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A Three-Point Success

Mitographers Helps NCAA Summit League Shine

Shenanigans Door

Branding one of the year’s biggest basketball tournaments is a tall order. There are dozens if not hundreds of opportunities to put the spotlight on the games, but finding and executing the right approach can be a challenge.

Nobody knows this better than the team at The Mitographers, which includes Tim Phillips, Sales Manager, Sales Representative Terry Culhane, and Inside Sales Team Leader Tracie Tirrel. The relationship between the Sioux Falls, South Dakota-based screen/digital-process printing company and the Summit League, which hosted the Division 1 NCAA college tournament in Sioux Falls in 2009 and 2010, has been growing steadily.

“Initially, we got a call in year one to do some very large banners to hang at each end of the arena. These were 28-foot banners,” Phillips said, adding that the first year was such a success that the league re-opened discussions with Mitographers about 2010. “The Sioux Falls Sports Authority came out to discuss that and additional graphics. We partnered with FLEXcon to do some graphics out in the arena. The Summit League representatives, including the commissioner, Tom Douple, were just blown away.”

While the 2009 project involved floor graphics, pillar wraps, and wall graphics, everyone had bigger ideas for the 2010 competition. FLEXcon New Business Development Manager Michael Chevalier worked closely with Mitographers and the Sioux Falls Sports Authority, knowing that a second success in 2010 could lead to even bigger things in 2011.

The Advertising Advantage

In addition to working within the arena where the games would take place, Mitographers was also intent on creating a comprehensive program that would help the Summit League achieve maximum visibility, as well as profitability.“Mitographers actually went to the Sioux Falls Sports Authority and asked, ‘How can we help you?’” Chevalier said. “Number one, they wanted to earn some revenue, and number two, they wanted to brand the event.”

Working with FLEXcon, Mitographers put together a package through the Sports Authority that allowed local businesses to graphically align themselves with the event, utilizing a wide range of FLEXcon’s selfadhesive films. “In June 2009, we started to have initial conversations; based on the response they got from the lobby graphics in year one, they wanted to do that and a little more,” Phillips said. “We came up with a marketing program to get local businesses involved, even though they were not sponsors of the Summit League tournament.”

Under this program, small businesses who made a $50 donation to the event received a 12 inch by 12 inch window decal that announced their status as an official supporter. Many businesses used these on their windows and doors. Mitographers also offered other wall and surface graphics to interested supporters. For example, one local bar, Shenanigans, covered their doors and windows, as well as their bar top with Summit League graphics.

“The Summit League did not have to pay for the graphics throughout town, and they also generated revenue to help pay for the graphics that went into the lobby,” Phillips said of the Summit League effort. Michael Sullivan, Executive Director of the Sioux Falls Sports Authority, said he was pleased with the program’s results. “It came together pretty well,” he said. “We used the graphics to get the community involved, and it worked out well for us…We were very satisfied with the graphics.”

Shenanigans Bar

At the same time, the city was branding the event on a large scale, using FLEXcon® SEETHRU-SIGN® perforated window film to cover a skywalk over a major metropolitan highway. “We said to the Sports Authority, ‘Let’s do something that no one has ever done; let’s wrap that,” Phillips said. “It’s a glass structure that spans across a four lane road.”

The large format graphic tied in nicely with the supporter graphics program. It also helped to generate even more excitement for the event itself. “The Summit League used our material to brand the arena as well,” Chevalier said. “They used FLEXmark® floor art to create individual logos for each of the teams; they used our WALLdeco 6770 to create a large welcome mural. They also used floor art material to create the large center court graphic.”

A Center Court Success

The center court graphic was a particularly daunting challenge. During the 2009 games, that graphic, which had been applied by another converter, proved problematic. The graphic had just enough of a lip that several players complained of a tripping hazard, as well as slipping issues.

Chevalier and the team at Mitographers came up with a solution involving FLEXcon’s FLEXmark® floor art and several coats of clear floor coating. The result was an eye-popping graphic that held everyone’s attention, but did not hold anyone up on the court. “The center court graphic was a real showcase for the arena, and the games were on ESPN and ESPN2,” Chevalier said. “The league loved the graphic. It held up really well and it showed up great on television.”

Arena Entrance

Phillips echoed Chevalier’s impressions. He said Summit League Commissioner Tom Douple had heard complaints about the previous year’s graphic, and wanted to make sure those problems did not occur again. “He told me he had three members of his staff who were assigned to do nothing but watch center court for the first four games of the tournament to make sure there were no problems.” Phillips said of this year’s graphic. “He was very pleased with this new approach to the center court graphic. As the commissioner said, it was a smashing success.”

Summit League Marketing Director Vanessa Quimpo said everyone has been impressed with the work of Mitographers and FLEXcon. “They did a great job and the FLEXcon material worked out real well,” she said. “The floor was down for four days and there were four games a day. There was a lot of scuffing on the floor, but it looked really great and we didn’t have any issues with it. I would be thrilled to work with them again with our center court decal. It was a very good experience and it looked great on TV.”

Self-Adhesive Coverage Generates Media Coverage 

Mitographers and FLEXcon were able to literally cover the city and create a pervasive sense of excitement about the tournament. Success certainly begets success, and the Summit League is no exception. Phillips said preliminary discussions about the 2011 tournament are already in the works. He noted that the Sioux Falls Sports Authority liked the graphics revenue program so much that they have a plan to generate more sales next year. He said that working with FLEXcon has helped Mitographers make the most of this opportunity.

“There are several reasons we were willing to partner with FLEXcon on projects like this,” Phillips said. “They have been a wonderful supplier for years. Mike Chevalier has been a very valuable resource; he has sparked some ideas for us. It’s really been a good fit. We are getting more involved in sports marketing and we’re excited about it.” Chevalier said he looks forward to working with Phillips and Mitographers on such large scale projects for many years to come. “Both the league and the city love what was done and want to do it in a bigger and better way this next year,” Chevalier said.

Self-adhesive films can transform an event. They can be used to brand the event, not just in the arena, but throughout the larger community. Contact FLEXcon and learn how you can make the most of the self-adhesive advantage.