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Saints will still play on synthetic turf

NEW ORLEANS -- The New Orleans Saints and Tulane will be
playing on their third surface in as many seasons this fall in the
Superdome.

Last year the Superdome replaced the old Astroturf with a new,
softer surface called AstroPlay. The product was more like natural
grass and pleased players because it protected them against
injuries better than the old surface.

But the Texas company that manufactured and installed the
AstroPlay turf went bankrupt and Superdome officials agreed to buy
a different variety of the same style of synthetic turf from a
Canadian company.

The Superdome Commission, the state agency that oversees the
stadium's operation, voted to approve a three-year contract with
Sportexe, whose brand of turf is known as Momentum.

Like AstroPlay, Momentum turf features 2-inch blades of
polyethylene "grass" supported by a 1¾-inch base of sand and
rubber called infill.

Sportexe, based in Fonthill, Ontario, is one of three companies
whose turf products have been approved by the National Football
League. The Baltimore Ravens are the only other NFL team whose home
stadium has Momentum turf, which was installed in 2003.

The Saints and the Superdome will split the $259,000 cost of
buying and installing the new turf for the 2004 season.