Big Graphics for the Big Dance
Sport Graphics scores big with graphics produced for the NCAA Tournament.
Come every spring, a little something known as March Madness sweeps the collegiate sports arena, and the best of college basketball battle it out for their shot at tournament glory. Some major players, however, like print provider Sport Graphics, remain off the court. The Indianapolis-based shop has a long-standing relationship with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and produces virtually all the signage for the organization, including the graphics displayed throughout the tournament. "Pretty much everything you saw [at the tournament]," says Jim Caudill, vice president of signage at Sport Graphics, "we produced."
That includes a 2400 sq ft window graphic installed on the outside of Georgia Dome for the Final Four. Working within the parameters set by the Atlanta Local Organizing Committee (ALOC)-a partnership of organizations responsible for Final Four arrangements-as well as the NCAA, Sport Graphics created several variations of the graphic in Adobe Illustrator.
After the final design had been chosen-complete with the four team names and the Final Four tagline, "The Road Ends Here"-Sport Graphics made the necessary tweaks and adjustments to the image, and the ALOC and NCAA approved digital PDF proofs.
Then, using its Mimaki JV3 with Mimaki SS2 inks, the shop imaged the graphic onto 3M Controltac Plus Graphic Film IJ180C. The graphic was produced in four sections, each measuring 100 x 6 ft. Total time to print: 40 hr.
Installation proved challenging. First, there was some uncooperative weather that had to be dealt with. Plus, the architecture of the building made for a difficult install: An overhang covering the main doors of the Georgia Dome was located directly underneath where the graphic was to be placed. Because the overhang can only support so much weight, a lift smaller than what would normally be used had to be employed to install the graphic. Each of the four 100-ft pieces was applied as one piece and then cut at each mullion. Executed by three employees with Atlanta-based Graphics Central, installation took 10 hr.
Due to the nature of the tournament, a few elements of the design were added just before production. "Adding the team names," says Caudill, "was a last-minute detail. We also ended up making the whole graphic bigger as well."
Atlanta Local Organizing Committee, GA
Sport Graphics (www.sportg.com), Indianapolis
Tools & Supplies
Mimaki JV3, Mimaki SS2 inks, 3M Controltac Plus Graphic Film IJ180C.