There’s not much difference in a football coach that’s a great recruiter, and a salesman. Take Barry Switzer as an example.
The legendary Oklahoma University and Dallas Cowboys coach was in Texarkana Tuesday giving away video scoreboards to anyone interested in youth baseball and softball.
There was a catch, but few noticed after listening to Switzer and business partner Mike Henry during a lucheon at the Arkansas Convention Center.
Switzer reeled in his captive audience with a little history lesson. He mentioned the fact that OU was the first college, or university to have a magazine that featured a school’s athletic program. It didn’t hurt that the first issue had Heisman Trophy winner Billy Sims on the cover.
Jumbotrons were another great idea
The 81-year-old Switzer fast-forward to the 1990s when Henry tested his business idea of putting jumbotrons in college football stadiums. Title 9 was the biggest roadblock. A detour was discovered by creating a partnership of giving, and recouping with sponsorships.
That eventually brought Switzer and Henry to Texarkana with their goal of eventually putting a video scoreboard in every youth ball park.
“I truly believe we can do this,” said Henry, who has installed 10 of his scoreboards in Broken Arrow, Okla., and eight in Bartlesville, Okla. “Today you can’t go to a college stadium and not see a jumbotron. One day I believe it’ll be the same with video scoreboards in youth parks.”
In addition to video advertisements, the scoreboards will have features indicating pitch counts. There’s also a timer that will be used to avoid confusion in games with time limits.
Some of the facts produced indicated youth sports is now a $15.3 billion industry in the United States. Over 9.3 million boys and girls are playing youth baseball and softball today. One billion are attending these youngsters’ games.
In comparison, major league baseball is attracting 67, 131,040. Those numbers are dramatically higher than college football and the NFL.
Video scoreboards get positive response
There were a number of park officials and potential sponsors on hand to hear Switzer and Henry, and there response was overwhelmingly positive.
Switzer left everyone laughing at the end of Tuesday’s festivities.
“It takes sponsors to be successful; it has to be a team effort,” said Switzer. “If you don’t support the youth of your community, you’re a damn communist.”
More information is available online at: email@example.com, or by calling Henry at 918-932-0215. Texarkana’s Scott Hopkins is a local contact working on the project.