By Melissa Donovan
Graphics for sporting venues consist of everything from a simple pole banner to a stunning floor graphic to direct patrons on where to sit, eat, or go to the restroom. Print service providers (PSPs) who cater to customers requesting graphics for sporting environments must offer a variety of products, often all at once, with a high level of consistency. When done well, a PSP ensures repeat business because sporting venues represent a location where short-term graphics—rotating events that require new signage—is the norm.
Based in Schaumburg, IL, Divine Signs and Graphics, Inc. began in 2003 as a full-service sign company looking to help businesses “capture their customer’s undivided attention,” according to Jeff Miller, president, Divine Signs and Graphics.
While it primarily caters to the Chicagoland area, it does service clients outside of the state of IL. Miller credits the company’s staff as key components in its success. “When you combine the latest and finest in signmaking equipment with our great team of professionals, and add our experience and expertise with customers you get the results you expect. We take pride in our unmatched ‘clever creativity’ when bringing our customers’ visions to life, whether that is for digital prints, vehicle wraps, illuminated signs, wall wraps, dimensional signage, window graphics, trade show signage, or promotional products.
In its 21,000 square foot headquarters, the team operates several machines, but a standout is its HP Scitex FB750 UV printer. It manages boards up to 120×98 inches and prints on almost any rigid or flexible media up to 2.5 inches with UV-curable ink. “This printer enables fast and efficient short-run printing with proven results,” notes Miller.
Defense Against Chaos
Divine Signs and Graphics’ customers request signage for many different environments, including sporting venues. Miller recognizes the opportunity. “Sporting events consist of enormous areas that require a significant amount of visual stimulation. They are easy to get lost in and can be overwhelming for many fans. Luckily, sporting event signage is the best defense against chaos and confusion in large spaces as well as the greatest tool for branding and advertising.”
When it comes to graphics produced for sporting venues, the PSP has a long list of suggestions. First of all, wall wraps or wall graphics. According to Miller whether the wall graphic is large enough to cover an entire wall or a simple decal, it is a “fantastic option if you are looking to brighten a dull wall, promote upcoming events, or sell space to advertisers. A well-designed mural or graphic can grab peoples’ eyes and get them excited for whatever event they have come to see.”
Banners are ideal for advertising upcoming events, team messaging, or sponsors. They are often chosen to hang on bleachers or walls, available in all shapes and sizes, and are low maintenance during installation and removal.
Another popular option is floor and stair graphics, which are used to direct fans, advertise sponsors, or as brand awareness. “Since people tend to look down at their feet when they are waiting in line, you can use them to surprise your fans as they wait to get their tickets or use the bathroom,” says Miller.
In that vein, directional signage is an imperative part of any entertainment venue. “You can use it to direct athletes toward the locker rooms and sign-in tents, or to point guests towards the ticket booths and food vendors. Giving your attendees clear directions helps them feel welcomed and reassures them they are in the right place,” explains Miller.
Finally, event tents are another application Divine Signs and Graphics’ sporting venue customers are requesting. Used for multiple reasons and placed in all different areas, clients leverage the tent space for sponsorships—upping their profit potential.
Leveraging unused space is a noticeable trend in sports. “We certainly have seen venues take advantage of the fact that output can be applied to every type of surface in the park, stadium, arena, or facility. This allows more branding opportunities not only for the team but also for the sponsors. In minor league/entertainment league sports the sponsor is the heartbeat of the value proposition. This trend started prior to last year and we see it growing,” admits Miller.
An example of this is one of Divine Signs and Graphics’ most recent sporting event projects, which was to completely rebrand and provide new signage for Wintrust Field, home of the Schaumburg Boomers baseball team. This project consisted of a variety of signage that required application-specific materials.
The job involved large format brick wraps, which were printed on 3M Print Wrap Film Envision LX480mC due to its durability, high performance, and conformability to unique textures and complex curves. “For every sign that leaves our shop, we only use the highest quality products to ensure top-quality signage for our customers. With our long experience and knowledge in the signage industry, we use specific products that are unique to each project,” notes Miller.
In addition, this project included many heavy 18 oz. banners designed to withstand the elements and showcase branding all season long.
Rebranding a Stadium
Divine Signs and Graphics is versatile in its offerings, which is what allows it to be one-stop shop to customers. Another standout sporting event project Miller references involved creating wayfinding, room signage, seat section signs, and more.
It came about when naming rights were purchased to the local minor league baseball team’s stadium. The client’s goals were to brand the stadium in a way that allowed for great visibility of the sponsor’s name while incorporating the branding and color scheme of the baseball team.
The PSP was given the brand guidelines from the stadium sponsor as well as the new logo of the baseball team, but it was up to its design team to creatively position the logos—whether they were standalone or incorporated into layouts for different sign applications.
One of the unique aspects to the project entailed designing and installing 40-inch high channel letters above the digital screen and scoreboard. The letters spanned just over 41 feet and had to be mounted onto custom-sized raceways that were adhered to an existing steel beam structure. Since the letters were so tall, each letter was mounted to two raceways.
Additional challenges were scheduling the surveys and installs around the busy field schedule. On any given day, the teams would be practicing or playing games from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. “We had to work closely with the team’s administrative staff to know the daily gaps in the schedule that would allow us to get on the field and access the designated application area and not worry about getting hit with a baseball,” says Miller.
A crew of four men used a 60-foot lift truck and a 100-foot articulating lift to install the channel letters. From the time the initial site survey was performed to the day of installation the entire job took approximately four weeks.
“The client’s goals were exceeded. We had the signage installed leading up to a four-game series between two Triple A baseball teams. These were the first games where attendance was allowed back at the stadium since the 2019 season. The naming rights sponsor held events on many of the days soon after the installation was completed. With everyone excited to be back, electricity was not only running through the signs, but through the crowds as well,” shares Miller.
Part of the Energy
Creating signage for sporting venues presents PSPs with a chance to create a unique experience for their customers as well as their customers’ customers. Each event held at the venue means more signage—so the opportunity is deep. Divine Signs and Graphics is one PSP who recognizes this and takes great pride in preparing and installing signage for its sporting event customers.
“We all know that unique feeling of being at a sporting event. The energy in the room, stadium, or on the track is unlike no other. Although a lot of this energy comes for the fans cheering and enjoying their spare time, it is the unique experience created by each event host that adds excitement and engagement throughout the crowd,” explains Miller.
To achieve this, the PSP is able to create anything from high-durability feather flags, foamcore spirit head cutouts, digital scoreboard graphics, opaque and perforated window graphics, wayfinding signage, wallcoverings, and much more.
Dec2021, Digital Output