Feature Article - October 2011
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Center Stage

The Latest in Scoreboards & Sports Lighting

By Deborah L. Vence

"Ironically, the single biggest trend we're seeing in scoreboard technology advancement is related directly to LED technology."

J.M. Allain

Key Steps to Selecting a Scoreboard

Lean on somebody with knowledge.
"The best first step is using exclusive dealers around the country, and normally to go through an exclusive dealer network," Reeser said.

Closely examine your needs.
"This economy has been a challenging economy for everyone, regardless of anyone's role and position," Hatton said.

"But, what we're finding is that those who are responsible for facilities really need to look and closely examine what their needs are. What sports are going to be played in the facility? What are their needs going forward into the future?" Hatton said. "How do they see things changing, and most important, are they making the decision that will enable them to sustain the equipment? A scoreboard is an investment. It's not the thing to be purchased every year or every couple of years. You want to get a quality product that reflects the quality of the facility.

"There are high-quality companies, and there are mid-range companies and lower-quality companies. When you buy a scoreboard, you are creating an anchor for the facility. I believe that second to the game itself, the scoreboard will have more eyes on it than anything else."

"Also, ask yourself, 'What product do you want to reflect your facility?' To me the real questions for a facility and facility directors are 'what do you want, what product do you want to reflect your facility that has invested in it?'" Hatton said.

Do your research. Be informed.
"Most times, people choose quality. But, part of [choosing a scoreboard] is being informed. Research, would be the first thing, talking to your peers and colleagues about what types of experiences they have had," Hatton said. "Are you able to work with someone who can provide local sales support, meaning … is there a salesperson who can come into your facility and share their knowledge and expertise in the industry, or is it going to a Web site and typing in some information?

"To me," she added, "there is power in having a local representative come into your facility and really look and say, 'I see what your needs are.'"

Ask for help from consultants.
"There are a lot of good consultants out there that can really help community organizations hone down not only what vendor to choose, but the type of technology," Allain said. "A lot of times, we've become fortunate as that there has been tremendous consolidation in this industry, and after consolidation, we're standing tall."

Eco-Friendly Technology

Certainly, many companies continue to make strides in being more environmentally conscious. The same can be said for those in the scoreboard business.

"Environmental friendliness is near and dear to our heart," Allain said.

"Six or seven months ago, we created a new company, an LED lighting company that has seen some very significant success. Our sustainability and our energy efforts, again, are working in a very synergistic way with our other divisions," he said. "It's allowing us to look at things like purely solar-driven scoreboards, and things along that line. We have some neat things that we will be introducing in the next year that are based on sustainability."

He added, "There's not a doubt that in the public sector, schools and in communities across the country, the bottom line always returns to the issues of environmentally-friendly products, and we are committed to building out their parks."