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Kicking Off Football Season

NFL kickoff party gets the graphics treatment from bluemedia.

After winning Super Bowl XLV, the Green Bay Packers were set to host the 2011 NFL Kickoff game. For the first time in football history, the annual ringing in of the season would feature a matchup between the last two football champions: the Packers would face the New Orleans Saints, winners of the prior Super Bowl.

To celebrate this unprecedented matchup last September, the NFL pulled out all of the stops for the kickoff party that took over Lambeau Field. The festivities included a free concert featuring big names like Lady Antebellum, Maroon 5, and Kid Rock; appearances by more than 30 legendary NFL players; youth athletic clinics; and a “Gameday Village” that allowed attendees to compete in drills such as field-goal kicking, passing, and relay races.

No sporting event, however, is complete without a blanketing of graphics – which is where Tempe, Arizona-based bluemedia dug in its spikes. “Per our ongoing relationship with the NFL since 2008 – which started with smaller jobs and progressively entailed doing more work over the years – they felt we were the best solution for the job,” says Brandon Boetta, bluemedia’s interactive marketing director.

Bluemedia output an array of graphics for the event, including mesh fence and bike-barricade graphics as well as tower and pole banners; signage aligning the perimeter of Lambeau Field for the Play 60 Youth Football festivities; and much more. In all, bluemedia printed more than 90,000 square feet of media for the job.

All of the image files were designed and provided by the NFL, and sent to bluemedia, which then performed PMS color matching with its G7-certified Epson Stylus Pro 4800. Once the files were press-ready, the shop ran several printers day and night for a consecutive 3-1/2 days to accommodate the NFL workfload, including: its G7-certified EFI Vutek PressVu 200/600, HP Scitex XL 3 and 5, and HP TurboJet (TJ) 8300.

Media also ran the gamut, and included: Mehler Texnologies mesh banner, 3M and Arlon pressure-sensitive vinyl, 3M perforated adhesive-back window vinyl, and 3M textured wall vinyl. For finishing, the shop used Arlon and 3M laminates in conjunction with GBC 2064 and Seal 5500 laminators, as well as a Miller Weldmaster T-100, a Hiker H-200S-1 grommeting machine, and a Fotoba TJOL cutter.

The sheer volume of the project posed an enormous challenge, says Boetta: “We produced 12,000 linear feet of mesh fence and bike barricades alone, and used more than 10,000 zip ties. Not to mention that this job was produced at the same time we were doing a football stadium revamp for Arizona State University. We were also working on the University of Arizona stadium, The Rose Bowl for UCLA, and projects for the Kansas City Chiefs. We had to move our print and production departments to 24-hour shifts in order to pull off the short turn time.”

Twenty-five bluemedia installers flew from Arizona to Green Bay to accomplish the install within the 6-½ day timeframe. Graphics were installed along the four city blocks that surround Lambeau Field for the Gameday Village; Curly’s Pub Lambeau Field Restaurant for the Draft Eve party; local hotels; and the Regatta 220 for the NFL staff party.

And while the install team had nearly a week to get the graphics up, they were only allowed 2-1/2 hours to take them down – the equivalent of a graphics 2-minute drill. “Everything had to be down before the game’s halftime, and we couldn’t begin the teardown until the game’s kickoff,” concludes Boetta.


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