The once rural town of Manchester, Tennessee is growing by the day, and Coffee County Central High School (CCCHS) wants to continue serving as a key figure in the community. To stay relevant and engage with locals old and new, the school wanted to draw people in the community to Red Raider football games for a fan experience like they’ve never seen before. They were also looking for ways to increase fundraising dollars for their team.
"It offers a greater entertainment aspect to the game. You find yourself absorbed by it.” — Paul Parsley, principal of Coffee County Central High School
About Coffee County Central High School
Coffee County Central High School is a school of around 1,300 students in Manchester, Tennessee. Located about 65 miles south of Nashville and 70 miles north of Chattanooga, the school is in a semi-rural part of the state, but one that is quickly expanding and changing as people move to the area.
The CCCHS Red Raiders “aim for excellence” with their strong school spirit and reputable career and technical education (CTE) academic programs. Its athletic stadium, the Carden-Jarrell Field, hosts football games, graduation ceremonies and other school activities that bring the community together.
High school in a rapidly growing town can serve the community
Coffee County Central High School (CCCHS) in Manchester, Tennessee, has long been a pillar of the town, its celebrated Red Raiders football team playing an essential role in connecting the local community. The school is seeing growth both on and off the field, which CCCHS principal Paul Parsley says he has witnessed firsthand:
“The community has changed quite a bit in the past 20 to 30 years,” says Parsley. “When I was growing up, I would have said this was a rural community. It still is to an extent, but it is changing. Industry is coming in, lots of people are moving in from out of state, and we are growing.”
The school recognized that it needed to evolve in tandem with the town and continue to serve as a focal point by enticing residents to congregate at home games on Carden-Jarrell Field. Not only are full-capacity crowds a huge motivator for the Red Raiders on game day, but gate receipts — and the associated fundraising — is the lifeblood of the school’s budget and its athletics programs.
“When you talk about high school athletics, each one is very valuable, but football is the community connection. It is the biggest money-raiser and requires the most money,” explains Robert Gilley, president of the Quarterback Club, an organization that helps promote and raise funds for the school.
As 2020 put a pause on in-person events, like home games and track meets, it took a toll — financially and emotionally — on both the high school and the surrounding community. As they looked to the future, the team needed a way to drive ticket sales while increasing fundraising dollars for athletics.
“Coming off two years of no fans due to Covid-19 and not knowing what was going to happen, the community needed something new, some hope and excitement,” says Gilley.
Video scoreboard enhances game day and fan experience
Taking inspiration from the school’s anthem — specifically, the line “forward, ever be our watchword” — Gilley and the Quarterback Club delivered a new addition to Carden Jarrell Field.
The atmosphere at Carden-Jarrell Field has never been so spectacular. Standing in the end zone is an impressive video scoreboard created by Samsung, complete with the latest broadcast technologies. The addition delivers a professional visual and audio experience, comprising an unprecedented attraction to the school’s athletic events.
“When I go to professional sports, I’m always entertained by what’s going on surrounding the game,” explains Parsley. “For me, the video board makes the event more entertaining and interesting, and it makes you want to go to the event more.”
The Samsung video board at CCCHS is one of only a handful found at high schools in North America. It consists of two displays: a main display measuring a panel 16 feet high by 32 feet wide, with 10mm XPS providing a resolution of 464×928. Directly above this panel is the scoring display, about 8 feet high by 21 feet wide, made of a 20mm XPS panel with 112×304 resolution.
The installation was handled by Cook Neon Signs, which took just two weeks to set up the technology, calibrate it and get the first images displayed.
Joel Lawrence, project manager at Cook Neon Signs, led the project and worked with the Quarterback Club to find them a display that would offer the greatest value for its price point, as well as high resolution and refresh speeds, to enhance the stadium’s atmosphere.
“We pitched the Samsung product to the Quarterback Club, especially for the reasons of its quality and its great warranty,” explains Lawrence. “The Samsung technology is also chosen and trusted by other professional sporting teams and NCAA teams, so it wasn’t hard for us to put our trust in it too.”
Gilley, too, praises the video board’s technology and recognizes its appeal to locals, who are drawn to the game. “There are other video boards in some of the schools in the area, but nothing compares to the setup we have in terms of size, capabilities and the show it delivers,” he says. “We go from a rural school to having the largest high school video scoreboard in the state of Tennessee — it has really changed the feeling of the games. You don’t have to go to see a Tennessee Titans game to see and hear a professional show, it’s right here on the high school football field. We’ve not even fully seen the full benefit yet.”
On the back end, the scoreboard’s software platform delivers the creative content features typical of professional football stadiums, like instant replays, interactive crowd cams, music and hype videos, which Parsley says has enormously improved the fan experience.
“It offers a greater entertainment aspect to the game. You find yourself absorbed by it,” says Parsley. “There’s a crisp picture of the players, the sound is great, and it draws community members to the event. We have a camera operated by a student, who is able to catch band members, cheerleaders, fans and students on the big screen, so it’s very entertaining for the fans.”
Samsung’s XPS Series LED Signage delivers excellent image quality that captures the audience’s eyes. Premium diodes produce bright images and deter light interference and advanced video processing technologies result in an ultra-high 49,920Hz refresh rate.
Endless potential for ad revenue, sponsorships and community
CCCHS and the community can boast that they have the same Samsung technology on their field as the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens and other professional sports teams— a promotional tool that garners interest both locally and beyond.
Both Gilley and Parsley recognized the opportunity for the video board to broadcast advertising and sponsorship messages from local businesses.
“We have several businesses in our community that are very supportive of our school,” says Parsley. “From what I have seen lately, they are eager to support our programs. The video board brings an opportunity to fundraise for our football, athletic and other programs with video plugs.”
Across all of the school’s athletics programs, each team can approach businesses about sponsorship or advertising opportunities. Then, the funds are divvied up on a percentage basis to that respective program.
“We’ve had close to $12,000 already split across the programs,” says Gilley. “Every time we have a home game, we get new inquiries through local businesses. We’ve been running the video board 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When we’re not in game mode, we’re screening digital advertisements.”
Athletes have a greater desire to play at a venue with such impressive technology. Carden-Jarrell Field is now in high demand with other sports teams that want to use the stadium, such as soccer teams. And the video board has increased the potential for commercial revenue. Each game presents advertising opportunities, helping the school get the funding it needs.
The stadium’s video board is also a huge asset to graduation ceremonies, says Parsley, because students can be projected onto the big screen. And in terms of the community at large, the school has started thinking about extracurricular opportunities such as hosting movie nights or video concerts.
The Samsung video scoreboard installed at Carden-Jarrell Field offers the school a multitude of advantages and new opportunities. It’s more than just a scoreboard; it serves the community, sets CCCHS apart from all other high schools in the state, and symbolizes the town’s bright future.