Behind the scenes of taking down massive Super Bowl LVII signs on Phoenix buildings

Over the last week, the city of Phoenix has changed dramatically as the banners, posters and signs for Super Bowl LVII have been quickly cleared out.

We're getting a unique behind-the-scenes look at what goes into to this massive tear down. Nearly every skyscraper was covered in stories-tall adhesive signs.

Blue Media, a Tempe company, was behind not just printing them, but also adhering them to the buildings. We got a chance to send our cameras up with their teams on the lift as they worked feverishly to tear them all down in a week.

As you might think, it's no easy task.

The building we got the up close look at was the Burton Barr Library which donned a 16,000 square foot vinyl tarp. It's a different material than what's on most of the skyscrapers because adhesives wouldn't stick to the building.

Crews needed to come up with a new solution to get the huge banner up, but would also be easier to tear down. 

"Buildings aren't just meant to have building graphics on them. So once a building face has been identified, the team has to go in and meet with the building engineers, meet with key stakeholders, go on the roof. Are there points for swing stages to repel in some areas? A lot of pieces go into making that graphic look as good as possible," R.J. Orr with Blue Media explained.

Orr says the sign on the library was tricky.

"This is actually an 8 ounce mesh vinyl banner because underneath that is a corrugated surface that wouldn't accept an adhesive back vinyl, so our planning phases for this graphic, we figured out this would be best for this application."

The banner hangs from the top attached to custom brackets and then is screwed in using the building's existing siding screws. 

But now, step-by-step, a lift operator worked to position the team to undo every screw while battling the windy conditions. In the middle, the banner is sliced into sections. As it's unscrewed, the workers gather it into the lift, head down, and start again.

"We've done all the Super Bowls since '49. All the way down to Miami in Florida and last year in Los Angeles," Orr said. "This is a bit of a home game for us."

As for the graphics all over State Farm Stadium? That was a record undertaking.

"Over 50,000 square feet of material. It was our largest stadium exterior graphic to date," Orr said. "This was probably our biggest total collective Super Bowl lift that we've done in the 9 super bowls we've had.

Where does all the material and signage go?

Within hours of take-downs, Terry Gellenbeck with Keep Phoenix Beautiful received a delivery.

"It's one of the few events and organizations that really thinks about it at the end. When its over, putting it together, making it pretty, but what happens to all that material when it's done?" Gellenbeck said.

Keep Phoenix Beautiful received vinyl signs to repurpose after the 2015 Super Bowl in Arizona. Back then, no one really knew what to do with them.

"We use it to cover the gardens and the vegetables," he says.

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This time, word spread and Gellenbeck says over 200 organizations across Arizona asked for some. This means none will go to the landfill.

"We had more stuff than before. There wasn't as many groups working together, so NFL Green has got much, much better with that," he said.

As Gellenbeck and all the other nonprofits put them to good use, Blue Media is setting the stage for their next event.

"We are already starting to work on NFL Draft in Kansas City, Missouri and then over the same time we do the F-1 race in Miami. Those are immediately after that and, oh yeah, bookended in between, there is a NASCAR race out here in the west Valley. A lot we do is right on the heels of the Super Bowl," Orr said.

Just a matter of days, Phoenix's skyline is back to normal – but the signs for the game will remain – you just have to look a little harder for them now.

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