Two Melbourne printers win scrum for footy contract

Two Melbourne printers have won big contracts with the AFL to produce customised print work for at least the next season, while other printers are already busy with NRL jobs.

The competitive tender process cuts the number of printers working for the AFL from five to two – Blue Star and West Melbourne outfit Condor Group – as the AFL seeks to improve quality by having closer relationships with its printers.

AFL spokesman Troy Davis says the footy giant wants to grow together with its print companies by establishing close one-to-one relationships rather than having to juggle numerous companies.

“The more we work together, the better the quality,” he says.

Davis says the fine details of the contract are still being worked out and it is unclear how long the deal will last before another tender process. He did not rule out working with other firms, but the two have been designated ‘preferred printers’.

Michelle Baine, account manager in Blue Star’s Melbourne office, says as the deal has just happened everything is still in its early stages.

“We are really looking forward to working with such a successful and iconic brand and are proud it has chosen to work with Blue Star,” she says.

“We have printed for them for a number of years but this is the first time we’ve gone through a process like this.”

[Related: More sport in print news]

In addition, PMP continues its more than 45 year association with the footy code in printing the weekly AFL Record publication using its manroland Lithoman  48-page and Rotoman 8 32-page web presses.

A PMP spokesperson says: “The AFL is a valuable client to us and we’re proud to have has an association since the beginning of the Record’s publication.”

“It is a very easy company to deal with and in recent years we have been doing more innovative things with it, such as foil and other fancy covers, and inline chip-ons. We regularly produce it overnight on Thursday with a less than 12 hour turnaround.”

Stadium Signs is in its 26th AFL season, it works directly for the MCG and provides 90 per cent of its signage, which now makes up 15-20 per cent of its business.

Director Pamela Hammond says the company does all balcony and corporate suite signage along with 41 TripleM and eight Bank of Melbourne banners in the fan gallery, flags, entrance banners, playground signage; and seat covers, wall and gate signage for a stadium bay sponsored by iiNet.

“It gets bigger and bigger every year and there is lots of new branding from sponsors this year so plenty of work,” she says.

“You have to jump when they say to jump, it’s a seven-days-a-week job working right up until match time. The creative is often delivered quite late because they are still selling ads through the season, so early in the season and during finals we’re running 24/7.

“It’s rewarding to have such a long history and knowledge with such an icon and we’re quite proud to be one of the few allowed on hallowed turf.

“It’s an honour and we’re always trying to do a better job, never resting on our laurels.”

[Related: Stadium Signs feature]

Meanwhile, Sydney printers Offset Alpine Press and Best Signs are already flat out with NRL work.

Best Signs director Tim Clark says the company is in its fourth year of NRL work and is busy producing the ground level perimeter signage for six NRL grounds on its Oce Arizona flatbed printer.

Offset Alpine prints the media guide and the Big League magazine.

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