Wrapping Tropicana Field
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Wrapping Tropicana Field

Read a first hand example of how vinyl wraps are playing a key role in both aesthetics, communications and advertising in stadiums across the country.

By Jennifer LeClaire

Read about the transformation of a Florida stadium and how vinyl played a key role in making it a fan-friendly experience.

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  • Tropicana Field's 1.1 million square feet include unique design features and fan amenities found nowhere else in the Major Leagues. It makes an exciting home for the Tamp Bay Rays baseball franchise, and a strong example of how vinyl wraps are playing a key role in aesthetics, communications and advertising in stadiums across the country.

    In 2007, Right Field Street was renovated to include numerous activities for young baseball fans. Kids can experience the magic of baseball in a carnival-like atmosphere.

    In addition, fans can still take their swings against computer images of real Major League pitchers in a batting cage or test their arms in the speed pitch. Right Field Street also features popular kids-themed areas such as "Bats, Balls, and Brushes," "St. Petersburg Times Pressbox" and "The Science of Baseball."

    During the planning phases of the Right Field Street renovation at the stadium, the owners consulted with Fast Signs of St. Petersburg. The question they asked: How can we transform this area into a fan-friendly place? The answer had to incorporate 100 years of Tampa Bay baseball history through a cartoon-like timeline digitally printed onto a mural that covers the many walls there.

    “Right Field Street was a fairly dinghy area. It didn’t have a lot of appeal,” says Gary Lucke, owner of Fast Signs of St. Petersburg. “The solution was to use murals to cover the wall. The mural wraps around portals and around drinking fountains. It covers 100’s of feet and it’s 17 feet high.”

    Researching the wraps
    Tropical Field’s team conducted the historical research, everything from Branch Rickey and Babe Ruth training in Tampa Bay with the Yankees in the 1920s up to the inauguration of the Rays in 1996 and the team’s current stars. But if the research and design was challenging, the installation of this and other illustrative components was more so.

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    “There are concession areas along Right Field Street, and the ceiling varies in height. There are lots of steel beams and construction,” Lucke says. “We wrapped all the concrete outside the concessions. We turned them into distinct visual themes. For example, one of them looks almost like a space theme. Then there’s a World Series theme.”

    The wrap is progressive. As you walk past the stands, you see themes transition as the wall curves. In all, Lucke and his team wrapped 1,800 square feet of painted block with printed vinyl. But his job still wasn’t complete.

    Refreshing concession wraps
    On the concourse levels of the Trop, the stadium owners decided to refresh the concession areas along First Base and Third Base Streets with dimensional logos. This was a challenge, Lucke says, because there were blue and white four-inch square tiles on the splashguard areas and countertops.

    “We printed the sepia tone for an old world, collage type baseball theme with the old score board where you change it manually,” he explains, noting that this install ran nearly 1,700 feet on to 20 different concession stands.

    Lucke saved the biggest job for last: a full and complete build-out of the team store where fans gather to purchase merchandise, from jerseys and caps to bats and balls. This two-level job included wall murals, huge floor graphics with the Ray’s logos on a wood floor.

    Since then, Lucke has gotten on a stadium roll, so to speak. His FastSigns franchise has wrapped Lakeland’s Flying Tigers Stadium, Merchant Stadium in Lakeland where the Detroit Tigers practice for Spring Training, and LP Field in Tennessee where the Tennessee Titans play.

    From there, Lucke and his team moved on to wrap the New Jersey Devils Arena, the Space Coast Stadium where the Washington Nationals spring train, the United States South Florida Sun Dome and the Miami Convention Center. Indeed, Lucke has proven that the sky is the limit for sign shops looking to do stadium wrapping.

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