We’ve seen video scoreboards in professional and Division I stadiums for years, but recently they’re making it into high school, D2 and D3 venues due to flexibility, capabilities and how the revenue from ads can make these boards fit into nearly any budget.
In this guide, we’ll walk through how you can afford to make these boards part of your facilities and how you can use them to bolster your budgets at a level most other fundraisers can’t touch.
One of the best parts about these boards is that they pay for themselves if proper planning is done. Most schools pay off the cost of the board within a couple years, and then they’re able to profit in big ways that have an impact on the athletic budget.
We’ve gathered information from three different schools with LED video scoreboards about how they got a return on their investment — and turned a profit — by strategically partnering with local businesses and planning how to effectively use the nearly limitless ad space on the board. All of these schools are able to use LED video scoreboards not only for advertiser revenue, but also to keep fans engaged, give students real experience with production and host more sponsorships than banners on a fence could ever allow.
MAKE A PLAN
Planning is key, and before any athletic director approaches the school board about a major purchase like an LED video scoreboard, it’s important to figure out exactly what you will do to earn the cost of the board. Knowing when you plan to pay back the board’s investment is a key step in ensuring you can get approval for the expenditure.
HOW TO PLAN FOR SUCCESS WITH YOUR LED VIDEO SCOREBOARD
1. Get coach buy-in.
This one sounds simple, but it’s extremely important. All coaches whose sports will use this board need to be excited about the capabilities. Whether you “sell” them on the board via the ability to feature athletes or boost the sport’s budget, it’s important that they want to see their sport using the board. The more sports that can benefit from it, the easier it will be to sell the idea to your school board.
2. Plan the position for maximum visibility.
For an outdoor board, consider any vantage points that might be possible to use where a board could both face a stadium and face a major road. Not every school will be able to use the back of the board as an additional static billboard, but if it is possible to do so, it will significantly increase the ad revenue that a school can get simply because the back of the board is also visible. If the front of the board is visible in a high-traffic area, then it can be used 24/7 for digital ads. Otherwise, if it can face the school parking lot, it can serve the purpose of sharing information with the student body as well as being a focal point during games and other events.
3. Make your teams accountable.
One school we talked to has each team responsible for a certain amount of ad revenue each year. Anything they sell above that, they get to keep for tournament entries, travel costs, jerseys or any other budgetary item that the team needs. For the sports that can’t use the board during games – such as tennis, baseball and softball – they can sell ads that run at other times in the day or during events in order to raise money for their sports.
4. Get a point person.
It’s important that the person handling the advertising has enough time to do so. This means that you might have a teacher or assistant principal who works partially as a teacher and has dedicated hours for meeting with potential advertisers and ensuring the board is ready to go at games. Many schools are able to have students handle the production part of setting up the boards, whether through a club or a class that works with video broadcasting. If those students are experienced, then they can handle video production and potentially shoot video commercials for advertisers. Paired with the point person, this combination makes for an easy time selling video ads and getting the boards ready for live events and games.
5. Understand the ads’ value.
Advertisers are willing to spend more for video ads because they catch more attention than the traditional banner. To see how much an advertiser or partner might pay, talk to a few companies or individuals who always advertise with a banner and see how much they would be willing to pay for a video ad. Throw in the free video production from students, and that value could go up even more. One school we talked to sells these digital or video ads for a minimum of $2,500 each and has many ads and sponsors used per game.
6. Build relationships in community.
Once an ad is sold, nurture the relationship between the point person handling advertising and the sponsor. Stop into their business, see if they have new promotions they want to run and ensure they know you’re thinking of them and appreciate them.
7. Use it for senior night, movie night, upcoming events list and other events.
These video boards should be used as often as possible. Whether there is a senior night, movie night or tournament planned, create special ads that can be used for each new event that can use the board.
ABOUT FORMETCO LED SCOREBOARDS
Formetco’s Sports division makes LED video scoreboards that give schools limitless opportunities to fund sports. As “home of the better LED videoboard,” Formetco’s boards set themselves apart in several categories:
Better Performance with bright, energy-efficient boards.
Warranty for Longevity, with 10 years on parts and 10 years on brightness for all FTX models.
Service for peace of mind: Formetco service is available every day of the year with 24/7 live diagnostics FTX models.
Getting the correct size, pixel pitch and Aspect ratio for your facility with expert consultations, design, manufacturing work, installation, and service.
Price that fits your budget and assistance figuring out the best way to use the ads to turn a profit on your purchase.
Company Reputation and Staying Power.
Avoid annual software costs: use their simple yet dynamic and powerful software to turn your board into a feast for the eyes and a boon for the budget.
Product offerings for indoors and outdoors, as well as audio and control rooms.
Here’s what the schools we talked to had to say about their experience with Formetco boards:
THE FORMETCO EXPERIENCE
“Now that we have realized the power of this tool, we are trying to multiple it,” said Gordon Hunter, director of development at Calvary Day School.
“We have only done this for two full years. We’re looking to do this more. But one of the best things we do is promote our kids with it. They get to do their own introductions before games, show indoor sports highlights. (It’s a) great to promote the kids and make the money,” said Greg King, athletic director at Sterling High School in Sterling, Illinois.
Creekview High School in Canton, Georgia, was able to put their board along a busy road with static ads visible to traffic. “When that board was going in the air, people started calling me, asking what was going on, how you are doing it, and how they can get on it. This drove up prices. The demand, to be quite honest, was greater than the supply,” said Mike Nayman, assistant principal at Creekview. “Now, the future is bright for all of our sports, for our school; we can generate revenue, plus control costs and price points,” Nayman continued.