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Point/Counterpoint

Point - Doug Keklak

Welcome to Ameriserv Financial Stadium, home of the Johnstown Trojans!

Did that sentence just make you cringe? It sure did make me cringe.

We should have figured that it was only a matter of time before the high school ranks would follow the college and pro ranks and start selling naming rights to stadiums. In Western Pennsylvania, Seneca Valley High School was the first to do this as NexTier Bank bought the rights to their field. The bank will pay $50,000 over 10 years for the right to have their corporate moniker as the name of the Raiders' stadium.

I know that's a lot of money and the capitalist in me should be foaming at the mouth and trying to convince the school board at Johnstown to do this but hold the phone. Is nothing sacred? I mean corporate naming rights to a HIGH SCHOOL stadium. High school stadiums should be named for former players or coaches as an honor. Not to the next highest bidder so that they can attract attention to their website for a home equity loan.

What happened to good old-fashioned fundraising? I know $50K on the surface seems like a big deal, but over 10 years that's just $5,000 a year. An aggressive campaign could raise that much money. There are numerous sources of alumni information as well as tons of local businesses. It would take dedicated people to run such a pledge drive but it could be done.

If a business wants to make a one-time donation or grant that's one thing, but naming rights is over the top. Isn't the signage enough at local fields?

I would like to give props to Hopewell High School. They dedicated and renamed their stadium in honor of their most famous alum: Joe Montana. Let's just hope that in ten years it's still "Joe Montana Stadium" NOT "Joe Montana Field at Giant Eagle Stadium".

Doug Keklak can be reached at doug.keklak@trojannation.net.  

 

Counterpoint - Jason Subich

A national trend is becoming apparent at the high school level regarding naming rights to facilities. I happen to think this is a great idea and I think area high schools should look into it.

Costs associated with high school sports programs are increasing tremendously. Gate receipts and concessions can not cover all of the expenses associated with running a sports program. Should we raise taxes? Should we cut out certain sports? Should we cut sports out all together? I think the answer to all of these questions can and should be no because there are other ways to raise money.

A high school stadium in the Chicago area was renamed Rust-Oleum Field in 2002 after the company contributed $100,000 toward refurbishment. Since 2002, a pair of Texas school districts sold naming rights for football stadiums, one to a health-care provider, another to a communications company. Several other Texas school districts are trying to arrange comparable setups. Think about the equipment that the sports teams could buy for $100,000, all for changing the name of your stadium. The selling of naming rights for high school fields and gyms is a great fundraising strategy that can prevent tax increases and athletic-program cuts, or raised ticket costs. Students overall experience can be enhanced as a result of the extra money.

We already see advertising on the scoreboards. Kids see advertising when they watch television. Heck, some kids take marketing classes that cover advertising. What’s wrong with making a little money? This is capitalism at its finest!

Jason Subich can be reached at jason.subich@trojannation.net.  

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