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Dale Salamacha

Sign Pros Perform High-Wire Act to Clean Up Stadium Signage

Six years after fabrication, a sign project enters “The Maintenance Phase.”

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Imagine a stadium full of people all looking at your sign — OK, the replay board! Imagine a stadium full of people all looking at your sign — OK, the replay board!
If your stomach can handle the drone footage in this epic episode, scan the QR code to watch it all unfold… Be careful — it’s up there!

If your stomach can handle the drone footage in this epic episode, scan the QR code or click here to watch it all unfold… Be careful — it’s up there!

SEVEN YEARS AGO, Media 1 (M1) had absolutely zero experience in the “stadium branding business.” These days we have guys hanging like bobbers on fishing lines, spooled from a 300-ft. hydraulic crane as they refurbish massive signs we built and installed six years ago, at Orlando’s Camping World Stadium.

Wait, what? How did all this happen? Let’s start with a little history on the stadium itself. Conceived under President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration (WPA), the original 10,000-seat stadium was completed in 1936 for a cost of only $115,000! (That’s $2.3 million in today’s dollars.) First named Orlando Stadium, it has hosted countless national football and soccer games throughout its history, as well as concerts — The Rolling Stones, Van Halen, The Eagles, etc.

But title sponsors come and go, and venues change names. This one has had five names over the years; e.g., from 2014-16 it went by the Florida Citrus Bowl. The latest (and so far, the greatest) came from a 2016 deal that led to renaming the facility Camping World Stadium.

But how did M1 get in on this? About a year earlier, one of our largest and most loyal clients, Massey Services, introduced us to the stadium folks. Ranked the fifth-largest pest control company in the nation, they were also a stadium sponsor. When shown the design of their new “Massey” logo perched atop a massive LED scoreboard, they insisted Media 1 do the work! Thus began our journey into the high-visibility (and high-heights!) industry of stadium branding, and we’ve never looked back … It’s one of our favorite industry sectors, and we have since completed dozens of projects for regional and national clients.

And for all the egocentric sign people (i.e., all of us), there’s not a much better feeling than having the current capacity of 65,000 fans gawking at your work all at the same time! High-end, high-visibility work, for sure. But along with that comes the responsibility of keeping them beautiful for years on end. Enter “The Maintenance Phase.”

In 2016, as Camping World took over naming rights, we already had a well-developed relationship with the stadium, doing multiple branding projects for them after Massey’s introduction. We were granted the massive project of installing two single-sided rooftop signs, and one double-sided main scoreboard sign (for inner-stadium, and expressway viewing). These signs are a whopping 14 ft. tall x 77 ft. wide, featuring 7-ft. channel letters, weighing around 22,000 lbs. each!

But after six years of numerous hurricanes and full-on Florida sun exposure, our satin blue/black Matthews urethane was pretty much shot. Chalky and faded, it was time for some TLC. After testing, we realized the color was still under the oxidation, and all it needed was a chemical wipe down — a little scuff-pad action to create some tooth, then a high-gloss clearcoat applied to the background panels. The obvious advantage was that we wouldn’t have to mask all those giant letters.

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It took a 135-ft. lift for M1 employees Saul Borreo and John Thompson to reach and finish the two rooftop signs. Using AkzoNobel’s high-solids gloss clear, battling Florida summer weather and heat, they spent four days on each. The result was fantastic! Everything we expected and the signs look brand new. We could not have asked for better results!

But then we realized the 135-ft. lift wouldn’t reach the main scoreboard sign … Now what? Enter Maxim Crane Works’ 300-ft. Hydro Crane, with Saul and John hanging from a yo-yo basket 200 ft. in the air to reach both the outside and the inside of the sign. Words cannot adequately portray the events that followed. You have to see it!

PHOTO GALLERY (16 IMAGES)

Dale Salamacha is the co-owner of Media 1/Wrap This (Sanford, FL). Contact Dale at dale@media1signs.com.

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