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State of the Art

How one brand created an innovative way to bring the game to you

By Deanna Pai

State of the Art

By Deanna Pai

Anyone who’s ever shown up to a stadium or course to watch a game knows that it’s far better than watching it on TV. The adrenaline is palpable, the air smells like beer, the cheers could give you hearing loss—and it’s all completely worth it.

Ballpark Blueprints is an homage to that experience. The company creates wall art featuring original architectural prints of beloved sports venues, arenas, and courses. Think of it as a jersey or giant foam finger… but 10 times more sophisticated.

While you can find the usual suspects—like Wrigley Field and Madison Square Garden—in the Ballpark Blueprints lineup, the advantage of being a smaller startup is the sky’s the limit. “[We cover] the big-name, high-profile, bucket-list venues that are sure to sell well,” says Thomas Young, the brand’s creative director. “But after that, it’s a blank canvas.”

In many cases, the company chooses new spots based on demand. “If we get several requests for a particular venue—even if it’s not a well-known place—we try to get that out, because I feel those die-hard fans have earned it,” Young explains.

With golf in particular, Young is a fan of small, quirky courses that are true to the game’s origins, rather than exclusive, high-end courses that boast next-generation golf carts and require a set of fingerprints and the blood of your firstborn for entry. For that reason, “places like Goat Hill Park in Oceanside, or Lion’s Municipal in Austin, or the otherworldly cool Sweetens Cove in Tennessee were absolute must-haves in our golf line,” Young says.

Creating the artwork isn’t as simple as requesting a map from the venue. The prints are custom drawn, so the design is either done in person at the chosen venue or in close capacity with the venue’s management team. Designing is a rigorous process that can take up to 20 hours for a single venue. In fact, “our designs generally go through anywhere between 20 and 50 revisions during the process,” says Young, who created a list of 48 checkpoints that each design has to meet before it’s printed.

Sound intense? That’s the point. “Our prints are ultimately art, so a lot of thought is put into making an aesthetically pleasing design that would look at place in a den or office,” he explains.

While most of the bestsellers won’t come as a surprise—Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium for baseball; St. Andrews Old Course, Bandon Dunes, and Pebble Beach for golf—some of the most successful prints are those that have a passionate fanbase. “Brough Creek National, a homemade seven-hole golf course built literally in some guy’s backyard in Kansas City, is one of our best-selling golf prints,” Young says. It’s a well-deserved nod to diehard fans who might not have the time or means to make it to all their dream courses.

So don’t sweat it: Ballpark Blueprints can bring the game to you, wherever you are.