We issued a news release yesterday using a number of online news release services and I wanted to share some of the contents with you - the news release headline is "Possibly the World’s Largest Collection of Sports Artwork Captures the History of the NFL, MLB, NHL, CFL and NCAA College Football in Record Proportions". The release is designed to help promote the fact that more than 1500 of our hand-painted watercolor paintings of football, baseball and hockey uniforms are being made available for sale for the first time.
As you may know, I was the owner of Toronto based Maple Leaf Productions from 1993 to 2009 and during that time we researched, designed and manufactured a family of products that celebrated the evolution of team uniforms. At the core of this entire project were the images of the uniforms themselves – hand-painted, original watercolor paintings on archival paper. These images were then used to create posters, framed prints, clocks, fridge magnets, playing cards, mousepads, collector plates, and many other products – each of which celebrated the history of a particular team’s uniform.
I have been asked many times if I know of a bigger collection of sports art, and I have to say that I have never come across a collection as large as this. To be honest, I can’t imagine anyone else being crazy enough to spend the time and money that we did to create such a massive collection of original art. It was a bit of an obsession for me, but as I look at the collection of original art that we created, I am extremely proud of each and every piece – each of the 1500+ pieces of art has a story to tell.
The process of creating the art began with me and a small team of like minded folks researching and gathering vast amounts of source material which we then provided to a small team of highly skilled artists. In turn, the artists took the research and created highly detailed watercolor paintings based on the research material. Creating watercolor paintings was the way I felt I could develop and maintain a consistent look and feel for the entire collection of sports uniform art, something that was very important to the success of the whole project.
My thinking was that even if we had access to the actual jerseys, which wasn’t always possible if for no other reason than many of them no longer exist [of the 1500 uniforms, as many as 400 jerseys no longer exist], it would have been almost impossible to photograph each jersey in a continuously consistent viewpoint and light such that the final product would be able to properly tell the tale of a particular team’s uniform evolution. By creating highly detailed watercolor paintings, we could control the look and feel of each uniform such that when the team uniform evolution was shown as a collection, it would be pleasing to the eye of a fan.
The news release also explains that each of the more than 1500 pieces of original artwork being offered for sale can be purchased in one of three formats:
1. The raw, unframed artwork
2. A “Classic” framed version (add $75 to the price of the unframed art)
3. A “Deluxe” framed version (add $100 to the price of the unframed art)
and that the prices range from $350 up to $1000 per piece (US$) with the vast majority of pieces starting at the $350 price.
I also wanted to make the point that these pieces of art would make an ideal gift for any sports fan – anniversary gift, retirement gift, major birthday gift, graduation gift, wedding gift. Or that someone could buy one for their own home or office because they are a huge fan and would like to own a piece of history celebrating their team and their fandom. This art is unique and one-of-a-kind, and I don't mean to insult other people who have created sports artwork, but unlike a good deal of sports art, this artwork really is very tasteful.
From a sales point if view, I realize that once we get the word out, the possibility exists that there are going to be a lot of disappointed fans - that may sound odd but I think it's true. Take the Denver Broncos for instance, we know that there are more than one million people who are proud to identify themselves as Broncos fans (something we know through Facebook, fan forums and other web groups), yet we only have 13 pieces of original art. So if someone wants to buy the 1960 Broncos’ uniform artwork – the Broncos first season - or the Broncos’ 1997 Super Bowl winning uniform artwork, once the word gets out they will have to move quickly because once that one original piece of art sells, that’s it – there are no more. We’re only going to be able to please 13 Broncos fans and I’m afraid we’re going to disappoint thousands.
The new release ends with an explanation of the:
1. website devoted to the sale of this artwork
2. my YouTube channel where people can see a video on their team's artwork
3. this uniform, jersey and stadium history blog
In a future post I will let you know some of the results of issuing the news release - this is all a learning process and it will be fun to watch what happens.