School board discusses advertising on sports fields

NEW ULM — The District 88 Board of Education discussed placing advertising on sports fields at its October study session.

Thursday evening in the Washington Learning Center, the board looked at potential costs, revenues and complications of adding advertising to fences and scoreboards on the different fields.

“The whole reason to do this is to provide additional funding to keep up the fields and/or to improve the fields down the road,” Superintendent Jeff Bertrang said.

The school has no previous policies about advertising on fields because before the new high school the facilities it used were rented.

For fencing, Bertrang presented four options to the board, each for a sign measuring 4 feet by 8 feet.

The most expensive option is custom Alumicor panels, costing $460. The next is custom Dibond panels at $400.

Those two would be the longest lasting signs. However, because they are solid panels of material, they could damage the fence.

“We do not have a guarantee on our outfield fences that they would not push over the outfield posts,” Bertrang said. “If you put a whole bunch of these on the outfield fence, you now have a large sail with the wind hitting it.”

The other two options listed were vinyl banners at $180 a piece and vinyl mesh at $115 or $175 for a 5-foot-by-10-foot sign for the baseball field because the fence is farther out.

The banners would catch more wind than the mesh, but there would likely be cutouts to alleviate pressure, Bertrang said. But cutouts could make the advertising space less desirable.

The mesh would be the cheapest and easiest, but would last three years at most Bertrang said.

Mesh signs can be made in seven to 10 days, Bertrang said. In comparison, the Dibond and Alumicor signs would take two or three months depending on size.

For fence ads the school would be responsible for damaged signs and businesses would be locked in for three years.

A softball banner is anticipated to cost a business $500 per year and a baseball banner would be $600 per year, according to Bertrang.

It is a different story for the scoreboard advertising, which Bertrang expects to be more lucrative as fans will be checking the scoreboards more regularly than the fences.

To place advertisements on the scoreboard, the school would have to add a metal panel that have a vinyl panel placed over it.

The baseball and softball scoreboards would cost $4,500 together and the football scoreboard would cost $6,000, Bertrang said.

The reason for the cost difference is that the I-beams holding up the board have to be extended.

Where the football scoreboard sits now, adding a panel below it would place it close enough to the ground for someone to accidentally damage it. To put it on top would require extensions anyway.

For the baseball and softball fields, because the boards are next to a fence, they can just add the panels below them. Advertisers would be charged $2,500 per section for a five-year commitment.

The actual cost of advertising may change as the school gathers more information on the best way forward. The final proposal is expected to be made at the study session next month.

The next regular board meeting will be Thursday, Oct. 26, at 6 p.m. in the boardroom. The next study session will be Thursday, Nov. 2, at 5 p.m., in the boardroom.

Connor Cummiskey can be emailed at ccummiskey@nujournal.com.

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