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updated: 3/26/2013 5:14 AM

Glenbard's scoreboard advertising deal falls through

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  • An agreement has fallen through with a firm that would have brought advertising to scoreboards at Glenbard District 87 high schools, officials said.

       An agreement has fallen through with a firm that would have brought advertising to scoreboards at Glenbard District 87 high schools, officials said.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

 
 

A deal with a firm to facilitate placement of advertising on scoreboards at Glenbard District 87 high schools has fallen through, district officials said.

The school board voted unanimously last September to approve an eight-year agreement with iHigh, a Lexington, Ky.-based company that was supposed to coordinate advertising sponsorships for a total of eight scoreboards at the four district high schools.

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By one estimate, the ads could have generated as much as $100,000 annually for school programs.

But a change in the company's leadership structure may have closed the door on the deal.

Blake Brickman, who became iHigh's chief operating officer, said the company isn't in the business of selling scoreboard ads, and the deal negotiated with Glenbard officials was unique. He said he personally wasn't involved in the negotiations.

"iHigh is not in this type of business, and we have no other similar type deals with any other schools," Brickman said. "It's not our business model."

The company has provided online streaming of athletic events for Glenbard for the past two years. The service is free -- in exchange for the placement of banner ads selected by the company.

But Glenbard will no longer be using iHigh for online streaming, deciding instead to sign a 2-year deal with Atlanta-based PlayOn! Sports beginning July 1, when the current agreement with iHigh expires. Glenbard will pay $8,000 over the course of the agreement, keep all money it raises for ads to be placed on the video streaming website, and receive half the revenues from ads sold by PlayOn!

The school board approved the deal last week.

A former Midwest-based iHigh regional manager, Kevin Sander, had negotiated the scoreboard advertising deal with Glenbard but left in December to take a new job in company relations at PlayOn!, according to his LinkedIn online profile.

Rod Molek, Glenbard's assistant superintendent for human resources and student services, said one reason the district decided to discontinue its relationship with iHigh is the company will no longer be offering a local representative to take Sander's place in working with the district. PlayOn!, meanwhile, will continue to offer that service, although its representative won't be Sander, Molek said.

"(Sander) was a good supporter for us. I just think maybe we were one of many high school districts for iHigh. PlayOn! is looking to keep more districts involved," Molek said.

Sander didn't respond to a request for comment.

The deal negotiated between iHigh and Glenbard officials called for the school district to fund the $187,000 upfront cost to install eight LED advertising boards that would have been attached to scoreboards.

The district would have received all ad revenues until the upfront cost was paid off, or until the start of the third year of the contract, whichever came first.

Afterward, a revenue sharing agreement would have gone into effect in which the district was to have received 80 percent of revenues and iHigh would have received 20 percent.

The LED panels were scheduled to be installed this summer and be ready for use at the start of next school year.

Molek said the district also decided to switch video streaming providers because PlayOn! offers better graphics than iHigh, and is also a partner with the Illinois High School Association.

The school district is estimating it could receive between $25,000 and $30,000 in revenue from the new video streaming site in the first year of the agreement. The funds will be used to pay for capital improvements for school athletic departments, Molek said.

The school board has control over all ads sold by the district and has the right to refuse any ads sold by PlayOn!

Students will be able to become involved in the video production and broadcast of events, officials said.

Molek said the district will continue to pursue scoreboard advertising long term.

"As we increase participation in sports, there's going be more costs, and so we're trying to find more revenue," he said.

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