Every year about this time, FC Barcelona welcomes teams of workers to pull up the previous season's playing surface before laying down a fresh field of sod for the coming campaign.
This year there is just one change. But it’s a big one.
That's because on Thursday at Camp Nou, the crews began the process that will see the stadium's playing surface switch from natural grass to hybrid grass. Crews will swap out the old lawn and put down the new surface both at Camp Nou and on Tito Vilanova Field, the first team's main training pitch at the Ciutat Esportiva in Sant Joan Despí.
The new surface, which is actually a reinforced natural grass, has been tested over the past year at the team's training center.
After years spent studying all the options to optimize the field, the Club chose a hybrid grass, specifically Desso Grassmaster, which combines natural grass with synthetic fibers to provide optimum traction and stability all year round.
The surface chosen by FC Barcelona has been in use for several years in both the National Football League and the English Premier League.
The reigning Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos play on the very same surface at Mile High Stadium, as do the Green Bay Packers at their legendary digs, Lambeau Field.
After completely removing the old pitch, work crews will prepare for the hybrid field with new layer of soil before employing a laser leveling system. The new grass will be laid in 1.5 meter sections with a thickness of 3.5 cm. A special machine will sew in the synthetic fibers to complete the process.
FC Barcelona's first match on the new field is set for Wednesday, 10 August when the Catalans host UC Sampdoria in the Joan Gamper Trophy. Kickoff is set for 8.30pm CET.