When we think of sports stadiums, many things might come to mind. The roar of the crowd. The smell of tempting food and drink. The anticipation of walking through the doors, one part of an enormous gathering of people, all excited and eager to support their teams and players. For some sports fans, large format printing might not rank highly on this list – but the relationship between print and sports stadiums and arenas is a longstanding one.
Print has always been symbiotic with the stadium experience, and even as new technology emerges, and the scale and scope of what arenas can offer expands, print is still here, captivating audiences and creating a unified, immersive space for all to enjoy. We’re taking a look at why.
Sports and sponsorships
Sport inherently brings people together. Huge crowds are a regular occurrence during seasons or tournaments, from smaller local teams to the behemoths that make up the world’s largest football stadiums. This captive audience offers a fantastic opportunity for in-situ advertising, and print has been the clear candidate for this role for decades.
Opportunities for advertising have naturally extended to sponsorship deals at both a small local and a much larger international scale. This opportunity for brands to reach consumers has been a valuable commercial avenue, but crucially, has created and embedded a bond between arena and stadium spaces and large format printed material.
Banner advertising for local sports
On the smaller side of things, local sports teams and their home grounds are a pillar of Britain’s communities. They bring people from the surrounding area together, uniting friends, families and neighbours around a shared interest. Print for local sports grounds has been a consistent feature for many years, with pitch-side banner advertising forming much of the media found in these spaces.
This is not only a great way for brands to make an impact broadly, but also a powerful way for businesses in a specific geographic area to connect directly and meaningfully with the people that make up their local customer and client base. This is a particularly potent form of communication given the environment of the sports ground – a space in which fierce loyalty and support are consistently present.
Print for large stadiums – more than just advertising
When it comes to the gigantic stadiums for the nation’s largest sporting events and teams, print is equally as important, although the role it plays naturally expands to fill the – much larger – space. Pitch-side advertising is often funded with significantly more significant budgets, enabling much more impactful print media – and the size and scope of the physical environment itself enables brands and businesses to explore more unique print materials and installations.
New print solutions, new opportunities
As wide format printing becomes more popular, commonplace, and convenient, and technology improves, the opportunities for print in sports arenas expands. The smorgasbord of printed media extends to draped banners, branded floor graphics, printed wall graphics and more.
In this respect, print serves a greater purpose than simply advertising – it contributes to creating a unified, immersive experience for visitors to enjoy, and offers a significantly impactful branding opportunity for stadium marketing departments.
Media can include one-piece wall graphics which can be printed up to 3.2m wide (and 50m in length), tension fabric frames (which offer a more sustainable print solution – something which is becoming an increasing priority), or glass manifestations to transform the glazed elegance of the VIP booth.
Print as a key to a unified sports experience
This concept – of a unified, aligned space – is an important one for stadium and arena managers. The experience they provide to the fans, clients, customers, and players needs to be immersive and memorable, which in turn means that print needs to be consistent, co-ordinated, and of the very highest quality.
The pressure is on for large format print suppliers to produce media that meets these criteria, which become increasingly stringent as time goes on. Print providers need to go above and beyond for their sports clients, ensuring their products are versatile, impactful, top quality, and produced consistently. As client needs evolve, it’s also crucial that printers approach briefs collaboratively, thinking creatively about how to produce, install, and remove installations that can create a cohesive impression.
Digital is here – but print isn’t going anywhere
It’s no surprise that digital out of home media has become a staple of the sports stadium – as in many locations, including shopping malls, digital advertising screens and media offer a varied and engaging platform for sports grounds, stadiums, and arenas. There’s no question that digital screens are here to stay, and have become an integral part of these spaces, but it’s also worth noting that they won’t be replacing print any time soon.
The experience for visitors to a sports stadium is a tactile one, and in ensuring fans and customers aren’t overwhelmed with media, a balance between printed and digital installations is the solution. We’re already seeing this in stadiums all around the country; the static, bold nature of print offers a direct complement to the dynamic media of a digital screen. Used effectively, the two create a unique synergy that increases the overall impact and impression for viewers.
Print is a core ingredient to the escapism and magic that sports arenas and stadiums offer their fans. Regardless of the game or sport in question, print is a huge part of what makes a day out to a sporting event so memorable, and the relationship between the two industries is here to stay for the long haul.
With this said, as with any experiential event, sport has a duty to keep things interesting. As new media technology emerges, and new ways to captivate audiences and fans in person and at home become available, printers need to offer versatile and increasingly impressive solutions to ensure arena and stadium clients can deliver the experiences they need.
Fast turnarounds, cutting-edge solutions, and comprehensive levels of service and care are required to a greater extent than ever. Fortunately, with printing firms like PressOn up to the challenge, sports fans will be able to enjoy the power of print for their home and away games for many years to come.