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Get Your Cheer On

A pair of sporty, printed-graphic applications

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A sporting event without commensurate promotional and branding graphics might as well be a sandlot game. Fans expect a big experience when they attend a collegiate or pro contest (and, increasingly, at high-school sports venues as well) – or even bring the thrill of victory into otherwise mundane offices – and it’s up to signshops and service providers to deliver team graphics that bring supporters to their feet.

Here are a couple of examples that enliven fans’ passions.

Falcons fly!
Beginning play in 1966, the Atlanta Falcons were the Southeast’s first NFL franchise, which enabled the league to tap into the region’s deep passion for football (I may have mentioned Southerners’ fervor for the sport in a few previous articles). During the intervening years, franchises have popped up in New Orleans, Tampa, Charlotte, Nashville and Jacksonville, so the team now faces many rivals for fan loyalty. Moreover, Atlanta is a cosmopolitan city with approximately 5 million residents. And, as the joke goes in “the ATL,” everyone there is from somewhere else.

Thus, Falcons officials must stoke the flames of fans’ passions at every possible opportunity. As such, they hired Option Signs (Alpharetta, GA) to outfit the walls of the team’s ticket-sales center with graphics that would more readily enable them to imagine Matt (“Matty Ice”) Ryan tossing touchdowns to receivers Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu. 

Using a design formulated by Stanley, Beaman & Sears, an Atlanta-based architectural-design firm, Options Signs fabricated an aluminum cabinet frame on its MultiCam 3000 CNC router, and installed Principal LED Fusion II modules to internally illuminate it. The shop printed the cabinet’s graphics on its Mimaki JV300 printer using 3M optically clear media. 

Other graphic components include a 16 x 30-ft. printed graphic installed on a fabricated-aluminum oval to simulate the new scoreboard at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which will be the Falcons’ new home in 2017, and wallpaper murals, which were printed with Koro-graphics’ Abaco Beach printable wallcoverings on the Mimaki printer.

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Lehigh will shine
You don’t often glean wisdom from watching sports on TV. However, I once heard a commentator during the championship game of a lower-echelon NCAA Division I college-basketball conference say, “At schools like Duke and Kentucky, students cheer for their schools. At institutions like these, they’re cheering for their friends [on the court].”

That brought home the more intimate connection smaller schools’ students, alumni and staff have with their sports teams. Their athletes aren’t ensconced in the rarified realm of big-money college athletics. They eat with fellow students in dining halls, and study alongside them in libraries. 

When Lehigh Univ., located in Bethlehem, PA, hired L+H Signs (Reading, PA) to create wrap graphics for walls and corridors in its sports complex, they depicted the student-athlete experience in an approachable way – not only for fans, but as a recruiting tool for potential future players in an array of sports. The job entailed approximately 1,575 sq. ft. of wall graphics, banners and panels secured to standoffs. L+H fabricated the wall graphics on a MImaki JV33-160 solvent-ink printer. The shop produced the wall graphics with 3M Scotchcal 3662 repositionable media, which is laminated with luster-finish Scotchcal 8519 overlaminate. The wall banners were produced with Bannerluxe fabric, which was installed with custom aluminum brackets. The standoff-mounted panels were printed on an EFI-VUTEk GS3250 eight-color-plus-white UV-cure that’s direct-printed as a second surface on ¼-in.-thick acrylic panels.

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