The first thing you notice is the bright magenta neon that has a way of grabbing your eyeballs’ attention.
It’s definitely not Navy and Northwest Green colors that Mariners fans are accustomed to.
It’s the color that will soon come to define the newly-named T-Mobile Park when the first pitch crosses Homeplate on March 28.
KIRO 7 traveled to a warehouse in Yakima where a crew of at least 40 people are hurriedly working to get the magenta signage done for the ballpark, and they started before the ink on the 25 year, $87.5 million-dollar naming rights contract could dry.
“We’re not close to being done. We’re hoping to be done by the 22nd of March, giving us a week if there needs to be any sort of tweaking that needs to happen,” says Ed Becker, Vice President of Operations for Tube Art Group. “There’s been some long nights to put this thing together, but that’s how these things happen.”
The warehouse is abuzz with activity and also the magenta light that’s being installed as trim for the ballpark that will welcome fans.
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The Mariners team colors won’t be changing, this is just for the stadium.
“Change is always different. Change is difficult for everybody, but it happens,” says Becker of the new name and look.
T-Mobile, with the naming rights, wanted their iconic bright magenta to stick out among the lights of nearby CenturyLink Field and Downtown Seattle.
It certainly sticks out from colors of other major baseball stadiums nationwide.
The Mariners also dictated that the ballpark signage should still, above all, feel like baseball.
“The neons that were out there, we were able to stay with a nostalgic look that was important to the Mariners as well as T-Mobile.”
The signage letters range in size from several feet tall for signs that will stand above the right or left fields, to 13-feet a letter for the T-Mobile Park signs that will be seen from I-5.
Working with a color like magenta has been tough, but the Tube Art Group team is getting it done.
“It’s hard to work with. To find the correct color, the correct sheen, because neon burns at 360 degrees. You’re getting that light surface from all around,” Becker says.
But the new signage will also have an added element, and background hues will change depending on different home game event nights or holidays.
“The return you see on this one, is where the LEDs are going to be mounted and it will shine up against a backing that will be up on there to reflect that LED,” Becker says, “They wanted to have the backgrounds to have 3 elements of reflectivity, so for 4th of July they could do a red, white, and blue on the same backer.”
You also know Tube Art Group’s previous signage work, you just don’t know it.
The Seattle/Bellevue-based company has been a fixture, so to speak, on the West Coast for more than 70 years.
They construct the signage that Amazon uses in its headquarters and offices, the signage that Starbucks uses at its retail locations, and yes, they even constructed Safeco Field’s signage when the ballpark opened in 1998.
“That was a great package, that was a great design,” Becker told KIRO 7, and he says when the letters started coming down earlier this year, fans were ringing the Mariners off the hook.
“When the TV crews saw us bringing down the "Safeco Field" on the rotunda last week, the Mariners said they were getting calls to say, ‘what you going to do with the letters?’ There were people that actually wanted pieces of it.”
The Mariners told KIRO 7 the team has been mulling the decision to sell some of the Safeco Field signage, but no decision has been made yet.
Tube Art Group and the Mariners plan to start installing the new look sometime next week.
Becker says his team will be there for the home opener to see it debut. And he says fans won’t be disappointed.
“I think it’s going to be awesome. The fans are going to come out and really like what they see.”
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