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Colin McMahon

Innovations in Print Products

How Printed Fans Represent New Opportunities for Print Service Providers

Sep 2, 2020 12:22:28 PM


While positive stories are welcome, let us be clear: There is no silver lining in the COVID-19 pandemic. There is never a sunny side when more than 170,000 Americans lose their lives and millions of others suffer traumatic economic disaster. 2020 will go down as a year of challenge and struggle, and to say anything less might diminish the pain of those directly impacted.


That said, those who work toward positive change during such periods should also be celebrated. We at Keypoint Intelligence have been following such developments since the outbreak began. We’ve been providing continuous coverage of print service providers stepping up to create positive products such as face protection, hand sanitizer, and vital signage.


There are other ways, however, to help bring positivity to the pandemic. Emotional health is part of physical health and, while people are apart, they want to feel together. AAA Flag & Banner is a print service provider with a history of partnerships with professional sports. Now, with COVID-19, the company has teamed up with Major League Baseball (MLB) to create printed cutouts of fans, letting dedicated sports fanatics attend the games without risking their health and safety.


Source: AAA Flag & Banner


The Advantages of Print in COVID-19

It is no secret that every professional sports league is facing challenges during this pandemic. Live games played in front of thousands of screaming fans went from sounding like a party to a death sentence overnight. In the months following the outbreak, each sport has handled the challenges differently, but all agree that fans are part of the essential chemistry. The question has been: How do you create those fans?


In the NBA, the answer has been digital. While this method has some definite advantages, such as enhanced interactivity and improved fan motion ability, we want to argue that this is one instance where baseball may have the edge. Printed fans just have so many more positive benefits that outweigh the deficits.


For starters, there’s the eco footprint. It takes continuous power to keep those screens going throughout the games. Compare that to the relatively carbon neutral presence of printed cutouts.  We’re not sure as to the exact level of AAA Flag & Banner’s eco-friendliness, but the company has taken the time to highlight some of its commitments on its website—stressing its preference for printing on recycled materials and carefully managing print waste.


With the right creation technique, printed cutouts like these can be mostly (or entirely) biodegradable, allowing for the material to be safely disposed of following every game. With the digital displays, the surfaces must be continuously cleaned and sanitized.


Lastly, I personally feel there’s more opportunity to have fun with printed cutouts. Want every president and vice president in history to see a baseball game? Print them out. How about filling the stands with players from past teams? There is also the potential for branding partnerships. In a new age of marketing communication, a studio like Disney or Warner Bros. may decide its worth it to promote a new movie by placing its stars behind Homeplate.


Regardless, the fact that AAA Flag & Banner created this opportunity for fans is welcome news. It also continues to highlight the flexibility of print when innovation is applied. Print is not confined to the products of the past. It can and should be continuously re-examined and evaluated for new potential and new product areas.


If you’re curious to learn more about new expansions of print and print products, please check out our upcoming webinar centered around augmented reality and how it will help transform the print industry with new product opportunities and new ways of doing business.