.

August 2, 2021 • Athletic AdministrationTechnology

4 Tips to Maximize Your Digital Scoreboard

Last summer, Coach & Athletic Director invited four athletic administrators to an on-demand webinar to discuss creative ways to raise funds amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, a year later, as we emerge from that tumultuous tunnel, it is still important to carry out the ideas we thought of in a post-pandemic world. 

And while grass-roots fundraising campaigns can be effective in the short term, in the grand scheme of things its shelf life of effectiveness is rather short. Utilizing the tools you have in-house or advocating for an upgrade of tools to boost the bottom line of your athletic budget can be an AD’s best course of action. 

Most schools have a scoreboard in their gymnasium and in their football stadiums or outside their baseball fields. Offering sponsorship opportunities to local, regional, and national businesses can bring in big funds in a quick way. Peter Goff, athletic director of DeKalb (IL) High School, spoke during that webinar about the effectiveness his school had in finding sponsorship dollars for the Barbs’ recent $300,000 worth of scoreboard renovations. 

Paid off within two years, DeKalb’s video scoreboards now project to bring in approximately $100,000 worth of athletic funding revenue, shared between the athletic department and the school’s athletic booster club. 

“All those uniforms you have to sell candy for, we don’t have to do that now. The booster clubs can then start giving the student-athletes’ teams the nice things, and I can take care of the things they have to have from the school district,” Goff said. “I think that’s where our return on investment is going to pay off.”

Below are some tips for maximizing the return on your digital scoreboard investment. 

  1. Make It Hard for Sponsors to Say No
    Put together a list of reasons why companies should buy sponsorships. Goff pointed to marketing studies that have found that 96 percent of consumers say they have a more positive image of a company if they sponsor local schools; 94 percent say they are more likely to trust that company, and 91 percent say they will switch brands from a competitor if they know another company is sponsoring local schools.

    Speak to the potential level of visibility of outside consumers visiting your stadium or gymnasium as well as how they are not only promoting their business but sportsmanship as well.

    Also, offer a variety of sponsorship packages to be able to accommodate businesses on a budget.

  2. Go Straight to the Source
    Often times vendors and suppliers provide services that can help find sponsorship opportunities. And while these services can help alleviate some of the duties, creating relationships with potential sponsors, in particular the local ones, is important. And, as Goff noted, by directly connecting with these companies you’re ensuring that the funds go directly back to the student-athletes’ account.

  3. Ask the Suppliers What They Want
    Speaking of building relationships, hold focus groups within the local business community about the best ways to be approached for advertising/sponsorship opportunities. Take their opinions into consideration. Foster a deeper connection with the community to see what they really need and want from the school, and how the two can partner together.

    That can help build new relationships and bolster your current ones.

  4. Stress Versatility to School Board

    The ability to market high school athletic events is a crucial part of a school’s fundraising efforts, but it isn’t the only part. Speak to other departments about ways they or their students can make use of a digital video scoreboard.

    “Now we have students who are already making warm-up videos, media classes can do bigger and better things, it can be utilized for other classes, and pep assemblies,” Goff said. “There’s no limit to what we can do and the avenues that are opening for not only student-athletes but students.”

All it takes is a little inclusivity and creative brainstorming.

To view our fundraising webinar and all other previous webinars, visit coachad.com/educational-webinars/.