AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — January 16, 2020 — The technology company Continental equips some of the largest and most important stadiums in the world with its upholstery materials, including the Hard Rock Stadium in North Miami, home of the Miami football team. In early February this stadium will host one of the largest sporting events in the country. There will hardly be any empty seats in the 65,326-seat stadium. With a game duration of three to four hours, plus a halftime show, football fans will spend almost a whole day there. To fully enjoy the game, comfortable seats are a must. In the sunny state of Florida, comfort doesn’t just mean a well-padded seat. On about 230 days per year, the sun shines mercilessly at the stadium for hours on end. Continental has developed a solution to ensure that the seats are kept at a comfortable temperature.
“We ensure comfortable seating for football fans while using a special ‘cool colors’ technology,” said Jim Hill, who is a passionate football fan and within Continental heading the North American region for its business area ContiTech. “In addition to nanocoating, we use special color pigments that reflect up to 80 percent of UV radiation in the near infrared range. The result: the heating of the upholstery, made in our Winchester, Virginia, plant, is reduced by about 20 percent and the material remains cooler than other textiles by up to 15 degrees Celsius.”
However, stadium operators are faced with completely different challenges. In Miami, not only are the temperatures high, but the humidity is too. This challenges the seating material quite a bit — not to mention the regular wear and tear at the events. A surface material must withstand this so that the stadium still looks its best years later. For the comprehensive renovation of the arena in 2015, the operators opted for Continental’s skai cool colors Venezia material and incorporated it into more than 7,000 seats.
About 85 percent of the material consists of a PVC composite, about 13 percent is made of PES knitted fabrics and vinyl. The nanocoating makes the upholstery material not only extremely UV-resistant, but also weather- and stain-resistant. This also makes it very easy to clean. Even drinks, food scraps or shoe marks hardly leave any visible traces on the seats.
Visually, the operators like the material’s fine textile look, which makes it appear elegantly sporty. The woven structure also provides a pleasant feel. Another important factor is the color. The option “iceblue” perfectly matches the colors of the Miami football team.
“Thanks to the range of 12 colors, we can supply tailor-made solutions for our customers,” Hill explained.
At Home in the Soccer World
Many soccer clubs in Germany are also taking advantage of this benefit and have equipped their stadiums with seat cushions in club colors. Thanks to the skai surface material, fans — whether in Munich, Wolfsburg or Mönchengladbach — are assured of a comfortable seat at every game throughout the season. The same applies to ice hockey games and track-and-field meets. In total, seat covers from Continental are used at more than 50 sports arenas worldwide and are a regular fixture at the most important sports events — particularly in Europe.
The material was so well received in the U.S. that it was given an award by the North American Seating Company. The use of the material is not limited to stadiums only. It is also used in restaurants, public places, residential areas, healthcare, retail and other outdoor applications. Soon the material will appear on screen in front of millions and millions of people — even if the 7,000 seats at the world’s largest football event are guaranteed to be occupied by people in the audience.
Continental develops pioneering technologies and services for the sustainable and connected mobility of people and their goods. Founded in 1871, the technology company offers safe, efficient, intelligent and affordable solutions for vehicles, machines, traffic and transportation. Continental generated sales of 44.4 billion euros in 2018 and currently employs more than 240,000 people in 60 countries and markets.
Posted January 16, 2020