The Story Of How GAMEDAY Happens…

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From The Plan—To The Fans’ Hands

By Lynn Keel

When you go through a CenturyLink Field turnstile, heading to your seat at a Seahawks game, the first thing you’re likely to hear is, “Get your program, Seahawks program here…”

But you probably have no idea of the complexity—and hair-breadth deadlines—involved in producing that colorful and changing booklet for every Seahawks home game.

Until now…

Sam West CG liaison on the program, left, says, “It’s always an exciting time when I meet with Lane Gammel (right) of the ’Hawks to plan for the upcoming season…it’s really an honor to be the gatekeeper for GAMEDAY, which may be the team’s most visible printed piece.”

Planning for the GAMEDAY program begins early in the Summer. Lane Gammel, the Seahawks media manager, and Sam West, senior sales executive at ColorGraphics (CG), which prints the program, begin the process with discussions about timing and budget.

Janet Jensen, the graphic artist based in Edmonds, who has been designing the program since 1996, designs the 64 static pages (those that will remain the same until a reprint in mid-season).

She usually gets the input for the covers from the Seahawks about five days before it goes to press. The cover art for each program is determined by the ticket designs, which are created by the Seahawks in-house staff.

Designer Janet Jensen says “putting together the GAMEDAY program is a challenge I thoroughly enjoy. Pushing to meet tight deadlines would be stressful without the backing of the Seahawks organization. I feel privileged to have worked on the team’s programs for more than 20 years.”

Janet (above) then sends the art to Glenn Padgett, Seahawks program production manager at CG (at right), who explained the process this way:

“I’m the wizard behind the curtain. It’s my responsibility to orchestrate the steps required for success. As a plaque that hangs on my office wall says, ‘Nobody knows what I do until I don’t do it.’

Prepress manager Daniel Morris says, “Our prepress team works to make sure that everything is complete and accurate. We’re in an industry that requires us to maintain quick turnaround on major projects—and we’re all proud to say we work on GAMEDAY.”

“As with football, success is in large part determined by preparedness. We begin by having stock ordered and layouts made early. We receive the files for the 64 static pages in advance of those for the 48 that will change, and these are printed on our web press in Los Angeles and held at Puget Bindery for use in each ensuing issue.

“By the time the remaining 48 pages arrive from the designer, layouts are made and the job is ready for prepress to take the field. They output proofs overnight for approval the next day by the Seahawks.

“Any corrections are made and, once approved, printing begins that night on our perfecting press. Folded signatures are sent to the bindery for a one-day turnaround and delivery to CenturyLink Field the next day. Total turn time—four days!”

Pressman Aaron Fein checks the GAMEDAY press sheets for color and accuracy. Pressroom manager Rob Bailey says, “We’re always on standby to print the GAMEDAY program. Our motto in the press department is ‘NO is not and option!’—particularly when it comes to the Seahawks programs—because we know that our part of the process is critical…”

This was the production schedule for the GAMEDAY program for the August 18 pre-season opener versus the Minnesota Vikings, shown on the cover:

Aug. 7: Art received by email at CG for the 64 static pages.

Aug. 8: Proofs sent to Seahawks. Any corrections made.

Aug. 9: Print static pages.

Aug. 11: Art received by email for cover and 48 changing pages.

Now, two pivotal and pressure-packed days…

Aug. 14, Morning: Proofs of changing pages to Seahawks.

Aug. 14, Afternoon: Any changes made and PDF proofs emailed back to Seahawks.

Aug. 14, Evening: Print all changing pages and cover.

Aug. 15, Early Morning: Fold printed signatures.

Aug. 15, Morning: Deliver to Puget Bindery for perfect binding.

Aug. 15, Evening and 16: Perfect bind 13,200 copies.

Aug. 17: Deliver to CenturyLink Field.

Puget Bindery staffers Zach Brown and Mihaela Cena at work perfect-binding the GAMEDAY program. PB principal Bob Bayless said, “There’s no more time-sensitive job that we handle than binding of the GAMEDAY program. It’s gratifying to be the last step in a team effort and to be able to deliver the final product to the Seahawks—and ultimately to their fans.”

Unlike the Seahawks, the GAMEDAY production crew—most of whom have been involved in the process for more than a decade—must have a perfect record every game and every year! And, fortunately, we have so far.

The comments of the leading players in the process that accompany this article are testimony to the uncommon  pressures—and pride—involved.

Kudos to all!


Lynn Keel is the sales-production coordinator at ColorGraphics, where she’s worked for the past 23 years (through all of its iterations), and she’s been in the printing industry for 43 years. You can contact her at lynn.keel@cenveo.com.

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