There’s going to be a new addition to the North Augusta High School football program, a big one.
It won’t be an offensive lineman – or any player at all. It’s a new and improved scoreboard that will be a major presence at all future football games.
“It’s going to make the fan experience even better,” said Brad Siverhus, the vice president of the North Augusta Yellow Jacket Booster Club who, along with his brother Jeff, played a major part in the upgrade to Jacket Stadium.
Construction has yet to begin for the new scoreboard, which only awaits approval from the state ensuring that the plans are structurally sound before work will commence. The goal is to have it ready for the Yellow Jackets’ Aug. 23 home opener against T.L. Hanna. But the financing for the major upgrade is ensured.
The School Board agreed to take $265,000 out of its fund balance (contingency) account to help with the project. The Board agreed to the loan, which is expected to be paid back in five years, and the booster club has the responsibility of making that happen.
“The most important detail is that it’s 100 percent paid for with advertiser money,” said Siverhus, who didn’t specify the cost of North Augusta’s new scoreboard but said that similar technology could potentially cost anywhere from $250,000-300,000. “All the money is being paid back.”
That money is going to be used to actually expand the current scoreboard at North Augusta. The existing structure will be moved from its position on one end of the home fans’ stands to the opposite end zone, closer to the practice fields and event parking. Once there, a 25-by-17 foot videoboard with a state-of-the-art sound system will be added along with prominent signage for the advertisers that are underwriting the cost.
The PC-based system should offer a major upgrade in the sound and will allow for both top-quality live video and instant replays.
“One of the best things about the scoreboard is the size of the video display. We wanted to go as big as possible,” Siverhus said of the scoreboard, which will broadcast commercial advertisements. “It’s the largest high school video display of it’s kind in the state.”
The big crowds that generally turn out for North Augusta home games are the reason for the big videoboard. Siverhus estimated that the Yellow Jackets’ football games generally attract more spectators than any other event held in the CSRA, outside of James Brown Arena in Augusta.
He said the purpose of the enhanced scoreboard is to improve the fan experience while also creating new revenue streams to raise money for the athletic department. Siverhus and other members of the booster club examined what worked to serve those purposes at schools across South Carolina and bordering states. What they discovered was the scoreboard could achieve both purposes.
“It’s a big deal football-wise,” said Dan Pippin, who’s North Augusta’s athletic director as well as head coach of the football team. “It’s going to generate money, bring more people to the games and be a tremendous fundraiser.”
Siverhus added that the scoreboard will also serve as an educational tool. The large screen can be used to broadcast academic achievements that might otherwise go unnoticed by the crowds often exceeding 6,000 spectators for football games.
“We’re fortunate to have a large fan base and successful program at North Augusta,” said Siverhus, explaining that the scoreboard will only add to the environment. “It should rival something of a small college program. … It’s not just the videoboard, but I hope the whole fan experience will be improved this year.”
Pippin echoed those sentiments, saying “Fridays here for games are pretty cool. This is going to make it even better.”
Noah Feit is the sports editor for the Aiken Standard and has been a professional journalist for more than 14 years after graduating from Syracuse University.