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Meet the man behind giant March Madness bracket on downtown Indy hotel

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — When the 2021 NCAA bracket on the side of the JW Marriott downtown is complete, it will be the largest in the world.

It will also be the city’s first live bracket.

Frank Hancock is the man responsible for making and getting the sign up on the building.

Hancock is a lifelong Hoosier and a Ball State University graduate who left his commercial printing job to launch Sport Graphics in 1986.

Present day, his work can be seen at Pacers and Colts games and other parts of Indianapolis. The NCAA is also on his client list, a partnership Hancock said began as soon as headquarters moved to Indianapolis in 2000.

Perhaps his most impressive project, the 190-foot bracket being added to the side of the JW Marriott. According to Hancock, this year’s is the best yet.

“We’re going up the next day after games are played and put up the winners, so it’s going to be an actual living, breathing bracket as opposed to five years ago where we just changed it after the weekend games are played,” Hancock said.

The 2015 bracket he is referring to still holds the Guinness World Record for size. In 2021, it will be about 25 feet bigger.

Just how do they get the sign to stick on the side of the building? Hancock said it’s similar to jobs people do everyday.

“The JW, realistically, is just like putting up wallpaper in your house,” he said.

Except it takes about 10 people and 800 rolls to make the entire thing.

“The key there is you got to make sure you’re putting number two up after you put number one up or you’re gonna have a real mess,” Hancock joked.

A tournament sign for Indianapolis International Airport and a few others for different spots downtown are also in the works.

Hancock, who also put the “Back Downtown” sign on the JW Marriott, said the bracket assembly is symbolic. “You know we’re taking back downtown and we’re putting an event up which means were back downtown,” he said.

Hancock said he can’t take all the credit for the bracket, it starts with a design company called Section 127, a business also located in Indianapolis.

Something else new this year, the winning team’s logo will be added to the building.

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