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Throwback Post on the Superbowl

In 2010 I called this post Hot Market Printing: Yankees (or Saints) Win!

Same story this year really as we have another very good Quarterback Russell Wilson who was said to be too short. We have the same printer story as some shops in Seattle or Denver tonight on Superbowl Sunday who will be very happy and work all night, or if their team loses they will send all the shirts back on Monday. You can see Tom’s post on the losing 49ers in the NFC championship two weeks ago, and my shop sent back a whole lot of shirts this year as the Patriots didn’t win the AFC. There are a whole lot of printers that get the agony of defeat for every one that gets to print Superbowl shirts.

Here’s how it went a couple years ago…

I’m thinking about the Saints this morning. I’m thinking about incredible smart and bold coaching by Sean Payton.  I thinking about clutch QB Drew Brees (32 of 39 and one was a spike.) Watch some film of Doug Flutie and Drew Brees and tell me a quarterback has to be tall. I”m thinking of a team effort and of not giving up. I’ m thinking of the great city of New Orleans, a city bent but not broken by Katrina. However, I’m also a screenprinter and I’m thinking of all those tired screenprinters in Louisiana who don’t get to celebrate with the Saints because they are printing Fleur de Lis around the clock for the Who Dat nation.

Several large companies control the licenses to print t-shirts for major league sports teams. When a team wins any kind of championship, the fans get excited and want lots of championship shirts, particularly the ones that they see the Champs wear right after the victory in the locker room, which are not so oddly called the locker room design.

Two happy screenprinters (and Yankee fans), tired but happy after printing Yankee ALCS shirts all night
Two happy screenprinters (and Yankee fans), tired but happy after printing Yankee ALCS shirts all night

The companies with the license either have big printing facilities or contract with big facilities. However, fans want shirts right after the game. So the license holders hire printers in the area of the stadium, you can’t be waiting f or shirts to come from Calif ornia or Florida to New Orleans. Presses are made ready, samples done (top secret), and staff prepared. Then Vinatieri kicks a field goal and somebody in St. Louis is very unhappy and somebody in Pawtucket, RI (we’re talking Patriots here and for you geographically challenged readers, RI is near the Patriots) runs to the presses and prints for 24 hours straight or something like that. As fast as you can print, the trucks roll in and roll out and happy fans as early as 7AM the next morning have their gear for their beloved team.

The pay for this is pretty decent and the numbers can be large. If it is the Super Bowl and it is in New England it comes at a good time of year. If it comes for the World Series it can be tough. For the Super Bowl you set up one night and if your team loses you just put the shirts on a truck Monday and send them back. For the Series your team could go up 3 games to 0 and if they lose it in 7 you will have set up and got your people ready four times and all for nothing. Ouch.

The drama of either having thousands of shirts to print versus printing none has also captured the media’s attention and we have been on TV printing shirts dozens of times. The angle is usually the drama of printing or not, and then switches to the image of shirts flying down the belt and the working all night aspect.

The best thing about it is that it is out of the ordinary. Screenprinting shirts is hard work and often dull work.  Even blessed with the Patriots, Red Sox, Celtics and Yankees winning in our area, it still feels special to win. Now imagine how special in Louisiana where no pro team has ever won a championship. As a screenprinter you do feel connected to the event and part of the excitement. Rarely do people count on you to get things out the door as fast as you can and work all night. My employees may be tired when doing it, but we all get a little extra kick out of it. Then when your own team wins (Yankees!) it is even a little bit more fun.


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