Apr 7, 2020 ·
Backstop Netting Systems: The factors that drive cost and a comparison of different sized systems.
The benefits of backstop netting systems are clear. Gone are the days of peering through chain link fences. As are the days of trying to squint past a series of in-the-way poles. Netting systems offer fans an unobstructed view of the game while providing superior protection against errant foul balls.
A backstop netting system is fully customizable. That offers you unprecedented flexibility in design, but also can make creating a budget a little more difficult. There are many factors that drive the cost of your system, and anticipating your ballfield’s needs can get confusing. Whether you already have a budget in mind, or you are just beginning to research how much a backstop netting system costs, this post will walk you through the approximate amount you can expect to spend based on these key five factors:
- 1. The height of the net.
- 2. The number of poles and their individual and combined spans. Bigger systems need bigger poles.
- 3. The pole placement (inline with the backstop wall or offset behind the home plate seating area, and their placement in relation to the dugout).
- 4. Whether the poles are buried or mounted using a base plate.
- 5. The type of netting material used.
These are the primary factors that will drive your cost, but keep in mind there are many other factors that can impact your final costs including: project location, site access, soil conditions, topography, and installation logistics.
When planning for your backstop net system, be sure to ask your netting consultant or supplier a lot of questions so you’re fully informed. A supplier should be equipped to discuss all of these factors and your other questions. Your goal and their’s should be to avoid any surprise costs in the end.
► Sizing Up Backstop Netting Costs
Let’s look at three different broad budget sizes (small, medium, and large) and use the main five factors that drive cost to create a range for each.
To help you understand these differences between these small, medium and large budgets, we’ve included photos of different fields.
SMALL NETTING SYSTEMS
$25,000 – $45,000 per field installed
A ballfield with a smaller budget will typically have a netting system that is 20’ to 30’ tall and a footprint that runs 105′ to 150′ in total length (35′ x 35′ x 35′ to 50′ x 50′ x 50′) supported by four (4) poles. Assume your system will not have any netting extensions down the foul lines. Integration with your dugouts will be straightforward and there will be no tie in with any grandstand seating areas.
The smaller budget would be the best fit for smaller high schools or community/league based fields. This is a good example of an entry-level lift and tension-based system.
MEDIUM NETTING SYSTEMS
$40,000 – $80,000 per field installed
Middle of the road backstop netting systems will be taller, usually 30′ to 40′ in height and have a corresponding footprint to its height that runs 105′ to 150′ in total length (35’x35’x35′ to 50’x50’x50′) supported by four (4) poles. In medium-sized systems, there may be permanent bleachers or dugouts to work around, and both could be straightforward or complicated (e.g., dugouts, permanent bleaches). Height is the biggest cost factor for these systems, but they do maximize your netting footprint to keep the ball in the park.
Inclusion of a barrier netting that runs over dugouts or down foul lines will increase costs another $10,000 to $25,000. Keep in mind your cost will vary based on the height and length of that extension.
The medium budget would be best fit for medium-sized high schools or college fields. Here is an example.
LARGE NETTING SYSTEMS
$100,000 – $500,000 per field installed
Larger systems are typically 40’ to 60’ in height. These systems will have integration with the dugouts, and typically have full barrier netting running down the lines to the foul poles to offer maximum safety protection. Larger facilities that have permanent grandstand seating areas usually introduce additional poles. These installation complexities can increase costs.
This larger budget would be best fit for larger college complexes or minor league fields with grandstands and more protection requirements.
Q. Can netting systems be installed in phases to defer costs into a second year?
A. Yes. Sometimes you shouldn’t skimp, but a one-time large expense may be more than you have to spend. In this case, the project can be designed for additional phases. Learn how this organization in North Dakota took a multi-staged approach:
Bismarck Municipal Ballpark (Bismarck, ND) – This park made netting improvements over a 5-year period starting with the backstop netting, then extending netting over the dugouts, then finally down the foul lines.
Q. What’s the cost difference between inline and tie-back systems?
A. An inline system that has the poles integrated into the wall or fence behind the home plate will likely be 10% to 20% less expensive than an outboard tie-back system. If working around existing bleachers is an issue, you might find the cost-benefit savings to be less than 10%.Q. What is the cost increase of a barrier safety net that runs down the foul line?
A. Again, height and length will dictate the cost. Running a shorter 10’ net halfway down the foul line vs running a 20’ tall net to the foul posts can mean a difference of $6,000 – $15,000 savings to your budget.Q. What about just adding netting to an existing fence?
A. To do it right, you’re really looking at doing a small inline system as the existing fence posts will not be able to handle the load of the net. Many smaller community parks do this, and though it seems like adding 10’ to the top is a great idea, the result is usually short lived. Additionally, if this type of system were to detach and fall during high winds, you risk injuring people.
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