DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (WFLA) – The Tampa Bay Rays have started filling the stands at Tropicana Field with photos of their fans. Those fan cutouts are actually being produced at a factory in Daytona Beach called DME Visual.
The process begins with a photo that you have to send to the Rays. You can do it here.
“The art files that were submitted to us from the Rays,” explained Kevin Majeski, “we actually take them and then we group them on a sheet.”
One sheet has enough space for six fan faces and, in about four minutes, those faces are focusing on the next step of the production process.
Majeski is the operations manager for the wide format division of DME Visual. He has nearly 30 years of experience in the industry but he admits he has never been face to face with the fans in the factory.
“We have done standees but they are always of the players, never of the fans, so this is kind of a complete 180,” said Majeski. “To be honest with you, I did not know that it would gain any traction.”
Majeski has been pleasantly surprised by the popularity of these cutouts.
“It kind of snowballed pretty quickly,” he said, “but it is pretty exciting. It is exciting to be a part of it and you get to see our work on television which you get a certain amount of satisfaction out of that as well.”
The photos of the fans are cut from the coroplast sheets and, then, they are sent to the grommet station. The grommets allow the employees at Tropicana Field to easily position them in the stands with zip ties.
Tyler Reyno, who was installing the grommets, has been with the company for four years. He contacted the Rays to see if they would be interested in having DME Visual produce the cutouts and he received a “yes” from the organization.
“We were able to see the impact these cutouts were having in other leagues across the globe,” said Tampa Bay Rays Vice President of Marketing and Creative Services Eric Weisberg. “We really wanted to make sure our fans had that same opportunity to have that presence here back at the Trop. This is my thirteenth year so I’ve been around Tropicana Field for a long time and I have seen these same smiling fans so, to see them for me, it is exciting to actually be able to have that connection even as awkward as it is but, at least, to have them here all season long.”
Majeski said he is probably going to create a cutout for himself too.
“I am going to,” he said, “one way or the other, I am going to be in there. I got a picture of my dog so I do not know if it is going to be him and I or just him or just me but I got to be a part of it for sure.”
You can expect to see the fans in the stands on Tuesday evening when the Rays face the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field.
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