Columbia packaging plant to make cardboard fans for stadiums

As athletes return to sports and play in their stadiums, a local packaging plant will help will the stadium with fans. 

Columbia, S.C. (WOLO) — As athletes return to sports and play in their stadiums, a local packaging plant will help will the stadium with fans.

“Sports are a unifier, for a lot of people,” said Barry Nelson, Managing Director for Sales, Marketing and Innovation with DS Smith.

As sports begin to return, the season will look different without fans in the stands. DS Smith in Columbia is working to change that, by making a ‘literal fanbase’ of carboard fans.

“The idea started in Europe, with our DS Smith in Europe, operations around futbol, soccer to us. So we took that concept and put it in an American framework here in North America,” said Nelson.

The cardboard fans can be made to fit stadium seats or benches and work in both indoor and outdoor venues.

“Our purpose is to redefine packaging in a changing world. And in today’s environment, the changing world part is front and center almost every single day,” said Nelson.

The fans can also rep the team’s colors.

“The product that we’ve come out with allows for teams to customize based on color, stripes of their team colors,” said Nelson.

At the Columbia plant, an entire stadium of fans can be made in just one shift.

“Our capability in Columbia, in an eight-hour shift, we can make about 50,000 cutouts,” said Nelson.

Stadiums can be full, as human fans watch from the safety of their homes.

“Teams need to make sure that they keep their players safe, and they need to make sure they keep the fans safe. And so what we wanted to do was make sure that we tried to replicate that environment and that atmosphere of a team game as best as possible,” said Nelson.

Once it’s safe for people to return, their cardboard stand-ins won’t end up in a landfill as they can be recycled.

“Anytime you’re able to help customers solve problems, and you can do that in a sustainable way, that’s a great feeling for our employees,” said Nelson.

Categories: Local News, News, State