Does Raiders Stadium Have Grass? An In-Depth Look at the Playing Surface

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click one, I may earn a commission at no cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Key Takeaways:

  • Allegiant Stadium has both real grass and artificial turf playing surfaces.
  • The natural grass field can be moved in and out of the stadium on a giant tray.
  • The grass tray weighs 9,500 tons and allows sunlight for growth.
  • Artificial turf is installed over concrete for non-Raiders events.
  • The Raiders prefer playing on real grass for performance and safety.
  • UNLV football uses the artificial turf surface.


The Las Vegas Raiders began playing at the spectacular new Allegiant Stadium in 2020. With a capacity for 65,000 screaming fans, state-of-the-art amenities, and a estimated $2 billion price tag, the facility aims to provide an unparalleled game-day experience. However, behind all the flashing lights and excitement lies an equally impressive feat of engineering that allows real grass to grow inside an enclosed stadium.

This article will take an in-depth look at Allegiant Stadium’s playing surface and answer the question – does Raiders stadium have grass? We’ll examine the unique retractable grass field tray, why natural grass is preferred by players, and how both real grass and artificial turf are utilized in the venue. The mechanics of growing grass indoors, maintaining NFL-caliber turf, and converting the field for various events will be covered. By the end, readers will have a fuller understanding of the considerations and technology that allow Allegiant Stadium to simultaneously accommodate grass and turf.

Knowing whether Allegiant Stadium has real grass is useful for fans planning a trip to see the Raiders in action. It also provides interesting perspective on how the team and venue operations crew satisfy the demanding requirements of an elite pro football organization. The ability to successfully cultivate natural grass in a covered domed structure is an impressive accomplishment.

Step 1: Does Raiders Stadium Have Grass? An Engineering Marvel

Yes, Allegiant Stadium, home of the Las Vegas Raiders, has both real grass and artificial turf playing surfaces. The Raiders prefer to play games on natural grass fields for performance and safety reasons. As a result, the stadium boasts an innovative solution – a massive retractable grass field tray that can be moved in and out of the facility.

Step 2: How Does the Retractable Grass Tray Work? Moving 9,500 Tons In and Out

The centerpiece of Allegiant Stadium’s playing surface is a retractable grass field tray that weighs a whopping 9,500 tons, the equivalent of almost 2,000 elephants! This 4-foot deep moveable landscape contains the soil and grass required for a regulation NFL playing field.

For Raiders games, this grass field tray is rolled into place inside the stadium on 13 rail tracks, allowing real grass to be grown and maintained indoors. The massive tray utilizes real grass grown in a blend of sand and artificial fibers. After games, it can be moved out of the stadium to receive ample sunlight and care.

To move 9,500 tons of field in and out of Allegiant Stadium, the tray sits atop 26 electric motors and wheels that operate on the rail tracks. Once locked into position inside the venue, the grass playing surface is ready for NFL action with proper drainage, heating, and irrigation systems keeping it in top condition.

Step 3: Why Do the Raiders Prefer Natural Grass? Player Safety

The Raiders strongly advocate for natural grass fields to protect player health and enable peak performance. Grass fields are softer and more forgiving on the body than artificial turf. The roots and soil system provide more shock absorption and cushioning when athletes are tackled, pivot, and make hard cuts. This reduces muscle fatigue, injuries, and wear-and-tear on players over a grueling NFL season.

In a contact sport like pro football, the surface they play on directly impacts careers and quality of life. Studies show grass fields result in fewer injuries, concussions, sprains, and soreness. The NFL Players Association also favors natural grass to best ensure player safety. Hence the Raiders invested in a stadium that can accommodate real grass.

Step 4: Artificial Turf Still Utilized for Other Events

While the retractable grass field tray provides the Raiders with natural turf for games, Allegiant Stadium converts to artificial turf when the team isn’t playing. For concerts, college football games, motocross events, and more, an artificial turf surface is installed over the concrete flooring.

