International Traditions in Signage for the Big Game

by Christina Krenek

One of the most tried-and-true traditions in sports is the spectator sign. Fans of all ages spend time crafting the perfect sporting event signs and messages to catch the attention of fellow fans, athletes and television cameras. And there is no bigger stage in America for sporting event signs than the Super Bowl, when more than 100 million viewers at home tune in to catch the big game. But as the Super Bowl becomes a bigger spectacle every year, Super Bowl signage is more and more dominated by corporate sponsors.

Signs for sports
Photo credit: Matthew Emmons, USA Today Sports

If you can’t get into the Super Bowl, maybe you’ll have a better shot at one of these prestigious sporting events overseas. Whether it’s the Olympics, the FIFA World Cup or Formula One racing, signs for sports are popular worldwide. Here are some signage traditions from around the globe.

Monaco Grand Prix

Sport signs
Photo credit: Pinterest

The Monaco Grand Prix, a Formula One auto race held annually in the streets of Monaco, is one of the most important races in the world. Its combination of tradition, a luxurious location and world-class competition draws the biggest racing fans from across the continents. Racing fans are known for their passion and many display that passion through collectibles. Monaco Grand Prix posters and signs are popular ways to commemorate specific races, and many of them become quite valuable.

The Olympic Games

Sporting event signs   Sporting event signage
Photo credit: designboom

 The 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil are expecting 10,500 athletes from 206 countries. With national pride at stake, flags are a popular choice for signage. But it might be the wayfinding signage that is the most valuable. The Games often take over an entire city and its surrounding areas, which makes it a logistical nightmare waiting to happen. That’s why organizers invest in a wayfinding strategy to help fans get to the right sporting venue. Digital signs and large billboards make it easier for messages and directions to reach fans from all angles.

FIFA World Cup

Sport sign
Photo credit: Getty Images

Perhaps no sporting event stirs national pride like FIFA’s World Cup, a soccer (or football) tournament held every four years. Soccer is the world’s most popular sport, and the World Cup is the ultimate prize for the athletes and fans that live and die with each goal. The spectacle of the event is sometimes more fascinating than the games, and that includes these massive flags. The Brazilian fans are most known for their flags that cover several rows of fans and sometimes take the shape of a player’s jersey. The flags must be working because Brazil has won more World Cups than any other nation.

The Open Championship

Signs for sporting events
Photo credit: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

The Open Championship, also known as the British Open, is one of professional golf’s four major tournaments. It is the oldest championship in golf and is held annually in the U.K. The tournament is known for its strict etiquette and historic courses. It’s also home to the most iconic leaderboard in golf. The yellow board sits atop the 18th hole grandstand and welcomes golfers as they seal their tournament fate.

Signs for sports are a tradition that reaches all levels of competition. Some are works of art. Others are purely functional, but most are simply fun displays of team spirit. Have you seen any creative or impressive signs at a sporting event? Share them with us by posting to our Facebook and Pinterest pages.


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