Video: The Villages High School, The Villages, FL

Mid-Florida Signs and Graphics recommended Watchfire to assist with this football stadium scoreboard project for The Villages charter school. Students use the video display to show live play action and fully produce each football event for an incredible fan experience.

The Villages Charter High School (TVCS) located in The Villages, Florida, is a modern educational facility with state-of-the-art amenities for its students. At a meeting held in early 2015, several administrators brainstormed with architects about ways to modernize the school’s athletic stadium. Athletic director Richard Pettus said the group discussed adding a dynamic new video scoreboard. “We thought it would attract more people to our school or even bring us more visibility when we host state-wide events like the all-star game,” Pettus said.

Based on their reputation, Dan Hayes and Mid-Florida Signs & Graphics were called in as consultants on the scoreboard project. “(The Villages) knew our work, knew our abilities. We had a meeting with them to discuss the project, and I was not too keen on the video board that they were going to use,” said Hayes. “I just felt that they could get better for their money. That’s when I recommended Watchfire.”

“We’ve sold a variety of LED signs in the past, but once we got smart, we go with Watchfire all the time,” said Hayes. “Their on-site demos are a great sales tool and prove that their products are engineered better and more reliable than the competition.”

The missing piece for a successful project was an experienced sports team to pull it all together. Watchfire’s sports director and project managers developed a proposal to provide a turn-key package for track timing integration, video production and audio. Watchfire provided a top-of-the-line system that enables TVCS to produce live video, instant replay, sponsor advertisements & commercials as well as promotions, to enhance the fan experience and increase advertising value to sponsors. “Watchfire was a tremendous help in making things happen quickly,” said Hayes. “We were not familiar with the cameras, the instant replay, and how to create all the static ads, displays and canned programs.”

Content and programming for the video board is done by students in the TVCS media and journalism classes, taught by Megan Licciardello. The curriculum provides experience in producing a live broadcast and is popular with students. Students work individually on all aspects of the broadcast and as a team during sporting events. “Out there, they have to communicate with each other. It gives them a better sense of what it’s like to work with other people,” said Licciardello. “They see the pressures that come with live production. If you mess up, you have to keep going.”

The video board has added an element of excitement to home sporting events. Crowd spirit and participation have been elevated, and the players enjoy seeing their success on the big screen. As Licciardello points out, “Pretty much everyone here is excited about it. It takes the whole atmosphere up a notch.”

Head football coach and athletic director Richard Pettus says school officials at The Villages Charter High School started brainstorming on the possibility of adding a live video scoreboard in May of 2014. The group then met with Dan Hayes and his team at Mid-Florida Signs and Graphics to kick off the project. Hayes says he recommended that the school use Watchfire for the video portion of the scoreboard. In addition to the quality of Watchfire products, Hayes says Watchfire also provided the production knowledge that this project required.

The high resolution Watchfire scoreboard leaves quite an impression on fans. Coach Pettus adds, "The buzz is out there throughout our county and the surrounding counties...we're one in a million, for sure, that go first class."

Learn more about how students use cameras, switching consoles, and software to create sponsor ads and crowd engagement graphics.

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