Scoreboard provides financial boost

Lighting it up: Kelly Sports Properties raised funds to upgrade the RBHS football field with a new scoreboard, which provides local businesses with new options for advertising. Photo by Muhammad Al-Rawi

Lighting it up: Kelly Sports Properties raised funds to upgrade the RBHS football field with a new scoreboard, which provides local businesses with new options for advertising. Photo by Muhammad Al-Rawi

Alyssa Sykuta

Lighting it up: Kelly Sports Properties raised funds to upgrade the RBHS football field with a new scoreboard, which provides local businesses with new options for advertising. Photo by Muhammad Al-Rawi
After one year of planning, new scoreboards stand on the football fields of both RBHS and HHS thanks to a district partnership with Kelly Sports Properties. The scoreboard made its debut on Sept. 9 at the home football game against Hazelwood Central.

RBHS athletic director Jen Mast said the school district approved a four-year contract with Kelly Sports Properties in June 2010.
The scoreboards, which possesses live-video and message capabilities that will take effect later in the year with more technological advances, were only the beginning products of the deal.
“The first goal was to get these scoreboards up because they are revenue-generators,” Mast said, “not because we needed a video scoreboard. You can sell ads on scoreboards so … that was [KSP’s] first big project to get done.”
In the next five years, the program known as ‘Make It Happen’ will generate $1.5 million for the Columbia Public Schools athletic and activities department. With the help of Kelly Sports Properties, the district achieved this incredible amount of revenue through a process mainly used with sports marketing in college divisions.
“This is an idea of Kelly Sports Properties that’s basically modeled after a college athletic idea,” Mast said. “It’s the concept of bundling smaller schools for sports marketing. Large Division I universities like the University of Missouri have their own sports marketing because they are large enough to support such a thing. Smaller schools … like Truman State couldn’t have [their] own marketing company. But Truman State’s conference — their Division II conference (MIAA) — if you put all those schools together, they have a marketing draw. So that’s what Kelly Sports Properties does on a college level, and they thought that would probably work well with Columbia Public Schools.”
The ‘Make It Happen’ plan involves cooperation from several local businesses who pledge $20,000 per year to CPS, adding to the revenue that will eventually be generated to the school as well adding funds to Kelly Sports.
District athletic director Bruce Whitesides said, in addition to the 10 title donors, a contract with Coca-Cola provides $45,000 each year and another contract with Adidas brings in $20,000 in apparel for the first two years, after which it bumps up to $32,000. At that point Kelly Sports Properties receives a slice of the pie.
“We send [each local business] an invoice for $20,000,” Whitesides said, “and then KSP takes a 30 percent residual unless they get to a certain threshold. If they earn us $600,000 over one million … then it drops down to 20 percent. If they go over two million, then it drops down to 15 percent residual.”
Besides the scoreboards, many proposals are in the works. Whitesides said these plans incorporate new uniforms for sports teams, general facility upgrades including new lights for RBHS and a softball field for Hickman. Overall, Whitesides expects the deal to be beneficial.
“It’s generating revenue that we didn’t have before … collectively or the district,” Whitesides said. “Before — I’m not saying that some … booster clubs didn’t do a great job, that parent groups didn’t do a great job — but collectively, as an entire district, it’s helping out.”