Interactive video board will be similar or bigger in size to all the digital billboards in Cookeville

Remove your hands from the keyboard and picture this for a moment.

The sun has set on another fall day. The temperature is perfectly chill, hoodie weather, and you settle into your stadium seat with the quick snap of snare drums kicking in on the fight song. It is a Fall Friday night in the Upper Cumberland. Does it get much better?

The sounds will be the same, but the sights, at least at one Upper Cumberland high school, will be much different. That is because many local businesses, with the help of the Cookeville Football Club (CFC), the Cookeville High School football team’s booster, have come together to sponsor a new interactive scoreboard for Cookeville High School Football. The project follows another video board project in the Cookeville High School Basketball gym last year, sponsored by the Upper Cumberland Business Journal, Fire & Vine, UC Materials, PCS and other local sponsors.

“The generosity of local businesses has always helped to fund our program and many of the programs across the Upper Cumberland,” according to a release by CFC. “We are so grateful for that generosity, and we could previously offer little more in return than a banner hanging on a fence that was not visible to a large audience.”

Scoreboard – Rendering of new Scoreboard.

The project will build a structure at the end of the CHS football field in Eddie Watson Stadium that will hold a billboard or video board, that is 32 feet wide and 17 feet high along with a state-of-the-art sound system. Installation is tentatively scheduled for the end of July or the beginning of August.

With the first game scheduled for Aug. 23, the board should be shining bright by kickoff, according to Christy Graves, a volunteer who has worked tirelessly to make the project a reality.

“We would like to have the video board ready for a scrimmage in early August so that our media department can practice running the software during games,” according to Graves.

The CFC says it will also run as a billboard from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

“The video board … will be visible from Summerfield Road, volunteer drive and portions of 20th Street,” according to a release. “During sporting events and in school events, including football, boys soccer, boys lacrosse, girls lacrosse and track, the video board will run the ads of all of our partners, but also act as a scoreboard and be interactive with our fans, including playing commercials for our partners and highlighting gametime events like touchdowns or goals, first downs or athlete finish times.”

Funded solely by local businesses who see the board as a unique opportunity to support schools and market a loyal target demographic at “an extremely cost-effective rate.”

“Unlike other billboard marketing, our audience is seated for an extended duration (during any sporting event) and frequently looks at the scoreboard, which will be located directly under the billboard,” according to the Football Club.

The interactive video board will be similar or bigger in size to all the digital billboards in Cookeville. Graves says Cookeville Head football coach Taylor Hennigan and Crystal Roberts, president of the CFC, had a big part in the board design.

“Coach Hennigan designed the trusses of the board and tried to mirror the old scoreboard, which is at the other end of our field,” said Graves.

Of course, businesses will benefit from the marketing, but so too will the school, which is also planning “movies on the turf” allowing students and the community to watch movies on the video board. Maybe more than anyone, students (especially media students), the Football program and the community will benefit from the project.

“I am passionate about this project,” said Graves. “We as a family are careful with what we commit our time to, but this project, which helps our students and athletes, local businesses, our county and our community was one to which it was easy to commit. The video board will be here long after all our children graduate and will hopefully continue to be an improvement for the program for years to come.”

After all, with a large-scale video presence in any stadium comes more school spirit.

“Having the “GET LOUD for THIRD DOWN,” or other similar fan-involvement display, aired during the event itself gets the crowd to interact more with the game and helps increase school spirit and fan involvement,” said the Football Club. “Additionally, the video board itself can run instant replay. In the future, as our media department grows (as highlighted below), we should be able to offer that feature for the fans.”

The board will be purchased from Daktronics, owner of 70% of the video board market on all levels of sports. Daktronics approved the final format after multiple renditions, suggestions and “lots of positive feedback.”

The school’s media department will take advantage.

“They have created a curriculum for their software that will be implemented by our school’s media instructor, Kendra Scribner,” according to a release. “The students who learn this software can then apply for placement and scholarships at the collegiate level through a Daktronics program to operate the video boards at colleges and for professional sports throughout the country.”

According to Graves, sponsoring the board is what’s best for business.

“We see this as an opportunity for businesses to use their hard-earned dollars to both help the schools and market their business. Coach Hennigan and Crystal Roberts are extremely good stewards of all of the money that comes into the football program, so partners can have confidence that the money they commit to our project directly benefits the players in some manner,” she said. “The majority of members of the Cookeville Football Club Booster are business owners, including the president and the treasurer, so we understand the number of hands asking for dollars, the effort it takes to earn those dollars, and the impact those dollars can have to benefit our players. After brainstorming, the coach and president have come up with a way to earn money for the program but also truly benefit businesses in our community.”

Partners for the board include:

Title Partner:

  • 7 Brew (7 Brew is also the first down partner, meaning that 7Brew’s name will be announced at each home team’s first down.)

“The title partnership location was priced at twice the RED partnership,” according to Graves. “7Brew has been extremely generous and supportive of our vision. The title partner will be the only partner displayed at the top of the video board. The other 12 RED partners will have permanent signage below the scoreboard, each space being 3 feet tall and more than 5 feet wide. The WHITE and BLUE partners will be displayed during the game on the video portion of the board.”

The Red Partners:

“In addition to multiple other benefits, this package comes with permanent signage on the billboard, along with pregame and postgame commercials,” according to CFC. “The RED partners will also get several PA announcements through the game, in addition to three placements in the rotation of sponsors. The RED partners will have a full-color, full-page ad in the game day, print football program.  There are 12 total RED partners, 10 sold, one pending and one unsold.” 

The White Partners:

“Our WHITE partners will air commercials before and after the homecoming game, get multiple PA announcements each game and have two placements in the rotation of sponsors,” according to the CFC. “WHITE partners will have a full color, half page ad in the game day, print football program. There are a total of 10 WHITE partnerships available, we have two sales pending, and one unsold WHITE partnership.”

The Blue Partners:

“If interested BLUE partnership can be purchased for $41 per month with an annual commitment,” according to the Football Club. “These partners will be displayed in the rotation of sponsors on the billboard at each sporting event and from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. They will have a full-color, quarter-page ad on the game day and a print football program. We had spots for 50 BLUE partners, and there is a total of three remaining.” 

Other large donors include: Stovers Liquidation, which has sponsored field goals and kick offs, Select Designs, which is the third down sponsor and Fire and Vine, the touchdown sponsor.

Graves says community and local business generosity make things like this scoreboard possible.

“As an outsider,” said Graves who is from D.C. “I see how different and special our community is. Businesses here have budgets earmarked to support our schools and our children, they come to watch our games even when they don’t have a player on the team, they pray over our team, feed our players, and volunteer their time and efforts. In a world where so much is wrong, Cookeville is truly getting it right. After 20 years here, I am still frequently reminded of the beauty and grace of our community, led by all our business owners who are making an exponential impact with their generosity.”

Image by freepik.

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