supplied turf for municipal football stadiums, racecourses and cricket grounds as they continue to develop into new avenues. Football pitches originally accounted for around 10% of Atlas Turf’s business, but now account for around 30%.
All eight stadiums – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Al Bayt Stadium, Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, Khalifa International Stadium, 974 Stadium, Al Thumama Stadium, Education City Stadium, Al Wakrah Sports Complex – will have turf supplied by Atlas Turf. The 64 games that will be released worldwide will have a LaGrange flair even if the wider audience has no idea.
“It became an avalanche of opportunity for us,” Holmes said. “When the games start in November, the eight stadiums will be our ground. We expect our football and soccer business to really take off after the World Cup. »