Our article on basketball court branding in the November/December issue of Athletic Business felt all too familiar to Steve Denny, director of athletics at The Master's Academy Orlando, Fla. Many of the details in the article, from brand aesthetics to marketing potential and application techniques had been discussed by the athletic department at great length over the last few months. And this weekend, Masters Academy is unveiling its latest branding tool, a completely black hardwood court.
“We debated between a blue floor -- similar to Boise football -- and a black floor that matched Oakland University out of Michigan,” Denny says. "We think ours is the only one in the country at the high school level.” (Care to challenge his claim? Email firstname.lastname@example.org)
The floor still incorporates touches of the school’s signature blue and is part of a larger initiative to overhaul the school’s athletics program and increase participation and performance, says Denny. “The court and branding fits into the philosophy that athletes will perform better if they look good and feel good and have a sense of confidence in who they are and what they represent.”
The floor has been finished for a couple of weeks, but will make its big debut during the second annual Master’s Classic tournament this weekend, playing host to some of the state’s top athletic teams, Denny says. Also taking notice will be home viewers of the tournaments three televised games. “We started this event last year, but it is much bigger and farther reaching this year,” Denny says.
The rebranding of the floor coincided with a planned re-sanding of the court. The black aesthetic was achieved using a water-based stain. Everyone in the program is really happy about the outcome, Denny says, except for one minor detail. “The biggest challenge is keeping it fresh from scuff marks. That's nearly impossible, but we work hard to keep our facilities looking as sharp as we can. It's sort of like buying a black car, that first ding or scratch really stands out...at least to us.”