Advertising helps pay for St. Johns high school sports

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By Meghan Callan
Clinton County staff reporter

ST. JOHNS — Local businesses in St.Johns have been sponsoring district school events in hopes of bringing in consumers to economically benefit Clinton County.

The St. Johns public school system has an Athletic Faculty Advertising Program available to local businesses.

According to the Director of Athletics and Student Activities Chris Ervin, St. Johns Public Schools offers sign advertising on indoor and outdoor athletic facilities for the local businesses.

“Once a business contracts with us we ask them to tell us where they want their sign hung each season.  We offer multiple year, annual and A La Carte options with our advertising program.  Each business indicates which facility they want to advertise in,” said Ervin.

Ervin said businesses can purchase advertisements for $400 per season, which would include a seasonal sign hung in a facility of the buyer’s choice, recognition on the athletics’ website and at that season’s Redwing Rally Program, and public address announcements at all home games for that season.

In addition, local businesses can purchase yearly advertisements with the same benefits for $750 per year, or $2,000 for three years.

Ervin believes advertising through this sports program has overall positively affected the St. Johns athletic department.

“Our new advertising program provides the school district the opportunity to generate some creative revenues that helps to ensure programming within our athletic department,” said Ervin.

According to Ervin the revenue brought in through the program varies annually, however the department usually accumulates around $15,000 in advertisements per year.

Ervin said without the program the school’s athletic department would have to come up with other ways to raise money or rely on donations that are occasionally made throughout the year.

However, some of the local businesses believe the cost of the advertisements are too high.

Michelle Thompson, manager of Shaggies Ice Cream Shop, located in downtown St. Johns doesn’t believe many of the local businesses have a large enough budget to invest in such advertisements.

“It’s just too much money, my advertising budget is so small, I would love to do it and advertise in that way but I have to pick and choose what I do based on expenses,” said Thompson.

However, Thompson does believe these advertisements could appeal to different types of businesses.

“It all depends on the business, mine is seasonal but not all of them are; I only get half the year and it doesn’t benefit me if our business isn’t popular during the school year,” said Thompson.

Businesses that have purchased advertisements through this program believe it is worth the investment. Zachary Rogers, employee at D&K Bike Service, located in St.Johns said the advertisement is an investment that is worth it in the long run.

“The past few years we have been purchasing advertisements through this program, I think it not only brings us potential consumers but it shows that we care and support the local school system and the community,” said Rogers.

Dr. Bruce Vanden Bergh, Michigan State expert in advertising, public relations and retailing, believes businesses showing support for the community in which they reside, is crucial to draw in consumers.

“Advertising through a local school system has a direct impact, it shows goodwill towards the community by having public relations which help support the local athletic system,” said Vanden Bergh.

Additionally Vanden Bergh believes the purchase of an advertisement is not a one shot investment.

“Overall it will have a long-term affect, it will bring a business positive brand equity and exposure by providing a visual to the hundreds of people that attend the games that season. It isn’t fleeting such as a commercial or radio advertisement,” said Vanden Bergh.

Ervin believes these advertisements have overall economically helped the town of St.Johns by drawing in potential consumers.

“We do our best to provide exposure to the businesses that advertise with us.  We recognize them on our website, in our public address announcements, and certainly by hanging banners with their logos in our facilities,” said Ervin.

However, Ervin said some local businesses are not accepted by this program. St. Johns Public Schools has the right to refuse any advertisement that does not meet the standards observed by the school district advertising policy and guidelines.

In addition, according to the Sign Advertising Agreement form, St. Johns Public Schools has final authority in the approval of sign design, language, details, etc.

“In the end, people want to go to the businesses that show support for their community, whether it be a local bakery, restaurant, insurance agency, the nature of exposing a business in this way is a positive investment,” said Vanden Bergh.

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