The Saprissa – Artifical Turf
Some years later, the club decided to purchase several plots of land in San Juan de Tibas, the legal title to which was signed on 3 August 1965. Five square plots belonging to a coffee plantation were acquired for the sum of 363,398 colons, with 50,000 payable upon signing the deed and the rest in monthly instalments. To secure financing for the project, campaigns under the slogans “the square yard” and “the bag of cement” were launched, but to no avail. Eventually, political intervention by two former presidents of Costa Rica, Mario Echandi and Daniel Oduber, and private donations helped to raise the funds.
Many memorable events have taken place at the Saprissa stadium since its inauguration more than three decades ago. Deportivo Saprissa have won 16 of their 25 first division championships since moving to the stadium, including six successive league titles between 1972 and 1977, but this is not all the stadium has hosted. In August 1990, Ricardo Saprissa’s funeral was held at the stadium as a tribute to a man who would go down in history as a great advocate of sport, besides which all kinds of religious activities, concerts, fairs, motocross competitions and motor shows have taken place there. Various improvements have been made to the dressing rooms, roof and lighting, but the biggest transformation took place thanks to foreign investment in the pitch, which in April 2004 became the first artificial turf surface in top-level Central American football. The investment was made by the club’s owner, Mexican magnate Jorge Carlos Vergara, who bought the turf and had it installed at a cost of around USD 600,000.