There are tremendous branding opportunities that basketball courts allow for both their teams and their sponsors. These opportunities have helped to create the spark behind a growing list of unique court designs in the NBA and NCAA, and even in high schools. Sports Floors has helped Tulane University and the Memphis Hustle of the NBA D-League achieve their goals of branded courts, among others!
Promoting and expressing the team brand with information like a Twitter handle in court design has become a staple of professional and collegiate basketball teams, but this same design approach is now becoming customary at the high school level, too. People who watch basketball on TV, and see the floors the colleges and the pros have, want that for their secondary schools.
It used to be quite a daunting process to bring court designs to fruition. Images would have to be projected onto a sheet of paper on a wall, and then drawn out by hand. Next it would be gone over with a star wheel. After that the paper was put down on the court and gone over with a graphite pounce pad. Finally, it would be drawn out and then painted.
These days, it has become much easier as computer-generated images are turned into giant stencils using a plotter. No more tracing designs by hand! This has made it possible to do things that used to be prohibitively expensive. Let Sports Floors help your school and team go as wild as your heart desires with design!
DESIGN AND MATERIALS
Having a design in mind when your athletic program sets out to brand your court is not necessary, but you should know some basics. Teams need to know their colors and have a logo. If you do not have a logo yet, Sports Floors can help design one for you! From there, we can have a conversation about the direction you would like to see your floor go in, and we can supply multiple full-color digital layouts.
Here at Sports Floors we go through as many iterations of the design as it takes to make sure you are totally satisfied with your court branding. If you choose, a sampling of finalists can be turned over to your fans and students to be voted on to determine a winner. Contests like these can also help build the excitement for your new floor!
Professional organizations have style guides and trademarked logos that often dictate their branding, and colleges are often obligated to incorporate a conference logo into their court designs. At the high school level, there is a bit more freedom to go in whatever direction the organization wants. Whatever your needs, Sports Floors can help you make a bold statement!
Your design should consider the viewing environment and the aesthetics of the brand. A 5,000-square-foot middle school floor needs to be treated different than one that is built to be seen on TV or in an arena setting. There is no need to put something on your court that is so big that no one will ever be able to take it all in at once.
A contrasting example would be for teams to avoid huge logos whose floors are seen in TV. Just because you have the room for gigantic logos, does not mean you should use them. Viewers often find these types of logos distracting, even if the institution and players love them.
Organizations often prefer to take the court design into their own hands. Input and enthusiasm is welcome from a floor’s stakeholders, but even as technology gets better there are still limits to what type of designs work. Design firms are able to create complicated and intricate drawings on Adobe Illustrator without much thought on how the court will actually be produced.
Adherence to the governing body’s rules for court design is always a big factor in design. All competitive levels accept a quarter-inch-wide shadow line that denotes where the two-inch-wide line is. In high school you have to have two quarter-inch lines denoting the center circle, whereas in the NCAA and NBA, you need just one.
The materials used to actually stain the floor is the other major factor limiting design. Water or oil-based stains are the primary options for painting the design. Oil-based stains have long been the preference at the NBA level, but they have their downsides because their color palette is limited, especially when it comes to trying to get something bright like fire-engine red. Oil-based stains are also engineered to penetrate into the wood, which can cause bleeding which affects the final design.
Water-based stains provide a cleaner look. This type of stain makes the floor hard like glass, which causes problems when it gets dirty, because it can get slippery.
Sports Floors is on the constant lookout for new ways to push the envelope, experimenting with different materials and techniques to achieve new looks, all with safety at the forefront. Putting water-based paint into water-based sealers can create a stained look on floors without actually staining. Water-based products allow for any color to be as bright and bold as you want.
Designing the basketball court as a branding element is just the beginning. The next step is to integrate the floor into the full fan experience. You can make headlines with a 3-D projection system. This is made possible by selecting a water-based finish that reflects light better than that of an oil-based finish. You can draw even more attention with a court designed to complement your team’s uniforms.
SPONSORSHIPS AND COST
Complex court design comes with a price. Finding the extra money to afford the labor and resources needed to stain a floor can be a challenge, at the high school level in particular, but it is not impossible. One way schools are able to raise money is by having sponsors’ logos painted alongside the basketball court. A branded floor is a bit more expensive than the typical high school package, but it is a more long-lasting investment.
Careful planning can ease the cost of a floor by coordinating the work with Sports Floors for scheduled and budgeted maintenance. The school system or county is often paying a portion of the cost of a new floor, so the school itself is not absorbing the entire cost.
Crowdfunding is a good way to go to help offset some of the costs. It is a no brainer to get behind this type of fundraising because a new gymnasium floor not only benefits the school, but the students playing on it. Parents, community members, and students have a reason to back a new floor that benefits everyone! For a funding goal, start small. These passionate people want to see how they are contributing, and from then on, your crowdfunding can grow. There are a ton of crowdfunding websites, but RallyMe, NLAB, and Sportyfunder are a few sites that are built to specifically support the funding of athletes, teams, and other sports initiatives— like a new gymnasium floor!
A branded floor is an investment that can pay significant dividends, especially for an institution like a mid-market college. If your game is broadcast on television, that could mean millions of potential viewers.