You thought your $30 bag of grass seed was expensive? That’s nothing compared to what hard-core fans will spend for just a tiny patch of souvenir grass harvested from their favorite historic sports and entertainment fields.
In most cases, the souvenir turf comes freeze-dried in a commemorative plaque or trophy case, accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from the team, league or concert promoter to further thrill the commemorative lawn starters. Typically, the grass becomes available due to a stadium remodel or relocation, other times when historic fields convert to artificial turf, and occasionally after a limited harvest is made to commemorate one particularly memorable performance.
Let’s face it, team T-shirts and headwear are great for game day or concerts, but to own a chunk of turf that actually trod upon by your heroes? Priceless. Check these out. We have taken the highest price for the sod we could find, then calculated what it would cost to plant that sod on a typical yard of 8,300 square feet (the average size of the lawns we mow at Lawnstarter.com).
Yankee Stadium: Grassland to the End
Could the budding baseball buff in your brood use a little world-class inspiration to sharpen their game? For about $108 (shipping $10 extra), you can pitch them a 3-inch-across freeze-dried chunk of turf from the original Yankees Stadium to tap their inner Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle and Derek Jeter.
Known as “the house that Ruth built,” Yankee Stadium opened its doors in 1923. Fans with a grasp of its 85-year past literally hold history in their hands, as the stadium hosted not only Yankee no-hitters and World Series games, but a dizzying array of non-baseball crowd-pleasers, including the 1956 NFL Championship Game between the victorious New York Giants and the Chicago Bears, aka “the greatest game ever played,” boxing matches and three papal masses. The iconic structure was closed in 2008 when the adjacent new stadium opened. Wrecking balls knocked down the original stadium in 2010 and converted the 8-acre lot into Heritage Field.
Not only can you still buy a piece of sod from the stadium’s rich past at various online auction spots, but a handful of field dirt from baseball’s so-called “holy ground” as well, attractively displayed inside a commemorative trophy.
Projected cost if installed on an average size yard: $14,342,400 (shipping not included).
Kanye West’s ‘Holy’ Coachella Concert
Some fans who witnessed the first public “Sunday Service” concert by Kanye West to wrap up this year’s Coachella music festival want to do more than worship the ground the rapper walks on – they want to sell you a piece of it at eBay.
Each time Kanye appears at the two-weekend music fest in Indio, California, he celebrates the final day by performing gospel versions of his hits with a church choir for a select group of family and friends. This year, however, he threw open the outdoor service to 50,000 surprised fans, some of whom took home the grass they were standing on, declaring it “spiritual” and “holy” — at least on eBay, where it was auctioned off. One piece of 2-inch-by-3-inch grass fetched $530 at auction.
The more expensive eBay offering also included a pair of “Jesus Walks” or “Church Socks” from Kanye’s merchandise tent, which features Sunday Service T-shirts, sweatshirts and tie-dyed sweatpants. Since January, West and his wife Kim Kardashian have been hosting the private one-hour worship session with such A-List friends as Katy Perry, Orlando Bloom and Courtney Love.
Hypothetical cost for an average size yard: $105,576,500.
Notre Dame Stadium Gets Unreal
In the spring of 2014, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish followed in the tradition of numerous other collegiate football teams before them and sold off actual chunks of their playing field on commemorative plaques as they made the transition from grass to artificial FieldTurf for the 2015 season. For a mere $150, fans could own a generous 5-by-2-foot slab of Notre Dame Stadium sod, along with a certificate of authentication from the college. Prior to the move, the Irish had ended each game grass-stained for 84 seasons.
Hypothetical cost for an average size yard: $124,500.
University of Michigan Stadium Pulls a Reverse
Oh, and if you think that expensive grass souvenir has to bear real roots? Back in 1991, the University of Michigan reversed the usual keepsake curve by pulling up 88,000 square feet of artificial turf from Michigan Stadium in order to replace it with the real deal.
Local firm CTC Productions-Sports added replica yard-line numerals and block M symbols and transformed the former field into $50 doormats, $25 wall hangings, $15 coaster sets and 8-by-10-foot area rugs that went for a whopping $800.
“The turf’s in very good shape,” said CTC chief Bob Lipson. “There are spots where people spit on it, but that’s part of the mystique.” (Tip: Don’t tell the missus.)
Most of the estimated proceeds of $400,000-$500,000 went to the Big M athletic department.
Hypothetical cost for an average size yard: $83,000.
Philly’s Veterans Stadium Dual Duel
Philadelphia sports fans have had their fair share of winning teams over the years. But thanks was definitely not due to Veterans Stadium, in part because of its “octorad” octagonal design that tried but ultimately failed to accommodate the major league needs of both Phillies baseball and Eagles football squads. Built in 1971, the stadium hosted 62,000 fans for baseball and 65,000 for football, as well as numerous concerts and special events, including 17 annual Army-Navy college football games.
But in the end, the quirks necessary to accommodate two drastically different sports fields ultimately led to the Vet’s closure in 2003, followed by implosion the following year. The latter point may explain why the $50 souvenir wooden box available from Amazon that holds a slab of actual Veterans AstroTurf, about a foot square, also comes with a chunk of commemorative stadium concrete, salvaged when the stadium was blown to bits.
Hypothetical cost for an average size yard: $415,000.
Cowboys’ last stand
The final straw for the Texas Stadium in Irving came in December 2008, when the team played its final game in the 38-year-old stadium. The ‘Boys sagged late to let the Baltimore Ravens win 33-24. The Cowboys ended the season with four losses and missed the playoffs.
The team rebuilt in the offseason. The stadium — with its distinctive “hole in the roof” — fared far worse. It was knocked down in 2009, but not before the franchise snagged and authorized resale of chunks of its artificial turf.
Prices vary, but one recent 9-inch-by-9-inch slab of the turf came up for auction with an asking price of $22.95. Not enough to fund Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’ $1.5 billion replacement stadium in Arlington, but everything helps.
Hypothetical cost for an average size yard: $338,640.