Feature Article - July 2010
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A Cut Above

Scoreboard Innovations Becoming More Visual, Motivational

By Deborah L. Vence

Key Approaches to Finding the Right Scoreboard

Choosing the best scoreboard to fit your needs takes some research and good quality manufacturing.

J.M. Allain, president and CEO of a Norwalk, Conn.-based firm that designs, rents, sells, installs and services real-time programmable electronic information display systems, said the quality of manufacturing and the raw materials used to build boards are critical in ensuring that an institution's investment will last for many years.

"There are many companies in the marketplace that sell inexpensive boards that simply do not last or are not attractive," Allain said.

Allain said organizations should consider the following when picking out a scoreboard:

  • Insist on aluminum [because] it lasts longer. It stands up to the weather and is much lighter than other metals. "We, too, could use cheaper materials such as steel, but we know that they will not last," Allain said.
  • Use a proprietary multi-step waterproofing process to protect outdoor digits from the damaging effects of water and humidity. Without this, the digits can prematurely deteriorate.
  • Use the widest digits available to ensure excellent readability during day and night games.
  • Make sure the accent and trim are standard. "We never upcharge for making the front of a scoreboard organized and attractive to the eye," he said.
  • Always read the fine print on limited warranties to see if things like labor and shipping products back and forth to the manufacturer are excluded.

Meanwhile, Bethany Reeder, marketing manager for a Murray, Ky.-based scoreboard manufacturer, advised that schools and recreation facilities ask several key questions before choosing a scoreboard: Is there an existing scoreboard already installed? If the organization needs a newly installed unit, they first need to consider their budget to determine what size they need. Which sports will be played at the facility? Is a multi-sport board necessary? Which features and options are available?

And, Jeff Reeser, national sales manager for a Des Moines, Iowa-based scoreboard manufacturer, recommended a couple of other steps to take when choosing a scoreboard.

First, Reeser said that much of picking out a scoreboard is dependent on the outdoors, depending on the field size; as well as ensuring that you have readable digits and captions.

"You need to be able to make sure that you have the right size scoreboard and have digits that are readable. If you have too small of a scoreboard, it can get tough to read," he said.

"Basically," he added, "a common rule used by everyone, is that for each inch of digit height, you can see it from 50 feet. It comes down to that we will recommend the best option, and then we're going to work with [our customers] on their budget."

Second, Reeser said, pick the right sport.

"That being said, we understand that the fields are used for different things," he said. "A baseball field could be used for football in the fall. You have to consider a multi-purpose scoreboard, a change from this sport to that."