By Robert Held
There is a lot more to the New Britain Bees mascot Sting than meets the eye. While fans might just see an oversized Bee costume, the story of how Sting came to be is actually quite interesting.
Sting was developed in just over two months. Bees management began developing Sting in mid-January and had their first product featuring him by March 14th.
The company who helped design Sting is Scollon Productions and is based out of South Carolina. Scollon has designed logos for many famous companies including Mattel, Nickelodeon, Coca-Cola and Cartoon Network.
“The company is world-renown. They designed the mascots for both Super Bowl teams this year, among their other work,” said Bees General Manager Patrick Day.
Scollon has also designed mascots for college teams such as Duke, North Carolina and Kansas. Besides the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers, Scollon has also made designs for major league teams such as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Detroit Lions, Dallas Cowboys, Houston Astros and Cleveland Cavaliers.
Two of the Bees owners Frank Boulton and Mike Pfaff were the main creative forces behind Sting. According to Scollon Productions president Ellery Locklear, both men were familiar with the benefits of having a mascot after working with one on their other Atlantic League team the Long Island Ducks.
While the Bees had already made a graphic design for Sting’s head, “We designed a body, arms, legs and submitted it. Frank Boulton is one of the most mascot-knowledgeable clients I’ve ever worked with.
“They had some comments on our original concept, which we incorporated into a revised design and then we went into production,” said Locklear.
After the first design Bees management seemed fairly happy with the look for Sting. According to Locklear, there were not a lot of resubmissions or redesigns done after the initial creation.
“We submitted fabric samples with our initial design, sent photos of the life-sized head sculpture and a couple other ‘work-in-progress’ images,” Locklear said. “We like to keep the client in the loop during the production process so that when they receive the costume, the only surprise is a good one.”
General Manager Day seems to be in agreement with Locklear.
“The Bees are more than pleased with the way the mascot turned out,” said Day.
It might be easy to know how Sting was created, but finding out who is operating the costume is a bit more difficult. The Bees like to keep that information anonymous.
“Sting as a mascot is just Sting, no matter who is in the costume. We purposely keep the performers identity concealed,“ said Bees radio broadcaster Chris Knoblach.
As far as popularity goes, Sting already appears to be a huge hit not only with young fans, but with adults as well.
“Sting is fan favorite already – he’s been embraced in the community even before the Bees’ played a game. Requests are through the roof, to the point where we can’t keep up! He’s got a great look, and a great persona, and has connected with kids and adults alike right away, “ said Knoblach. photos courtesy of New Britain Bees Facebook page and website