The Muskie Touchdown Club will be looking to score big with corporate sponsors now that it can offer advertising on the new fence surrounding the football field to raise money to help keep the program running.
The Rainy River District School Board voted last week to allow advertising on the football field as requested by Fort Frances High School on behalf of the club.
The ads likely will to be placed on the fence during games.
“We have a very active football booster club and part of their mandate is to raise money to support the program,” Fort High principal Ian Simpson said.
“The equipment is very expensive and we have to keep it up for safety sake,” he noted. “For instance, our helmets must be brand new or re-certified every three years for safety.
“They have a tough job of making sure there is enough money in the program to keep it going and the school would have great difficulty in funding [continued] participation in the Winnipeg High School Football League,” Simpson stressed.
The advertising is aimed at getting corporate sponsors for the team. One of the thoughts is to place sponsors’ banners around the fence during home games.
Simpson said a plan couldn’t be completely worked out until they got the approval of the board, which happened at last week’s regular monthly meeting.
Rob Tysz, president of the Muskie Touchdown Club, said keeping the football program going is a full-time job. He estimated the cost to run the Muskies, including the new ‘C’ team for Grade 7-8 students, will reach $50,000 this year.
“The high school can’t afford to donate to this. They just don’t have the money,” Tysz said.
To stem the higher costs associated with playing in the WHSFL (such as registration fees and transportation), as well as to improve the field and local facilities, the club is planning a number of fundraisers.
Among these is a discount card, expected to be available later this month, where people can pay $30 and receive discounts at dozens of local businesses for the rest of the school year.
Simpson said he is grateful to the touchdown club and all the local supporters of high school sports for their efforts to keep programs going.
“The community has been very supportive of high school sports and I just want to offer my appreciation and thanks to the community,” he said.
Tysz added it was important to ensure sports have a place in Fort Frances.
“They’re learning skills, developing disciplines for physical development, and we’re helping them become responsible young people,” he remarked. “These are life lessons.”