Feature Article - July 2010
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A Cut Above

Scoreboard Innovations Becoming More Visual, Motivational

By Deborah L. Vence

Motivational Records

When high school athletes break their own record or another competitor's record in swimming, track and field, or any other sport for that matter, it's nice to be able to display those feats for others to see.

That's where motivational scoreboards come into play. Motivational scoreboards are becoming more and more popular in high schools and colleges to help inspire young athletes, said Renee Frazho, owner of a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based record board company.

"If an athlete breaks a record, their score stays up there. If they do break records, whether it's a club or school or anything, recruiters are looking at the time," she said.

"What I've been finding is that with motivational record boards, basically, if an athlete breaks a record in weight-lifting or in basketball, their score stays up there. What we have been doing is customizing them. They want to have, for instance, room to grow somewhere along the line," Frazho said.

Over the years, Frazho's firm has developed a number of standard cost-effective board designs that provide room for easy-to-read characters. The designs can be modified to meet the customer's needs, whether it is adding an event row or column, adding a sponsor line or changing the order of events.

Information on motivational scoreboards includes the athlete's name, age and record. Frazho's company offers record boards to colleges, high schools and clubs across the country. The record boards are designed to enhance the appearance of natatoriums, weight rooms, fields and gyms, while the front loading record board system offers the convenience, look and quality needed to record events.

For example, the record board's front-loading framing system is designed to separate each event and record insert, which makes for easy removal of inserts to update individual records. In other words, rather than having to change letters by climbing up a ladder, records can be updated in the comfort of your office.

And while these motivational scoreboards are being used at schools during major competitions, they also are being used in smaller settings, such as in school weight rooms for boys and girls to see how well they're bench pressing, for example, and to keep them inspired.

"That's motivating to the rest of the athletes," Frazho said. "This helps football teams a lot. They have the year, name of the athlete, [how many pounds were bench pressed] and the weight category."

The cost for such record boards can be as high as $1,800 or more, depending on the size. The average is around $1,200 and up. Extra panels are included to change from year to year, are suitable for indoors and outdoors and can withstand moisture.

And, for customers that don't have the money to revamp their scoreboards, Frazho said that, in that case, she always tries to work within her clients' budgets.

"I say, 'tell me what you can do.' And [the customers might say] we can do this. We only have $2,000," she said. "[In that case], I can make the [scoreboards] smaller or narrower [and modify them to fit their budget]."