A $392,000 digital screen for the football field will help bring in advertising money for sports programs.
The board will be 45 feet high and rise 17 feet above the sunken field where students play football, soccer, lacrosse and track. The screen will be about 24 by 14 feet and can show play-by-play footage, commercials and other videos, including student-produced segments.
“It really adds to the atmosphere of all the events that are there,” said Debbi Kelly, president of the Laker Athletic Booster Club, the group paying for the board. “It just feels so dynamic, and you just feel so proud.”
Installing the high-tech scoreboard, which will be twice as tall as and much wider than the current model at Prior Lake-Savage’s Dan Patch Stadium, requires the city of Savage to amend its zoning code, since they previously had no scoreboard regulations.
The scoreboard was initially the football team’s idea. “They came to us and said, ‘We need some help here,’ ” she said. “It was a no-brainer.”
The club will take out a loan to pay for it, and the district will lease the space to them for a nominal fee. In five to seven years, the board will be paid off and donated to the district, she said.
The board will bring in between $60,000 and $80,000 a year, obtained through contracts with local sponsors. There are four $10,000 anchor spots for ads alongside the screen and four $6,000 founding spots below that, next to the actual scoreboard. That revenue will go to the booster club to defray the cost of athletics and activities, Kelly said.
All eight spots have already been purchased by local businesses. “We actually had to turn people away,” she said.
The old scoreboard will be moved to the field at Twin Oaks Middle School.
‘A continual issue’
The need for more revenue in high schools sports isn’t new, said Eric Rodine, activities director at Prior Lake High School. “It’s a continual issue with high school sports,” Rodine said. “The cost of running the sports goes up and the school district doesn’t necessarily have the wherewithal” to pay for everything.
Transportation, uniforms and equipment are among the biggest-ticket items, he said.
Without extra revenue, families have to raise funds or pay more in fees, Kelly said.
Rodine said the scoreboard not only benefits the kids financially, but will allow them to learn new skills. Students will operate the scoreboard and the digital display, and student-produced videos will play on screen.
Another benefit is the ability to show videos promoting other sports and activities, including sports with fewer spectators, such as cross country, he said.
Kelly said a giant screen will also be great to have at graduation.
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