Seat sanity

editor

The stadium looks stunning, just as it did when new, but how long until the seats fade again?

This is a common problem the world over, it’s inevitable, put a plastic seat outside and it will fade. The nice smooth shiny surface that once was, will deteriorate into a rough dirty looking surface that is impossible to keep clean. A chalky white residue will build up and rub off on peoples clothes. We keep replacing seats and expecting a different outcome, to keep doing the same thing expecting something different to happen really is the definition of insanity. It’s time to take a fresh look at the problem of faded seats.

There are a few aspects that need consideration, the environment for one, have you considered the environmental impact of repeat replacement of approximately 150 million plastic seats in the world? Yes they can be recycled but we now know the environmental cost of recycling often exceeds that of manufacturing virgin plastic. Surely the key is to make your existing seats last longer, but how? Once seats start to fade and oxidization occurs no amount of scrubbing will make a difference and pressure washing, which uses huge amounts of water, won’t solve the problem either.

Planned maintenance seems like the only economically and environmentally sustainable option – if only there was an effective way. Well now there is, a clever little company down under in New Zealand can provide what they term as a Fade Management Plan or FMP for short. They have developed a process to convert the chalky oxidized surface back to the original plastic colour (or very close to it), the surface is once again smooth and easy to keep clean. Once the plastic is restored a special protector is applied which adheres to the surface offering additional UV protection like sunscreen for seats, anti-microbial protection against mold and algae growth and a sacrificial layer to better protect your seats.

This initial treatment is then backed up by an annual plan to deep clean, re-protect and fully restore any seats that have deteriorated over the year, all for a fixed pre-agreed price.

The cost of a Fade Management Plan is just as impressive as the visual results. We all know that buying new plastic seats sounds affordable until you include the cost of removing the old ones and re-installing the new, if you are lucky enough to be able to buy the same model seat as you already have. If you need to change the type of seat, you’ll be up for bracketing as well as a whole range of other costs.

It sounds great but can it actually “do what it says on the tin” and do the numbers stack up? The answer on both counts is a resounding YES. This is not some magic treatment that will last forever with a single application. It is as the name suggests a way to manage fading. Fading is a natural phenomenon, all seats fade depending on the conditions they’re exposed to (including brand new seats). The difference is that although restored seats will fade, the FMP will arrest the fading process every year. Stadiums will have the assurance of seats being in peak condition at the start of every season. A FMP can be rolled over so your existing seats can look great indefinitely.

A Fade Management Plan takes the guess work away. You’ll have a fixed price for whatever period you choose, be it 3, 5 or more years. The upfront commitment is kept reasonable by amortizing part of the initial restoration cost over the term of the plan. There’s an annual fee to cover the annual maintenance which can of course be off-set against the reduced costs of cleaning and the cost of money if you were to have borrowed to buy new seats. Typically over a ten year lifespan the total cost of ownership will be about half that of replacing seats. More importantly, at the end of that ten year period you will have well maintained and usable seats. If you had replaced with new, after ten years you would be about ready to do it all again…

This process is suitable for seats near the end of their normal life as well as new seats or seats that may only be a few years old but are already fading. Seat Renew offers a free test and sample service. Have your worst seat tested then put it in your stadium so you can judge for yourself if this will work for you.

It’s a new way of thinking about a very long standing problem. Some seats will respond better than others, but the environmental and economic benefits stack up. Stop the insanity of replacing faded seats with new seats that we know are going to fade. Your fans, your board and the environment will all thank you for it.

Contact Seat Renew’s UK agent Dominic Jordan from Jordan Sports Partnership (0207 084 7230 / dj@jordansportspartnerships.co.uk) or see www.seatrenew.com for more information

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