These characters are most often built for a team wishing to obtain sponsorship for their games. They can be purchased by the team who then ‘rents’ the mascots out to a sponsor, or by the sponsor who participates in the game activities for a fee. These characters almost always represent a commodity of some sort, such as a hotdog, chip bag, cookies, deodorant, chocolate bar, toothpaste, can of pop, etc.
Usually constructed from collapsible foam, they are made for racing or bumping into each other in ‘rumbles’ between game breaks. They must be durable, as they are often worn by fans or interns, and will work best if the branding or commodity is immediately recognizable from the stands. In either case, there are many considerations. Generally, sponsor-running mascots do not require any extra pieces such as feet, hands or leggings as they are usually used during the game for quick races or skits.
The first thing to determine is the mascot’s purpose. Branding a product? Fan contests? Think about who will wear the mascot. Will it always be a staff member, or a lucky fan? Would you want to expose the fan’s face? It’s pretty funny to see Uncle Jim up on the Jumbotron dressed up as a slice of bacon!
The inside of these shapes is constructed of soft foam, in case someone falls while running or rumbling. Not only will this provide a little cushioning to the runner, but it will also preserve the integrity of the mascot shape. In some cases, you may choose to have the outside material removable for machine washing or a sponsor change. Care must be taken to avoid shrinkage. Other characters without removable coverings must be spot cleaned, or cleaned using a hand held gentle wet-vac as needed.
Size & Perspective
To determine size, take a human silhouette and place it over the image of your mascot design. While keeping the ratio of the silhouette constant you can enlarge or shrink it to fit in your sketch. Now considering this to be a person around 5’8” or 5’10” you can imagine what the height of your overall shape will be when complete.
The depth of a character will influence whether a performer is centered within a costume, or close to the front. This can affect vision placement, and whether or not the performer’s face will be visible, or should be hidden behind a screen.
The width (and occasionally depth) of a character can influence armhole placement. You will not get full-length arms out of the side of a mascot that has a diameter of 55” – they would more logically be placed toward the front of the character, which is a more natural position for the performer. Even with such positioning, you most likely will only see partial arms and hands on a large character. However, you may find that your sponsor mascot won’t need exposed arms at all!
Removable & Non-Removable Branding
Where will you place cresting or corporate identification? Keep in mind that too much branding detracts from the character. However, a sponsor will want to know that their branding can be seen from the stands.
Sports teams often request racing mascots that have removable logos, but we’ve found the best way to incorporate a change in sponsor is to provide a removable cover. Just send us your new sponsor logo and we’ll create a new cover and send it along!