Feature Article - October 2012
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Lighting the Way

Innovations & Applications of LED Scoreboards & Sports Field Lighting

By Kelli Anderson

Sponsorships Add Life—And Revenue

But whether fixed digital or video, both have the multifunction capability to generate revenue, a concept that is certainly nothing new. "Back when I first got into this, 120 years ago," said Corey Roy, athletic director with Neosho High School of Neosho, Mo., joking about his long-time OTJ experience, "you saw a lot of Coke and Pepsi on school boards when they would contract with you and sponsor the purchase of your scoreboard. Now schools have gone to more advertising—we have been able to sell sponsorship panels on our scoreboard that generate revenue, so that has been a benefit to us."

Video screens, in much the same way, provide advertising space as well, but in much larger quantities.

"Dwindling school budgets are affecting how they can fund scoreboard purchases," said Jeff Reeser, a national sales manager for a Des Moines, Iowa-based scoreboard manufacturer with years of experience in the industry, serving schools and professional athletic teams, alike. "Savvy school administrators are finding unique ways to fund their equipment through the purchase of video displays."

Old School

So, what's not to love about video screens? Well, for many, the price tag. Let's face it, even though the production costs of LED technology keep dropping, there are still those who simply are not able to sign on some of those dotted lines, no matter how appealing video screen flexibility and its visual siren-call may be. One possible option, however, for those who long for video and text displays, is to consider a system that is expandable if you cannot afford everything up front. It helps, however, when you have buy-in from groups willing to support the cause.

"One thing that's really critical when they're not inexpensive units at $20,000 (for municipal budgets, that's fairly expensive), is getting buy-in from all the interested groups who have a hand in the purchase of the design," said Tony Gowan, parks director with the City of Papillion, Neb. "In our case, we explored the possibility of video but the cost was so far out of our budget we decided against it, but because of the scoreboard design we chose, we have the ability to add a scrolling video board sometime in the future."

However, even for those for whom video screens (scrolling or otherwise) are simply not in the cards, there is still plenty of new LED fun to be had with fixed LED digital scoreboards.

What was old is new again in the recent introduction of the white LED light (in addition to the usual amber and red LED) that has created an upswing in nostalgic design options that hearken to the days of the old-school incandescent. For the newly purchased scoreboards in Fort Meyers, Fla., white LEDs played a significant role in their purchase choice.