Leander ISD's football stadiums could be getting an eye-popping upgrade soon.
The board of trustees is currently reviewing a plan to add LED video screens at the district's three football stadiums. The move would provide a visual showcase at the games as well as giving the district the opportunity to increase revenue by selling advertising on the video screens.
The proposal, presented to the board of trustees at the Jan. 4 meeting, calls for installing a big screen video board at A.C. Bible Stadium on the Leander High School campus first. Screens at John W. Gupton and Ed W. Monroe stadiums would follow over the course of three years.
The idea is to utilize the boards as an educational opportunity for broadcast students, as well as increase advertising revenue for the district, according to the presentation made to the trustees.
“One of the coolest things about an outdoor display if the board allows us to move forward is the opportunity to incorporate students,” said district spokesperson Corey Ryan.
The video boards under consideration would be 55 feet tall and 36 feet wide with LED screens measuring 21 feet tall and covering the full 36-foot width. The rendering presented to the board shows a 10-foot tall illuminated scoreboard just under the video screen.
Through coordinating with LISD’s College and Career Pathways departments, students could get experience for careers in radio and broadcasting. Ryan recounted his own experience working in Harlingen CISD, where he supported broadcast students who directed the video board program.
“We had a group of five students where that was their football, that was their band, that was their extra curricular to come out every week and be a part of their broadcast team,” Ryan said.
In addition to adding a revenue stream, the digital advertising could help alleviate staff needs for hanging and replacing vinyl banners.
“We struggle to find people who can actually hang banners,” Ryan said. “They don’t have a long life span. They get beat up in the wind and things like that. So there’s also those savings in operations.”
LISD currently averages about $30,000 a year in advertising revenue. Adding digital media would allow the district to increase revenue and could potentially help pay off construction costs in six to seven years, according to district marketing specialist Laura Weiss.
In nearby school districts, Round Rock ISD prices its video screen advertising packages between $4,000 and $20,000 per year. New Braunfels ISD offers similarly priced packages for its video boards.
The video boards themselves can cost between $700,000 to $900,000 each, including installation. Ryan says the expected life span for the boards is about 15 years.
“You can bring the prices down quite a bit,” Superintendent Dan Troxell said. “You can do some of the prep construction work in house. When they say the full price they’re talking about total installation. I think there’s a lot of negotiation we can do.”
During the presentation, board members considered costs to build display boards all at once. Ultimately, the concern would be in staffing the broadcast crews for each stadium, Ryan said.
“The issue is staffing it, while some schools like Cedar Park have advanced broadcast programs, there are five other schools we would have to bring up to speed all at one time,” Troxell said.
Board members requested more information on pricing and yearly revenue models for consideration at a future meeting. At present, there is no timetable on a final decision on the proposal.
According to the presentation, more than 550 high schools across the nation use video display boards at their football stadiums.