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HBP Prints 60,000 Square Feet of Graphics for Capital One Arena

Amid pandemic, print shop makes sure the game goes on.

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Print Shop: HBP (hbp.com)
Location: Washington, DC
Tools and Supplies: Soyang flag fabric, Durst Rhotex 325 printer, sewing machine, grommets, bungee straps, Velcro

FANS REJOICED IN mid-2020 when the NHL, NBA, and other leagues announced pro sports had found a way to play in the midst of the global pandemic that had shut down many “normal” aspects of American life. One major COVID-19 modification? Stadiums, arenas, and other venues were partially or entirely closed to fans to help curb the spread of the virus. An empty arena for a high-stakes game, however, is a bit unsettling for TV viewers cheering their team on from home.

While some organizations filled empty seats with fan cutouts, others like Monumental Sports and Entertainment’s Capital One Arena, home to the Washington Capitals and Washington Wizards, opted for section covers to brand the dead space. About three weeks prior to the Wizards’ first home game, local PSP HBP was called in to create graphics to cover 60,000 square feet of empty seats, plus a wrapped truss system for end zone areas during basketball games. HBP treated the project as 44 separate jobs, as no two sections throughout the lower bowl of the arena were alike, and unique section covers would need changed out depending on if the Wizards or Capitals were playing.

“There were a couple challenges for this project,” says Bryan Koons, senior account executive, HBP. “First was the coordination with MSE and also the NHL and NBA. Each section or logo panel had to be approved by the end client and the leagues before we could start production.” An added challenge was developing a truss system sturdy enough to be turned upside down and hung from the ceiling when not set up for basketball games.
Once graphics were approved (Capital One branding for the top sections and changeable NHL and NBA sponsors for the bottom section) and the truss created, HBP output panels of varying sizes onto Soyang flag fabric using a Durst Rhotex 325 printer. Each panel was finished with reinforced edges and grommets every two feet for bungee cords to keep the sewn-together section covers taut; the lower sections featured a sewn-in Velcro top edge for swapping out the graphics between teams.

PHOTO GALLERY (9 IMAGES)

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Kelsey Johnson joined the Big Picture and Screen Printing teams as assistant editor in January 2017 after graduating with a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University. She is based out of Cincinnati and spends her free time exploring local coffee shops and driving all over the Midwest attending concerts.

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