Bradley University Surrounds Their Facilities with School Spirit
Many players, coaches and athletic directors can agree that playing on a plain field surrounded by bare fences and exposed bleachers does not promote a lot of “spirit” during the game. That is why stadium and branding graphics have now become a huge priority for many sports programs.
When you watch any sports game on television, you instantly know where the game is being played. That is because of the stadium graphics that surround the field. All the big programs across the world have invested in branding and stadium graphics for their facilities to not only beautify them but to also make it theirs.
Custom Stadium Graphics
Bobby Parker, Associate Athletic Director for Communications at Bradley University, quickly saw the importance of having custom-made stadium graphics at their facilities. Bradley’s sports programs are ever-growing, and with that growth comes a need for branding.
“Bradley University sponsors 15 NCAA Division I teams that compete in the Missouri Valley Conference,” said Parker. “Bradley’s athletics program dates back to the founding of the school in 1897 and the Braves have a traditionally strong men’s basketball
program.” Parker wanted to give Bradley’s facilities a fresh new look that would give their program a unique look.
To accomplish this goal, Parker reached out to us to determine what can be done and to design eye-catching graphics to show off their brand. We worked one-on-one with Parker to amplify Bradley’s softball and soccer fields. Both of these facilities were surrounded by bare, chain-linked fences that were not appealing to the eye, so that is where they started the branding process.
Incorporating Colors, Logos, and Championships
Parker saw these fences as an eye sore that needed to be covered, but he didn’t want to just cover up the fences with ordinary mesh screening; he wanted to incorporate everything that represented Bradley University. With that in mind, he wanted to showcase Bradley’s colors, logo, photos and of course championships. “While the windscreen project serves the practical purpose of enclosing the venue, the graphic displays provide the opportunity to showcase the championship caliber program for thousands of eyes daily,” said Parker.
Project Manager Paul VanDusen worked with Bobby Parker to create the “Bradley” look that he had in mind. VanDusen not only involved all of the elements Parker requested, but also created a “theme” that can be used for all of their facilities. With a consistent theme, Bradley can give their facilities a common look and feel that would only represent the Braves.
Pulling Attention to Sports Programs
With their new fence graphics surrounding their facilities, Bradley is now ready to impress all of their visitors. And with their fair share of victories over the years there will be plenty of eyes on their program. “Bradley Soccer has built a national reputation under the direction of head coach Jim DeRose during his 20 years at the program’s helm, and the Braves have enjoyed recent success in baseball, men’s and women’s cross country and softball,” explained Parker.
It is common sense that with a winning program comes a great deal of attention: fans, students, boosters, alumni, possible recruits and even opponents, all of which will visit your facility to witness your program. Would you want to have an average looking facility with that kind of attention? Neither did Bradley University. “The windscreens have been very well received and we continue to get compliments on the displays,” said Parker.
But what about the players that actually use the facilities? Do fancy stadium graphics really help them play better or train harder? Let’s put it this way: would you be more motivated to work in an office with bare white walls, or in an office with eye-catching graphics that showcase your victories? Stadium graphics give players, as well as coaches, a sense of ‘school pride’ that reminds them who, and what, they are playing for.
Leaving a Legacy
“The Bradley Soccer program is built on a foundation of ‘Leave a Legacy’ and the players are proud to have their accomplishments recognized in such a public fashion,” explained Parker. All in all, Parker was very pleased with Bradley University’s new stadium graphics. He was able to accomplish so much with such an easy solution.
With the new graphics, Parker was able to accomplish several goals: cover those ugly fences, enhance the look of his facilities, and amplify Bradley’s brand; most importantly, he was able to give his players and students a heightened sense of school pride.
But of course, just like any project, Parker would have made a few adjustments if he were to do this project again. “We would have made the rings and trophies bigger,” he explained. However, he sees the silver lining in this oversight and turns it into a positive: “Here’s hoping to add to those totals in the very near future.”
All programs are different from one another and require different solutions to accomplish branding demands, but the principal goal is mainly the same. “Developing a vision and then determining how that vision can be portrayed to the public is important,” says Parker. “And always pay attention to the details.”
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