The UNLV Rebels college football team plays home games on the artificial turf laid over the concrete base. Quickly converting from grass to turf maximizes the versatility of Allegiant Stadium for different sports, concerts, and live entertainment. Turf can withstand more frequent, intensive use for these other happenings.

Step 5: How Do You Grow Grass Inside a Stadium? Sunlight and Care Are Key

Growing real grass inside an enclosed stadium is an agricultural feat requiring tremendous care and planning. To flourish, grass needs ample sunlight, drainage, air circulation and meticulous maintenance. That’s why the Raiders’ grass field tray can retract in and out of Allegiant Stadium.

When not in use, the field is moved outside to receive the necessary sun exposure. The bottoms of the tray’s panels are open for sunlight penetration from below. Precise irrigation systems and growing mediums provide nutrients and hydration. Targeted LED lights supplement sunlight when more is needed.

During games, the temperature is kept between 75-85°F for ideal playing conditions. With retractable sides and a translucent roof, air circulates to prevent stagnation. Grounds crews meticulously groom, mow and tend to the grass. By controlling variables like sunlight, drainage, and heating, Allegiant Stadium allows real grass to thrive indoors.

Step 6: How is the Grass Surface Maintained to NFL Standards?

Maintaining a flawless, elite playing surface up to NFL standards in an enclosed stadium is demanding. Grass needs to be mowed three times a week during the season to a height of 1.75 inches. Fertilization, irrigation, aeriation and constant grooming are necessary. The surface must be meticulously inspected and cared for.

Before games, grounds crews carefully mow striping patterns into the grass for visual appeal. Any divots, tears and imperfections in the turf are promptly repaired. The retractable roof and sides allow precise control of rainfall, sunlight, humidity and temperature for the grass. The field is kept completely covered on game days to prevent additional wear.

The Raiders utilize a specialized artificial grass blend from Hellas Construction called Matrix Turf that enhances drainage and traction. Matrix Turf reinforces the real grass to produce optimal playing conditions. With intensive maintenance and care, Allegiant Stadium provides players with the best possible natural turf surface.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Raiders Stadium’s Playing Surface

Here are some common questions about the playing surface at Allegiant Stadium:

What type of grass is used in Allegiant Stadium?

The natural grass playing surface utilizes a Bermuda grass blend specially cultivated for athletic fields. Bermuda grass thrives in hot conditions and holds up well under heavy usage. The grass is grown in sand and artificial turf fibers to provide reinforcement.

How quickly can the stadium change from grass to artificial turf?

The stadium operations team can switch Allegiant Stadium from its natural grass field to an artificial turf surface in a remarkably short 24-hour turnaround. The grass field tray is retracted, then turf modules are quickly installed over the concrete base.

Why was this complicated grass system chosen?

The Raiders advocated for a real grass surface to protect players. But the stadium also hosts college football and other major events needing artificial turf. The retractable grass tray was the innovative solution to accommodate both surfaces.

How often must new sod be installed?

The Bermuda grass surface is resodded periodically to maintain exceptional quality. Typical NFL stadiums replace all their sod every 3-4 games. Allegiant Stadium can resod certain damaged portions as needed without replacing the entire field.

What happens to the grass when it’s outside the stadium?

The field tray is kept outdoors on non-game days for sunlight, irrigation and growth. Stadium grounds crews continue carefully tending and grooming the grass to ensure it thrives in preparation for Raiders games.

Conclusion: An Impressive Feat of Stadium Engineering

In conclusion, Allegiant Stadium is an architectural and agricultural marvel, uniquely designed to accommodate both natural grass and artificial turf surfaces. The massive retractable grass field tray supporting real grass underscores the Raiders’ commitment to player performance and safety. Meticulous maintenance and care enable the grass to thrive indoors under the stadium’s translucent roof.

The ability to quickly change over to artificial turf maximizes the venue’s versatility for other major events. All in all, the stadium’s ingenious playing surface design represents an impressive engineering accomplishment. Raiders fans can be proud of the team’s spectacular new home field and its cutting-edge field technology.

About The Author

Scroll to Top