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Voice of San Diego’s recent series of articles grossly misrepresent the way that FieldTurf has conducted itself with our customers in the San Diego region and around the country. In fact, we believe the accusations and implications contained in these stories runs counter to the very heart of what we are as a company. FieldTurf is dedicated to delivering safe, high-quality products, satisfying our customers and honoring our warranties.
I want to stress that we are sorry the Duraspine issue happened. This has been a frustrating and disappointing experience for impacted customers, for our employees and for me personally. However, I believe over the past six years we have tried to be forthcoming with our customers given the challenging situation and legal restrictions, and while we are not perfect, we have worked hard with our customers in the San Diego region to make things right.
While these articles may make for good storytelling, they are not supported by the facts and are clearly written to support a predetermined thesis about FieldTurf. Given that, I feel an obligation to our customers and the Voice of San Diego readers to ensure that our side is represented and that the key facts on the issue are available for public review.
The issue does not create a “hazard” for players. Contrary to what the story claims, the issue with Duraspine has not impacted safety — only how a field looks as it wears. The safety measures on the Duraspine fields that had to be replaced were always intact and were never compromised, as long as the field was being properly maintained. This is no different and no less safe than any of our other installations.
We have always lived up to our warranties. It’s simple – if a customer’s field wore out prematurely, we gave them two options: (1) to get a replacement field at no cost with no strings attached. The eight-year warranty on this turf remains in place, and in many cases the new fields have significantly exceeded this period. Or (2) to get a replacement field with a new warranty (generally providing at least 12 years of total warrantied field life) at roughly the cost of removing and disposing of the original field.
Taxpayer money has not been squandered. In fact, with both the replacement and upgrade options, the annual field cost has been equal to, or in many cases much less than, the projected annual cost of the original field. This has been an economic benefit for the customer.
Our products are popular because they are unique. Customers choose FieldTurf because our proprietary design and patented system delivers unmatched performance and safety. These claims are backed up by independent peer-review studies published in leading sports medicine journals (see here and here). The infill, not the fibers, is what protects athletes. It’s also important to note that our new fibers outperform the competition in multiple industry tests, including Pennsylvania State’s Fiber Wear Testing and Labosport’s Fiber Performance Index.
We believe all these factors explain why FieldTurf is the turf provider of choice for professional sports teams and colleges across the country, including the Seattle Seahawks, University of Notre Dame and Ohio State University. And it’s also why many San Diego school districts have repeatedly chosen FieldTurf, despite the fact that we’ve had to replace a number of fields under warranty.
Throughout our handling of replacements and upgrades for Duraspine fields in the San Diego area and nationwide, we have sought to put our customers’ interests first – and we will continue to do so. Our customer relationships are incredibly important to us and are critical to our reputation and success as a business.
Additionally, I take compliance with our Code of Ethics, policies and the law very seriously. Our employees – and our external contractors and independent contractors – are held to high standards and are accountable when it comes to meeting these standards.
As we move forward, we will continue to work with our customers to ensure these issues are resolved, and we will continue delivering superior play surfaces for children across the country.
Eric Daliere is CEO and president of FieldTurf.