Amy Barnett has been in the oversized American flag rental business for six years, but when the NFL called and said it needed to use her big flags stadiums around the country this past Sunday, Barnett had a problem.
She didn't have enough flags. She had five field-length flags that are 150 feet by 300 feet and run from goalline to goalline with about 10 feet of room for people on the sidelines.
"We needed to build seven more flags," Barnett said, from her 50 Star Productions headquarters in Centerville, Utah.
The rush order went in to manufacturer Colonial Flag, also based in Utah, and although it takes a month to typically build one of the flags, which weighs 1,100 pounds and cost $50,000 each, the company was able to build seven for Barnett in 10 weeks.
Last year was a rental record for Barnett. She had flags at 74 events. This year, thanks to the anniversary of 9/11 (this past weekend she rented flags at 19 total events), she hopes to break the 100-event mark.
"It's really tough to predict how business is going to be because it's a really fickle industry," Barnett said. "We've definitely added some more football teams and some college groups."
For tonight's Monday Night Football matchup which features the New England Patriots at the Miami Dolphins, the Dolphins have rented a 75 foot by 120 foot flag from Barnett, which typically costs $4,500, and runs in between the 30-yard lines.
Barnett says the Dolphins get a discount because they use her flags for every home game.
The larger field-length flag costs $6,200 to rent, which includes shipping and three employees that Barnett contracts out. The field presentation usually requires 150 people to hold the flag up.
Carrying the flags to and from events has been made less tedious thanks to the fact that the flag breaks down into pieces, each stripe can be stored separately, or the newer flags divide into panels before being put into flag nylon bags.
"The flag really brings a unique feeling to the event," Barnett said. "It is, after all, a reminder why we even get to celebrate sports in this country."
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