It's been more than a year in the making, but the TISD board of trustees has finally given the green light to move forward on a new video scoreboard at Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium. The board tabled the issue at its regularly scheduled meeting two weeks ago, saying they needed more time to analyze the proposal.
Daktronics Sports Marketing, in conjunction with Titus Sports Marketing has agreed to give the video scoreboard to TISD in exchange for advertising rights for 10 years. It's that advertising that will pay for the project, thus requiring no taxpayer dollars. But with a total price tag of $951,500, a lot of advertising signage is needed. Thus, the sports marketing firms want to install a second scoreboard at Trinity Mother Frances, a scoreboard at Mike Carter Field, concession and wayward signs at both stadiums, as well as three marquees, ideally one each at TISD Robert E. Lee high school, John Tyler high school and the TISD administration building. Each structure would contain space for advertising. $168,030 per year in advertising is needed to make the project work, and at least 75% of the first year needs to be pledged before construction can begin. With a 90 to 120 day construction window, a decision needed to be made quickly if the project was going to be completed by the start of the football season. It took two weeks of thought, but the board finally agreed to allow the sports marketing firms to proceed with their search for advertisers.
"It's a process to be comfortable knowing that your campuses now are going to be places of advertisement for businesses," Bergfeld said. "But, if you look, anywhere you go, or anything you watch on TV, advertising is a big part of our society right now, so I think as long as we have control over it, make sure it's not a bad influence in anyway on the kids, then it's going to be part of life. I think the whole board was very informed. I think we're all ready to see this happen."
Whether or not it happens by the fall depends on the reception the sports marketing firms get from area businesses.
"We are going to go out for the next 30 to 45 days and start working on this," Stephenson said. "If we feel good enough that we've made enough progress and enough commitments, then I think we'll start working ahead, still allow us to keep marketing and sales all the way through August and all the way through the season. If it's a little slower then we anticipated, then we'll be more realistic and talk about 2008-2009."
Despite reservations over advertising on school campuses, the board felt it was too good of an opportunity to pass up. The existing scoreboards at Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium and Mike Carter Field desparately need to be replaced.
"We've been trying to be competitive on Rose Stadium being a destination for playoff games, for our football classic," Bergfeld said. "Other towns and other districts are starting to do this kind of thing, so it's important for us to stay on the edge of this."
"I think we have the nicest stadium East of I-45, I tell everyone," said TISD athletic director Danny Long, "two of the best high school football programs in the state, and I think that it's appropriate that we have a scoreboard that's fitting for our stadium."