Hatboro-Horsham Considers Sponsorships, Naming Rights

The Hatboro-Horsham School Board may approve an agreement at its Aug. 20 meeting that would allow commercial businesses to advertise on district property or printed materials, or sponsor school events.

Paid ads in the calendar, advertising on HHTV, in-kind sponsorships of school programs and possibly the renaming of Hatters Stadium. 

All of these things could present themselves as revenue-generating opportunities once the school board adopts a policy pertaining to commercial sponsorships and partnerships, district officials told Patch. The policy was reviewed during the board’s Aug. 6 meeting and is slated for adoption on Aug. 20.

“We know that with declining revenue through the economy, through state support etc., it’s so important that we begin to look at creating additional revenue streams and support,” Superintendent Curtis Griffin told Patch. “Don’t expect to see tomorrow ads on our school buses … or on student lockers. We’re going to go into this very slowly. We want to be very considerate of the educational environment.” 

Under the tentative policy, all sponsorships and partnership agreements valued at more than $2,500 annually would require board approval. 

Potential advertising or sponsorship pacts would be subject to seven conditions, including that advertising is prohibited “inside classrooms, in areas where students in class may view the advertisement, or in any other area that may be disruptive to learning.”

The suggested policy notes that classrooms do not include the school’s auditorium, cafeteria, gymnasium, library, performing arts center or athletic fields and facilities.

Right now, Griffin said the focus is on school resuming on Sept. 4. However, beyond that, he said district officials would begin looking into the possibility of sponsorships and partnerships more extensively in September or October.

The prospective policy was born from an in-kind sponsorship of sorts with the Horsham Athletic Club, Bob Reichert, Hatboro-Horsham’s director of business affairs, said. 

This summer, the 46,000-square-foot fitness facility and its personal training staff began offering exercise sessions, tailored by sport, for ’s athletes.

“When we sat down and talked with the Horsham Athletic Club, what we developed was more of a partnership where they’d come in and actually run the programs to us at no cost to the district,” Reichert said of what would have cost an estimated $8,000. “They are providing the expertise, the people and the programming.”

In all, 240 student athletes – from all sports - have worked out with personal trainers at the gym, according to owner Doug Steinly. If he were to charge the district for the time and facilities, Steinly said it would have cost about $10,000.

Horsham Athletic Club and its sister club, Newtown Athletic Club in Bucks County, spent just under $2 million in the past year on equipment, Steinly said. Significant expenses such as that provide the club with buying power, something Steinly said he would share with the high school as it outfits its weight room with equipment for athletes and non-athletes.

At the end of the day, Steinly said he hopes to gain members, but that is not the primary focus, he said.

“Part of our mission is to be community focused,” Steinly said. “School districts are needing to make cuts … It’s getting more difficult for the general population to participate in sports.”

In exchange for Horsham Athletic Club’s in-kind contributions, Reichert said the district would offer general advertising in the exercise area, as well as a small sign at Hatters Stadium.

While the district has not yet developed revenue goals for the sponsorships, Griffin said he envisions smaller scale arrangements such as a local restaurant catering an in-service program, or advertisements jointly covering the $10,000 to $15,000 cost of printing the district’s annual activities calendar.

“I do see an interest from our business community to connecting with schools on a number of levels,” Griffin said. “The challenge will be finding the connections and opportunities." 

The length of time for sponsorships or partnerships would be decided on a case-by- case basis, Griffin said. The cost for each type of opportunity is something that would need to be “explored,” he said.

In the event that two businesses want to sponsor the same event or program, Griffin said “equal opportunity to all donors” would be given.

The goal, at least at the outset is small scale, but Griffin said he “would never rule out” something more significant like giving naming rights to a donor. Other districts have renamed their stadiums and scoreboard, he said. 

Kaylee Lagler August 07, 2013 at 10:19 AM
According to the school website, HHSD starts September Third, not the fourth.
Theresa Katalinas August 07, 2013 at 10:24 AM
Kaylee, This article is from last year. I updated it yesterday and it changed the publish date.


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