While Bengals football fans celebrated the team’s win in the ACF Championship, Dayton, Ohio-based Titan Graphics began the arduous task of supplying the state’s only official locker room T-shirt — overnight. The print shop made approximately 10,400 shirts, which were dispersed first thing the next morning.
“With hot market printing, the graphics are predetermined and approved in advance of the event. We have staff members and garments on-site with the machines set up ready to print with the flip of a switch,” Bob Thomas, Titan Graphics VP of operations, tells GRAPHICS PRO. “When the game ends — or sometimes late in the game — we get the authorization to start production.”
According to Thomas, it took roughly 12 hours to print all of the shirts using M&R screen printing equipment, saying, “It truly is an overnight operation with many moving parts.”
“There are hologram stickers as well as other stickers and in some instances, price tickets applied to the garments during the production process. Garments are bulk folded or put into prepacks for boxing and distribution. A prepack is an assortment of sizes placed into one box. Those typically are either 24- or 36-piece prepacks,” explains Thomas. “Multiple trucks are used for very specific pick-up and delivery times, usually to a centrally located distribution center. The product is allocated and in the stores ready for purchase before they open for business the next day.”
Hot market printing brings the heat
While this process may seem challenging in itself, Thomas says the true challenge is the business of hot market printing.
“With some of the prints we have worked on, we have had to wait for the game to end so that we could put the final score in as part of the graphic. Then we make the screens and start production. Quantities can be modified up or down at any time during the event,” he adds. “Another challenge is when staff members are in place, machines are set up with product ready to go, then the team you would be printing for does not win. That is a risk that the printers take. Hot market printing is not for the faint of heart.”