Swinging Signage

Big Ben Jumbo Graphics outfits the Oakland A's preseason home.
Mar 10 spring training -- A's 1.jpg

From its formative years in Philadelphia with suit-clad Connie Mack managing the club, to its mid-’70s dynasty with enigmatic owner Charlie Finley, through the Jose Canseco/Mark McGwire era to today, the Oakland Athletics possess one of baseball more storied legacies. While many teams have experimented with new logos, uniform designs and color schemes, hunter green and gold – and three calligraphic characters: an uppercase “A,” an apostrophe and a lowercase “s” – have comprised the “Swinging A’s” branding since 1901.

For four years, Big Ben Jumbo Graphics (Tempe, AZ) has fabricated digital graphics for the Athletics’ spring-training digs at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. The company earned the job through its proficient handling of the team’s promotional-print materials and a good relationship with a local ad broker. Big Ben Jumbo Graphics also creates graphics for the Texas Rangers’ facility in Surprise, the Milwaukee Brewers’ complex in Maryvale, and the San Diego Padres’ and Seattle Mariners’ camp in Peoria.

Dewey Johnson, Big Ben’s director of marketing, said the work primarily entails sponsorship graphics for the outfield walls, concourses and entryways. Each spring-training season entails 5,000 to 6,000 sq. ft. of new graphics for approximately 30 new signs, as well as new inserts or additions for existing graphics. The team provides PDF, EPS or INDD files of the existing graphics, which the shop’s design team perfects using Adobe Photoshop.

Big Ben primarily uses Avery’s MPI 1005 self-adhesive, gray-liner film, which it applies to 16 x 32-ft., plywood boards that are installed slightly above the outfield wall. After these sponsor spots fill up, the shop creates overflow graphics for the outfield wall pads using 32 x 8-ft. boards and printed on 13-oz. Verseidag Seemee banner material, which installers apply with a tension system behind the wall.

The prime advertising spot on the stadium’s “batter’s eye,” which Coors Brewing currently sponsors, comprises a 104 x 10-ft. wrap that’s installed 45 ft. above ground with a crane. Jumbo Graphics prints all graphics with an HP/Scitex XL 1500 solvent-ink printer.

“We receive about eight full days’ worth of work a year from the A’s,” Johnson said. “Because of some late-arriving ads and change orders, we spread the job out over about three weeks.”