We’ve shared some great stories (like this one, and this one) about the volunteers who put playoff T-shirts on the 18,203 seats at Chesapeake Energy Arena. But not too long before our staff and volunteers start breaking open the boxes full of gear to put out at the arena, Chris Johnson and his crew at USA Screen Printing are pushing themselves and their equipment just about to the limits to turn around this many T-shirts in what is frequently a very narrow window of time.
The morning before Game 2, Chris and his team opened up their shop for us to take a look into the full process. Blue and white shirts sat stacked on lines of carts. Eight presses spun in sync, laying down ink on the front and sleeve of each piece. Two dryers whooshed with hot air, helping to set the design before the shirts were boxed up.
It was a massive process that engaged every resource the shop had. Even at USA, one of the largest screen printers in the area, running at full throttle still means at least a 12-hour run to print the 20,000 shirts the Thunder orders for each game.
To give you some context for that window for printing shirts: Until our Round 1 series ended, there were only about 36 hours until the Thunder hosted Game 1 of the second-round series. But Chris and his crew delivered, with plenty of time for our team to put the shirts out on the seats the day before the game.
Take a look at this great video that shows a little more of the process, including a very cool time lapse of the T-shirts going out in the arena.
At least we have a little more than 36 hours between now and Game 5 …
- Karina Henderson