Sometimes there’s no point trying to replicate natural grass with synthetic grass that looks almost, but not quite, identical to the real stuff. The pretense is completely blown out the window at a few football stadiums around the country. These stadia are fairly well known because of their distinctive blue artificial turf surface. That’s right…blue.

So why would the owners of a football stadium choose to use blue artificial turf instead of the more obvious green?

For a hint at the answer we turn out attention to Bronco Stadium at Boise State University in Idaho. Bronco Stadium is also known as “The Blue” and the current blue surface is the 4th blue artificial turf surface that has been installed in the stadium. Bronco Stadium was first fitted with the standard green AstroTurf in 1986 but it then switched to blue in 1992. It was upgraded in 1995, AstroPlay was then installed in 2002 and then the 4th blue field was installed in 2008. This time the synthetic turf was supplied by FieldTurf.

Gene Bleymeyer is the Boise State athletic director and came up with the idea of dyeing the field blue saying “I guess that I’m the type of person that when I paint my house I paint it a different color so the neighbors notice you did something”. He basically decided that if he was going to spend so much money on a new artificial turf field he would make it stand out. Blue certainly stands out.

The blue artificial turf has succeeded in giving the school a certain notoriety and has given it more attention than it would otherwise have gotten. It is now a valuable branding tool used by the collage and is now worth more than the original cost to install it.

Other fields have since followed suit with the University of New Haven recently opting to make use of a blue field. The other owners of blue fields are high schools from various regions around the country.

So is the desire to stand out from the crowd a good enough reason to not only use an artificial turf but to turn it the most unnatural color for a supposed grass surface as possible? It’s certainly a move that has paid off handsomely for Boise State University.