Fans of the Texas Longhorns – the University of Texas's American football team – have been able to show their support even when social distancing measures mean they can't attend games in person, thanks to photographic cut-outs printed in partnership with Ricoh.
"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," explains Chris Del Conte, Vice President and Director of Texas Athletics.
University of Texas Athletics reached out to local Ricoh partner UT Print San Antonio, who got to work printing full-colour photographic representations of fans on its Ricoh Pro T7210 flatbed. Within the first 24 hours of the promotion, Longhorns supporters ordered over 500 cut-outs to help populate the stands on game days.
Part of the profits from selling these cut-outs goes towards supporting Longhorn student-athletes, paying for the provision of weekly COVID-19 tests, health monitoring and PPE such as masks and face shields.
"As we worked out logistics, it became clear we could produce the cut-outs locally and put the proceeds toward supporting health and safety, all while giving fans a chance to show their pride," says Chris. "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."
Garry Boytos, Director, UT Print San Antonio, comments: "The way this local community comes together for Texas Athletics is truly something special to see. It has been an honour 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."
"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 Vice President, 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."
Football fans in Philadelphia have also been able to get involved while staying safe during the pandemic, thanks to a similar Ricoh project. Image360 in Marlton, New Jersey has printed over 2,500 cut-outs of Philadelphia Eagles supporters on its Ricoh wide format printer, raising funds for the Eagles Autism Foundation while helping to bring some atmosphere to the stands.
More information on this project can be found, courtesy of abc Action News, by clicking here
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