Nike used sports tech to upgrade Nathaniel Traz Powell Stadium in Miami-Dade County for high school football games using a sustainability initiative the week of Super Bowl LIV generating maximum exposure for the sport while improving player performance and the fan experience for the 8,000-seat capacity venue. The Sports Techie community blog virtually applauds Nike and the Florida school district for making this so for the many sport playing kids and teenagers in the seven local powerhouse schools in Miami that call this stadium their home field. The $2 million and nine-month renovation of the ‘The Mecca’ included the new playing field, track around the field and press box, plus new locker rooms, lighting and a state-of-the-art scoreboard. Sports technology and eco-friendly enhancements were used to enhance the existing turf with 282,000 pounds of Nike Grind Infill, a modern waste system, LED lighting fixtures and lights, in addition to an assortment of trees planted around the facility to help clean the local air quality at a time of unprecedented global climate change. Texas set the spending bar in 2017 when Katy ISD opened Legacy Stadium as a mini-college venue at a staggering cost of $70.3 million making Nike’s $2 million investment significant for the region but rather small when considering the state of the sport at a time when more and more boys are playing soccer, perhaps the new king of South Florida with Miami Inter CF beginning play as an MLS expansion team in 2020. More current NFL players played at the ‘Traz’ for a total of 60 overall when adding in past generations. This is more than in any other facility across the nation providing local kids hope in the future that Nike and Miami-Dade County are doing the right things to keep this NFL fact alive going forward.
Nike Football Impact
At a time when American football has seen a steady drop in youth participation mostly because of the medical realities a concussion can have including CTE, dementia and other brain diseases, Nike has made an investment in the future of the game by upgrading Traz Powell Stadium as the Miami Dolphins and Miami-Dade County Public Schools each committed to a cleaner environment resulting in this renovation opportunity of the high school stadium.
Are green programs like this enough to grow the sport safely while being environmentally conscious?
According to Nike spokesperson Josh Benedek, “Nike set out to create a sustainable football field that not only minimizes the environmental footprint, but will serve as a football and multisport facility for future generations of athletes.”
Nike used SB LIV in Miami as means to use sport to promote community while enabling more athletes a chance to play on equal playing fields.
“By completing the renovation of the iconic stadium, we’ll ensure the future of football in this tight-knit community will stay bright for generations,” said Benedek.
Time will tell but in the short-term, the impact this redo has on the local communities is significant, needed and appreciated.
“This is going to be around long after the (SF) 49ers and the (KC) Chiefs take off,” said Alberto Carvalho, M-DCPS Superintendent. He added, “After J-Lo and Shakira stop singing, Traz Powell, the new Traz Powell, will be here. A $2 million investment that, quite frankly, carries so much historic significance in our community.”
Grind Infill is a rubber material turf dot created out of recycled athletic footwear and extra scraps from other manufacturing projects. The design helps the company reduce waste while optimizing player performances.
The track around the field has new SmarTracks Timing Gates with magnetic sensors installed used for precision time measurements in the millisecond while connecting to a Nike app used by athletes, coaches and teams to increase performance and training via testing and analysis. It functions both on-field and on the running track.
A new scoreboard was installed with advanced graphic options that can be customized for each home team.
The Traz entry also has a new garden area for increased environmental aesthetics.
There are seven murals surrounding Traz field that pay tribute to some of the most high-profile alumni the stadium has produced over the years. Nike teamed up with three artists from the Miami area, Michael Vasquez, Alejandra Estefania and Mojo to paint murals in the dressing rooms and along hallways using alumni from Traz Powell and Miami Dade County as role models. Benedek added, “We feel it’s important to highlight both on and off-field accomplishments and the artists help solidify their lasting legacies.”
The seven school flags also fly proudly around one of the endzones promoting togetherness.
Former University of Miami running backs, Duke Johnson with the Tennessee Titans and Dalvin Cook with the Minnesota Vikings, alongside Allen Hurns on the Dolphins, Teddy Bridgewater on the New Orleans Saints and Amari Cooper on the Dallas Cowboys, have all played inside this storied stadium. Hurns was grateful with how that Nike has given back to his community. He said, “The resources are not the same here.”
Nike says this is one their largest football facility renovations they have committed with the goal to assist with fostering the sports future in a tight-knit football community.
Benedek said, “Nike set out to create a sustainable football field that not only minimizes the environmental footprint, but will serve as a football and multisport facility for future generations of athletes.”
While $2 million is no small amount of money, this year in Texas another whopping $48 million was spent of the construction of Children’s Health Stadium in Prosper while Spring ISD opened their $38.9 million Planet Ford Stadium in the spending “Battle of the Stadiums.”
Sports Techie, as holistic as a program as this is, Nike is also looking to increase loyalty to the swoosh as the ball players move in adulthood. The Sports Techie company mission to even the playing field through sports technology is at the heart of this Nike initiative. The Traz is indeed a one-of-a-kind stadium with ideally more to follow in its carbon neutral footprint thanks to Nike.
Hurns says, “This is where history was made … Friday night lights, you got the band pumping, crowd cheering … It means a lot and it’s really exciting.”
Might Hard Rock Stadium, home for the Fins and host of Super Bowl LIV be next for a cost-effective Nike Football upgrade?
Miami area football players, students and fans, enjoy the new Nike-driven facilities because the world is better off because of it.
See you later sportstechie in Seattle, Atlanta and around the world!
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