BOE OKs Board

ST. MARYS — Spectators who attend games at the gymnasium in Memorial High School will soon see a new, 80-inch video board showing ads from local and regional advertisers.

Members of the St. Marys Board of Education Wednesday night approved a measure to enter into a contract with Slam Dunk Sports Marketing for a video board that will hang inside the gym. During the special board meeting, Athletic Director Doug Spencer briefed board members on how the idea for the video board surfaced. The athletic director said he was spurred to search for possible projects after a local business contacted him with a request to be involved in either a basketball or football project.

“I haven’t been able to find that perfect project,” Spencer said, noting his first notion was to have the business purchase new scorer’s tables for the gym, which would then allow the current table to be used to scroll ads. “About that same time I got a cold-call e-mail from Slam Dunk about the video monitor.”

The monitors are capable of displaying a slew of information ranging from advertisements to starting lineups and graduation photos. Slam Dunk Marketing Director Paul Jared noted the firm has more than 200 schools signed up for its services.

There is no cost or risk to the school for housing the video board. Slam Dunk will maintain the equipment as long as the district has a contract with the firm and there also are no up-front costs associated with the board.

“What we do is we provide the product to the school,” Jared said. “We’ll go out and solicit sponsors, bring in regional sponsors and bring in money outside the district.”

All ads are uploaded via the Internet and can be changed rather quickly. Jared said individual advertisements can be changed to coincide with any weekly or daily specials.

“The sponsors like it because they can change their artwork any time,” Jared said.

“We’ve been doing this for about 12 years.”

Once a contract is inked, Slam Dunk receives all revenue from advertising up to $18,000. When that threshold is reached, the district and Slam Dunk split the revenue on a 50/50 basis. The firm also will be responsible for securing advertisers and will handle all billing and collections.

“Anything you can put on a computer, you can put on the video display,” Jared said. “We give you all the capability. We rotate the ads every 15 seconds.”

Jared said there are different templates that can be uploaded that could include a 30-second commercial between the ads.

“We’ve tried to keep it simple so everyone can operate it,” Jared said. “We have a lot of schools where the kids operate it during the ball games.”

The life expectancy of a unit is 10 to 15 years. Slam Dunk will take care of all the service as long as a contract is active. Plexiglass covers the unit and it features a 3-inch set back.

“This thing will take a basketball, it will take a volleyball,” Jared said. “We know because we threw things at it.”

Jared said he believed he could reach the $18,000 threshold in 90 to 120 days. In the first year, Jared estimated the video board could generate $20,000 to $30,000.

“Not only would you get the unit, but you’d also get some revenue,” Jared said. “We have incentive to keep selling sponsors. We renew the sponsors.”

The typical cost of a half-screen ad is two years for $650, three years for $850 or five years for $1,150. The cost of full-screen ads run two years for $1,200, three years for $1,500 and five years for $2,000.

Spencer said with the board could go live as early as Jan. 1. He noted the cost to the district would be approximately $500 for wiring and other supplies in order to provide a hook-up for the board. Slam Dunk personnel would install the video board.