Weslaco will be home to would likely be the largest digital scoreboard at a high school stadium if a measure to construct a new screen is approved by the district's Board of Trustees at its next meeting.
Referring to stadiums in places like Katy and Carthage that have 43-foot screens, Steve Valdez, director of instructional television for Weslaco Independent School District, suggested at a workshop Wednesday that Weslaco's Bobby Lackey Stadium go big with a 27-by-48 screen.
The current screen is 14 feet by 18 feet.
Humble has a 50-foot screen, but it's much shorter, so in square footage, Weslaco's would be bigger.
"They say that football in Texas is king, so we doubt that anybody else in the country would have anything larger," Valdez said.
The average life expectancy of an LED screen, which Lackey Stadium has, is 10 years, and the current screen is eight years old, Valdez said. The current screen was erected in 2005 and cost $387,000, which was paid off over five years with marketing revenue generated from the stadium.
The 48-foot scoreboard would cost $1 million and would take 10 years to pay off. However, Valdez said the bigger board would bring in additional revenue. Currently, the district gets $82,000 annually in advertising, and Valdez estimated that figure would jump to at least $105,000 because there would be additional slots for advertisers and the price would increase 10 percent for current advertisers because the ads would be bigger. There are usually three to five companies on the waiting list to advertise.
He emphasized that the marketing revenue would pay for the board, and Valdez suggested repurposing the old screen to show live footage during games or videos promoting students in front of the stadium.
If approved, the new screen would take up the space of the entire scoreboard erected now. The current scoreboard is 45 feet wide.
"If it's going to pay for itself, like they say, 'If we're going to do it, let's do it right," trustee Adrian Gonzalez said.
But the project would take about 90 days to complete, and if the district wants the new screen in place in time for the 2013 football season, the board will have to act fast. Board President Robert Sepulveda asked staff to bring the item back for action at the next meeting. Four members of the board were absent during the presentation, but Sepulveda asked Valdez to send the information to all of them.
"That looks like a college or near professional stadium," Valdez said when referring to a picture of Katy's Rhodes Stadium. "You don't get to see stadiums like that until you leave South Texas and enter the San Antonio, Houston or Dallas areas. And the students, we talk about that wow factor to go into a stadium like this, you're automatically intimidated because it's so much larger and grander than what they're used to down here.
"I wish that we could also feel that our students deserved the same type of facilities."
Julie Silva is editor at the Mid-Valley Town Crier in Weslaco. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.