NCAA Portable Floors
Our March Madness
A look behind the scenes
Each year during the winter months we are busy finishing floors for “March Madness”, the regional NCAA basketball tournaments. The floors for the yearly tournaments are sponsored by Connor Sports and they contract the jobs to 3 different finishing companies in the country. We see being placed in this elite group as a tremendous testimony to our quality of work. This year we had the privilege of doing 6 portable floors for the NCAA, including the Women’s Final Four floor. We’d like to give you a back stage tour of the process involved in completing these floors.
Piece by Piece
The portable floors are made up of 225 panels, each being 4′ x 7′, weighing around 200 lbs, and are fit together with metal brackets and pins. The panels are shipped to us and we assemble them in preparation for the next step.
It all starts with a plan. Colors, logos, sizes, everything is taken into consideration and artistic heads are put together to decide the overall look of the tournament floors. This initial design is done by the NCAA, after which they consult with Connor Sports and our company to see what is possible and make final tweaks to the design. The design of the final four floors generally reflects something about the city in which the final games are held. This year it was held in Indianapolis and the inspiration came from the Brickyard 500 Racetrack. When you see the end result, it’s hard to believe it all starts with a layout on a computer screen.
After the wood is sanded smooth we begin with the staining. First the crew has to measure the floor carefully and figure out the placement and tape off the area or design to be stained. This year’s floors required a lot of staining, including a brick pattern that was stained in the three point area of the women’s final four floor, and a bright red and blue stained border. Once the staining is completed, the tape is pulled up and a coat of sealer is applied. Staining can create some extra steps in the process, but the effect is well worth it and we are seeing a definite trend towards staining in sports floor design.
Now comes the most important step – painting. All of the game lines and artwork for the entire floor are based off of the placement of the basketball hoops. It takes a lot of careful measuring and attention to detail to get it right. When you’re producing a floor for the best college athletes in the country you want to get it right! For instance, if the three point line would be 1/2″ off it could affect the outcome of the entire game! The artwork and logos are painted using large vinyl templates. Even with these stencils it is still a very involved and tedious task. Our skill in painting artwork is one of the many things that sets our company apart from the competition. Depending on the complexity of the logo, the template will include several different pieces which must be pulled at different times to achieve the correct colors in the correct places. This year 2 representatives from the NCAA came to see the Women’s Final Four floor in our facility. When they started measuring lines and logos we sweated a little, but true to form everything was spot on.
After the painting is completed the floor is coated with several coats of finish and placed in racks to cure for 2 weeks. They are then are shipped out to the arenas by truck, assembled, and are ready to be played on! After the games have been played the winning teams are given the option of buying the floor. If they choose not to, the floor is then dismantled and shipped back to us. At this point we get to sand all of our hard work back down to bare wood after which Connor makes an effort to sell it. In spite of the brevity of their existence, the work we put into these floors still provides a sense of accomplishment for our involvement in something this big. We can watch the games with a sense of pride, and think; “That’s our project! That was sitting in our warehouse!”
2016 NCAA Floors Finished by The Ohio Company
Men’s regional games: Chicago, Louisville, Philadelphia
Women’s regional games: Bridgeport
Women’s Final Four