Trail looks to monetize athletic facilities
BY KEVIN WOODRUFF
Wyoming County Press Examiner
Lackawanna Trail School District is looking to generate extra revenue from its athletic facilities through advertising.
In October, the school board passed a resolution to allow advertising signage at all of the district’s athletic facilities, and the district is now looking at ways of implementing the new plan.
Trail superintendent Matthew Rakauskas said on Thursday that the district hopes to generate more revenue for the district while also helping out local businesses.
It has been a several month long process for the district, as they began drafting the plan late last summer.
“We were looking at ways of generating additional revenue for the district,” Rakauskas said. “We contacted the Pennsylvania School Board Association and from there drafted a plan.”
Since the plan passed in October, Rakauskas said the district has been brainstorming and has decided to start with placing advertising signage in the high school gymnasium.
“We’ve dedicated a wall in the gym,” Rakauskas said. “And we’re hoping to get some signs from local businesses.”
He said the district is currently mulling the idea of selling signage for the rest of this school year, but may wait until fall of the 2013-14 year to start things up.
Rakauskas noted that if enough interested businesses contact the school wanting to advertise this year, the district will consider selling advertising space at around $100 to $150 per sign.
“Each business would be responsible for supplying their own sign,” Rakauskas said.
Rakauskas said the district will review all signage to make sure it is not offensive or inappropriate.
“Everything has to be reviewed,” Rakauskas said. “The district will make sure the content of the advertisement is appropriate.”
He said if a sign is inappropriate, the district will ask the business to change it.
Rakauskas said the district is taking things slow to make sure the plan is implemented properly, but is looking to the future.
“If this takes off, I can envision signs in the halls around the gym,” Rakauskas said. “And a long range plan would be to have sign son the football, baseball and softball fields.”
He said the school is starting with the gym because there are sports played in the gym in each of the three athletic seasons.
Rakauskas said that Lackawanna Trail is modeling its advertising plan after Abington Heights’ plan.
“Throughout this process, Abington Heights has been my main contact,” Rakauskas said.
Currently Dunmore and Pittston Area schools have flashing electronic signs, but for now, Trail is not planning anything that sophisticated.
“I wouldn’t rule out an L.E.D. sign,” Rakauskas said. “But we have no current plans to purchase one.”
Once ads are purchased, revenue that’s generated will be deposited into the district’s general fund.
“The funds from this will go back into the general fund,” Rakauskas said. “And benefit the district at large.”
He encourages any local business interested to contact him.
Rakauskas said he has had inquiries from five or six local businesses wanting to advertise.
David Gargone, program director of sports management and assistant professor at Misericordia University, said that schools choosing to advertise in their athletic facilities is an emerging trend.
“It’s becoming a more common practice,” Gargone said. “Especially in today’s age with everything getting more expensive it’s important for schools to find more ways to generate revenue.”