Updated:ALPHARETTA, Ga.,None — For years, the large Coca-Cola logo has loomed large over Alpharetta's ball fields. But that's all changing because the corporate giant has decided it will no longer sponsor the city's scoreboards and pay for their maintenance.
"I guess Coca-Cola's big enough they don't feel like they need to advertise as much as they once did," said Lisa Cherry, Deputy Director of Alpharetta Recreation and Parks Department.
Cherry said as part of the city's new contract with Coke, Alpharetta will assume ownership and maintenance responsibilities of 29 scoreboards across the city.
"Typically we spend about $12,00 to $15,000 annually on maintenance, and that's just simple things like maybe a console would go out, a lightbulb would go out, things like that," Cherry told Channel 2's Mike Petchenik.
But, instead of leveraging taxpayer dollars to maintain the scoreboards, Cherry said she's proposed having the youth sports teams who use them help find new sponsors.
"Those funds would be used to help fund the maintenance of the scoreboards, the replacement of the scoreboards, the purchasing and producing of the panels for the sponsors," she said.
The Recreation and Parks department estimates it could sell advertising space on each scoreboard for about $2,000 a year. After the maintenance expense, officials said the city would keep about 75% of the ad revenues, while the youth sports associations would keep 25% of it.
"We feel like it's a win-win situation for both of us," said Ron Haigler, president of the Alpharetta Youth Football Association.
Haigler told Petchenik his teams already do fundraising and have someone on their board who attracts sponsors. He said the athletic associations don't see Coke's decision as a negative. He said the teams would welcome the extra revenue and the local advertisers would welcome a new audience.
"It'll be an opportunity for them to gain more business and for us to be able to improve our facilities and equipment to run the organization," he said.
Coca-Cola spokesman Charlie Sutlive sent Petchenik a statement that said, "We appreciate being the beverage provider for Alpharetta Parks and Recreation facilities. Our relationship gives the City of Alpharetta the flexibility to use Coca-Cola's funding support in the way the City best determines. These funds can be used for a broad range of support, including items such as uniforms for athletes, bleachers, sporting equipment and computers along with traditional scoreboard maintenance."
Sutlive told Petchenik that the company handles its agreements with schools and cities on a "case by case basis."