INDIANAPOLIS — Leading up to March Madness, it has been said the eyes of the world will be on the city of Indianapolis, but some argue the world will also take a moment to look at the 47,000 square foot bracket on the front of the JW Marriott.
“It’s something I’m very proud of we do and something that’s garnered attention coast to coast,” Frank Hancock said. He is the CEO and president of Sport Graphics, the graphic design firm behind the bracket.
“I’ve still never been to a town that’s had the event that has a building like the JW sitting by itself. It’s like a billboard,” Hancock said.
A billboard, he said, that beats the certified world record bracket his company made in 2015. Hancock said this one is bigger thanks to the added tagline at the top.
“That’s something that the NCAA wanted, and they wanted to reach back to the city of Indianapolis and wanted to thank what everybody is doing to make this possible,” Hancock said.
The bracket took several weeks to design, 100 hours to print and more than 5 days to install. Crews were out Tuesday despite the fog, filling in the teams ahead of tip-off.
Well worth the view. The 2021 @FinalFour Men’s Basketball Tournament Bracket on the @JWMarriottIndy took days to put together. Check out the time lapse. (Courtesy: NCAA & Sports Graphic) @wrtv @nikkidementri pic.twitter.com/abls0mvvaH— Rafael Sánchez (@RafaelOnTV) March 16, 2021
“We’ve done the great majority of the NCAA National Championships since 2005, 2006. I mean they’re all different,” Hancock said.
Different for a few reasons.
“Everybody says, 'How was your business last year?' I go, 'The name of the company is ‘Sport Graphics,’ you tell me how my business was because there was none,'” Hancock said.
The multi-faceted graphic design company employs nearly 100 Hoosiers. Hancock said although business was “significantly down” in 2020, he is grateful work from places like the Indianapolis Motor Speedway could keep him from layoffs.
“After 2020, sleep's overrated. We don’t need sleep this year. We had plenty of that last year,” Hancock said with a laugh.
Hancock is a Hoosier through and through. He is an Irvington kid, Ball State grad and started his company right here in Indy in 1986.
“I’m very proud of our hometown,” Hancock said.
Before March Madness this year, Sport Graphics was behind the “Back Downtown” sign on the side of the JW.
“I thought it was so symbolic last week we were installing this one and taking the other one down, and we can kind of make the argument we are back downtown,” Hancock said.
The start of the next chapter for downtown Indy will certainly be on full display during the month of March.
“I’m very proud of it. I mean it’s something special and everybody talks about it. I kid people and said when my time comes I may not even have my name on my gravestone, just have a picture of the JW, they’ll know who’s there,” Hancock said and then laughed.
One thing about 2021’s bracket that is different than the one in 2015, it is “live.” For example, the folks at Sport Graphics will be back up updating the bracket on Saturday after the teams played on Friday, which will continue until a winner is crowned. As for how this comes down when this is all over, Hancock said it is like a giant sticker, so it should peel right off.
Every night at 6, the bracket will be lit up on the side of the JW Marriott. As for what is next, there is not a lot of down time. Sport Graphics not only did the bracket, but practically all of the NCAA Tournament signs and banners downtown. Hancock said after the month of March, it is time to start getting ready for the Indy 500.