Oxford football fans attending the first home game of the 2017 season Friday night got their first look at the stadium’s new LED video display scoreboard located on the south end of the field.
The school district spent $309,000 (including installation) on the digital scoreboard, purchased from Daktronics, a company based in Brookings, South Dakota, according to Sam Barna, assistant superintendent of business and operations.
Daktronics provides products for all four of Detroit’s professional sports teams – the Lions, Tigers, Pistons and Red Wings.
Oxford stadium’s new scoreboard, which is 29 feet, 8 inches high and 27 feet wide, won’t be lit up for just football games. It will also be used for lacrosse, soccer and track.
It’s one of five new scoreboards that cost the district a total of $367,721 (including installation). Together, they will serve 10 sports.
“As a district, we replaced all the boards to get (the) best pricing,” said Matt Johnson, the district’s director of communications and marketing.
To help offset this cost, three community sponsors stepped up and contributed a combined $200,000.
Oxford Bank donated $150,000, McLaren Oakland kicked in $25,000 and Jim Riehl Friendly Automotive Group agreed to donate $5,000 annually for five years. Sponsor names are prominently displayed above and below the LED screen.
“As a district, we saw this as an opportunity to make a purchase that would have never been affordable without the support of local partners,” Johnson said.
All three sponsors were recognized during halftime as representatives from each organization presented oversized, ceremonial checks to Superintendent Tim Throne.
“It’s amazing the commitment that these local businesses have to the Oxford community and the kids. We can’t thank them enough to their contributions,” said Athletic Director Jordan Ackerman.
The school district plans to use the new scoreboards to sell advertising space to local businesses.
“We have made the purchase with matching funds knowing that we can generate potential revenue as we build relationships with more local businesses and increase our advertising,” Johnson said. “Potentially, six to eight more sponsors could replace the investment dollars (from the district budget), and then (any) additional advertisement would be new revenue.”
“It’s definitely going to be a revenue stream for us,” Ackerman said. “It will allow us to keep our athletes playing sports for free as well as put more money in the classrooms. It’s a great opportunity for everyone.”
It was 10 years ago that the board of education voted 7-0 to eliminate the pay-to-play fees for middle school and high school athletes.
Johnson said the new LED screen will be a teaching tool for OHS students as they will have the opportunity to use the video and graphic design skills they’re learning in the classroom to create content for it.
Johnson is working with Oxford Community Television (OCTV) – the public, educational and governmental (PEG) television station that films and broadcasts all OHS sporting events – to provide replay footage on the digital scoreboard for fans to view and enjoy.
“Our goal for our next home game is to hook up all of OCTV’s camera equipment and let it feed through the system,” he said.
In addition to the stadium, the district has two new scoreboards (one of which includes an LED video display) inside the high school gym. It will be used for basketball, wrestling, volleyball and competitive cheerleading. They cost a total of $42,726 (including installation), according to Barna.
Two new scoreboards were purchased for baseball and softball as well. They cost a total of $15,995 (including installation), Barna said.