Big, dazzling video scoreboards that take pride of place at a stadium or arena are no longer just for professional teams. High schools and colleges can also bring their facilities in line with the big leagues thanks to advancements in display technology and lower costs. Now, Friday night games can have the pizzazz of a professional stadium accompanied by big-screen action, without costing big bucks.

The addition of a video board, whether outdoors in the end zone or inside above the court, upgrades game day with an LED-enhanced atmosphere. High-definition live action, replays, graphics, animations, team messages and fan interaction get the crowd going. A high-tech video scoreboard also presents an opportunity for schools to increase revenue. Display technology with top-flight features is a crowd pleaser, which can attract bigger attendance and gate receipts. A school that boasts the same innovative technology as a pro team can boost its reputation and help recruit top talent to their athletics programs, which in the long run may contribute towards success on the field.

Through sponsorship and selling brand opportunities to run on the scoreboard, you can achieve return on investment (ROI) in just a few years and continue to create new revenue streams throughout the display’s lifetime.

For a school or college that’s interested in staying ahead of the competition by investing in a video scoreboard, this guide explains all you need to know to make the process less daunting.

1. How much does a video scoreboard cost?

The first question on every consumer’s mind is the size of the investment. Large format video scoreboards used to cost more than $160,000, a price tag unattainable for most small schools. But now the same technology used in professional stadiums can be found for around $60,00 to $70,000. A video board lifespan can extend more than 10 years, so while it’s still a sizable investment, the return can be far greater during its lifetime.

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The cost of installation, ongoing maintenance and servicing should be factored into the overall cost. Choosing the right display can make all the difference. Samsung’s P8 Outdoor LED Signage is built to withstand the elements, thanks to an IP66 rated front and back cabinet that keeps all the internal components waterproof and dustproof. It also features heat dissipation to avoid overheating, so the display can be installed with confidence even in the harshest of environments. Each unit undergoes extreme accelerated life cycle performance testing to prevent damage from humidity, extreme temperatures, UV stress and corrosion.

2. How can schools offset the cost of a video scoreboard?

A video board has the potential to pay for itself within the first few years of operation.

The main revenue opportunity is through selling on-screen ad space. A brand-new video board will be the talk of the community, so it’s an ideal place for local businesses to advertise. As opposed to old-fashioned static ad space, the clear, brilliant image of digital signage is far more attention-grabbing, with the added benefit that you can easily add tailored messages. And unlike static ad boards or sideline signage, a video board can cycle through a limitless number of ads. When not in game mode, the board can keep running endless advertising.

Sponsorship is another revenue stream. The video board itself can be “presented” by one or more businesses, or they can sponsor instant replays, halftime entertainment and fan interactions. This is mutually beneficial for the school and the sponsor, as they get to forge relationships within the community.

The addition of a video board opens a wealth of options for a school to host or rent out other ticketed events beyond sports. Concerts, ceremonies, dances, pep rallies and school booster events can all use the video board to enhance the event and make it more memorable.

3. What should you look for when selecting a scoreboard?

There are several important factors to consider as you finalize your choice of video board and your supplier.

Size: Scoreboards can come in all shapes and sizes. Just look at some of the professional examples — from the indoor and outdoor sports displays at Western Michigan University to the massive video scoreboard at Coffee County Central High School in Tennessee. The first thing to do is decide on the best screen size to suit your needs. Samsung’s outdoor LED products offers endless options, whether you want the screen to be curved or a custom shape. If you need something more straightforward, Samsung also offers an online LED configurator, a simulation tool that enables clients to virtually install Samsung’s LED display and precisely determine their technology needs and desired result. For the most impactful video board, it’s important to get the right size so that fans in the furthest seats can clearly see what’s on screen, in all weather conditions.

Visual quality: No matter how big a display is, if the panel specification is sub-par, the experience will be hard to watch. Key things to consider when selecting an outdoor LED panel are high brightness (particularly important for outdoor signage so images can remain vivid in direct sunlight, snow or dark lighting), contrast ratio (to boost picture quality), refresh rate (to prevent image distortion) and pixel pitch (the space between the RGB pixels, with lower pixel pitch increasing resolution). At this stage, it’s also worth considering how rugged an outdoor installation will need to be based on local weather conditions. Water, ice, dust and humidity are all environmental issues for outdoor displays, which Samsung rigorously tests against during product development.

Choosing the right vendor: The right vendor can help guide you through all the technical aspects, and will be critical in purchasing the correct video board. They can help you understand the jargon and pick out the best options for your space, such as the best screen size and pixel pitch for the viewing distance. It provides extra peace of mind choosing a trusted brand that you know will be around through the warranty period and beyond.

4. Who will operate your scoreboard?

Each game or event where the scoreboard plays a part of the action can be programmed to deliver a visual show that elevates the experience. Replays, live scores and sponsor messages are just the start. You have unlimited options when it comes to on-screen content, layout and engaging delivery.

Having an experienced AV operator isn’t essential either. There are a few software solutions, such as ScoreVision, that enable users to create and push professional-level content to the in-venue display. This means school students can be the curators of game day content. Using ScoreVision, AV students can get hands on with the same intuitive software used by the pros. They can script out the entire game to deliver dynamic shows, such as pregame hype videos, timeout and half-time content, fan interactions, player shoutouts and more. ScoreVision offers schools an affordable and accessible way to run their display that also offers tools for students to learn and gain experience with audiovisual tech.

For other outdoor signage, Samsung offers Creative Engine, which provides access to customizable templates for game day content. A point-and-click interface enables students or athletic directors to create professional-looking LED content in a matter of minutes, all optimized to make sure it fits perfectly on the screen, no matter the size or resolution.

5. How does the installation process work?

Samsung can be a white-glove installation partner to guide and deliver every aspect of your new display — from design and structural engineering to construction, integration, operation and maintenance.

Whether you’re a leader at a high school or a college, you’ll receive the same expertise provided to professional teams. The installation can be handled by Samsung, which can offer a suite of structural and electrical engineering services in addition to its construction and fabrication services to schedule and assemble the final product. Once the display is in place, Samsung can also offer audio and control integration systems.

The addition of a video scoreboard is more than just a big screen statement. Innovative display technology keeps schools relevant in a rapidly evolving market. Even at small schools, fans are demanding more from live events. Having the latest video board elevates game day and the fan experience — while bringing communities together as more people want to attend games.

Samsung is redefining the venue experience with immersive technology. See how seamless integration between digital displays, mobile devices, touch-screen kiosks and a powerful CMS delivers the convenience fans want and the moments that will keep them coming back for more. And explore digital opportunities to deliver more immersive experiences and increase fan loyalty in this free guide.

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A global leader in enterprise mobility and information technology, Samsung offers a diverse portfolio of business technologies from smartphones, wearables, tablets and PCs, to digital displays and storage solutions. We are committed to putting the business customer at the core of everything we do, serving diverse industries including education, finance, government, healthcare, hospitality, public safety, retail and transportation. Follow Samsung for Business on Twitter: @SamsungBizUSA

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