Printing Fan Cutouts – Even for Your Rivals
When UT Print San Antonio, the in-plant for the University of Texas at San Antonio, agreed to print hundreds of fan cutouts to help fill the stands at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, the in-plant didn't expect its team's rivals to try to blend in with Texas Longhorns fans in the cutout crowd. But among the hundreds of loyal UT fans who eagerly purchased the $50 cutouts and submitted their photos, the in-plant spotted some mischievous University of Oklahoma fans, who submitted photos of themselves wearing OU shirts.
Director Garry Boytos knew exactly what to do; he printed them onto Coroplast with his shop's Ricoh Pro T7210 wide-format flatbed printer, just like all the others. And he delivered them along with the other 1,600 cutouts his 11-employee in-plant produced. But as for where they ended up ... Boytos says they were placed alone in the far back of the stadium – for social distancing purposes, of course.
Printing fan cutouts has been keeping the in-plant busy. For the first home game against El Paso, the in-plant had just a week and a half to print 1,100 cutouts.
“We’re able to print a six-up sheet in seven minutes,” reports Boytos.
For a special event honoring actor and super Longhorns fan Matthew McConaughey, the in-plant printed 45 cutouts of McConaughey with images taken from his many movies, like “Dallas Buyers Club,” “Magic Mike” and “Dazed and Confused.” The order came in the morning and was delivered by 2 p.m.
To support the high demand, Ricoh helped manage the overall process while working closely with Texas Athletics and UT Print San Antonio. This approach reinforced Ricoh's ongoing commitment to growing alliances with partners and customers, while helping ensure collaboration between experts at each organization was seamless.
"The fans make Longhorns Football what it is, so the thought of not having the full force of that cheering spirit in the stands was simply unacceptable. We needed to be innovative to deliver for our team, school and fans," says Chris Del Conte, VP and director of Texas Athletics. "When we decided we wanted to have fan cutouts, we of course reached out to our partner, Ricoh, to make it a reality. As we worked out logistics, it became clear we could produce the cutouts locally and put the proceeds toward supporting health and safety, all while giving fans a chance to show their pride. This quickly turned from a morale booster to true investment in the community, one that wouldn't have been possible without our partnership with Ricoh."
"At the end of the day, sporting events are about community, and in the era of social distancing, supporting communities isn't always achievable in person," adds Gavin Jordan-Smith, senior VP, Commercial and Industrial Print, Ricoh Americas. "This project helps fans feel connected to their team and brings cheering fans to game day 'in person.' At the same time, it offers a new way to contribute to student-athletes' health and well-being, helping keep them safe on and off the field. Each of our companies are invested in the university's success, and are committed to collaborative innovation to help move communities forward."
Ricoh's partnership as the Official Workplace Technology Provider of Texas Athletics is managed by Longhorn Sports Properties, the Austin-based Learfield IMG College team and Texas Athletics' multi-media rightsholder.
A portion of the proceeds contribute to the health and safety resources for more than 500 Longhorn student-athletes, including weekly COVID-19 testing, special health monitoring related to COVID-19, clean masks, face shields, and more.
"The way this local community comes together for Texas Athletics is truly something special to see," says Boytos. "It has been an honor and a joy to play a role in bringing the fans back to Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium while helping keep student-athletes, staff and fans safe."