A large part of any sports arena is the signage. It serves as a directional indicator and promotional tool for the team and its sponsors. In hockey rinks the opportunities are multi-fold with more places to wrap then imaginable. The boards where players are slammed into every night hold logos and branding, under the ice sponsors pay for their message, zambonis are wrapped to promote companies, and concession stands take on a new meaning when corporate sponsors are chosen to represent the area.
The following two-part series profiles print service providers (PSPs) that capitalize on arenas and offer services ranging from dasher decals, to under ice graphics, vehicle wraps, and floor decals. Each realizes the immense potential in repeat business. Sponsors are frequently switched out, which results in a multitude of signage flowing out of a shop.
Into the Boards
ANC Sports Enterprises, LLC was founded in 1997 as a sports marketing and signage provider. Offering a full-service solution, the company prints, installs, and operates signage for sports teams and venues. ANC;s National Hockey League (NHL) clientele include the league and teams such as the Florida Panthers, LA Kings, Minnesota Wild, Ottawa Senators, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburg Penguins, Tampa Bay Lighting, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, and Washington Capitals.
The PSP has offices in Purchase, NY and Atlanta, GA. Printing services have grown to include van wraps, wall murals, speaker wraps, floor mats, directional signage, and dasher decals. Working with Britten Banners, ANC produces large format applications from various facilities which total over 150,000 square feet.
These dasher decals allowed ANC to place a foot in the door to the NHL during the 2005/2006 season. They worked directly with the league office to provide signage for the boards that enclose the hockey rink. Multiple sponsors request and pay to have their company logo or branding placed on the dashers. About five percent of the PSP’s printing business is dasher decal related. Through the NHL they create league-specific decals and corporate partner decals for nationally televised games. Recently, they have created applications for teams such as the New Jersey Devils and the Washington Capitals.
Many considerations go into media choice for the dasher decals, which are printed on a flexible opaque vinyl. “Some considerations when choosing media are glare, longevity, and temperatures relative to the proximity to the ice in the arena,” explains Michael Hopkins, director, communications and marketing, ANC.
Glare minimization is taken into consideration because of the fans, players, and television cameras. In addition, the media must be resistant to scuffing, tearing, and abrasion. The material used by ANC is a removable pressure-sensitive adhesive that bonds well to plastic and metals. Cleanly removable for up to a year, it does not damage paint so teams can change promotions frequently.
All of the dasher decals are printed with a Hewlett-Packard solvent-based printer, which offers the ideal print quality needed for a graphic seen by 100,000s of people as well as the capability to produce large volumes in a quick turnaround.
Commonly, dasher decals are requested and expected to be placed in two to three days, according to Hopkins. Sometimes next day service is required in the case of emergencies. Created on an as-needed basis, they are ordered depending on how often an arena sells advertising inventory and how many games the NHL is broadcasting nationally on a given day.
A typical dasher decal order requires the submission of the appropriate graphic, text, and quantity produced. Designers then create a mock up, which is sent to the client for approval via ANC’s proprietary proofing system. Once approved, decals are printed and shipped to the arena where the venue’s crew or ANC personnel install the signage.
Besides dasher decals, ANC also offers its rotational signage system services to the NHL. For example, they have printed and installed all the banners for rotational signage systems for the Vancouver Canucks. For All Star events the company has created bench signage and in-ice decals, which are another common application, as are wrapped zambonis.
ANC’s stellar reputation is boosted by its quick and high-quality service. Its dasher decal segment provides a steady stream of work from both the NHL and separate arenas’ corporate sponsors. While the application may be simplistic in nature, the customer base is anything but. This PSP works hard to serve a demanding client with timely graphics.
In the next segment of this three-part series, read about DIY Decals, a PSP that creates concession stand signage for NHL teams such as the Detroit Red Wings, who make their home in the Joe Louis Arena.