School District Using 'EyeBlack' As Ads

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ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — The Orange County School District now has its own sales and marketing department. They're selling ads on everything from the district's website to gym floors, and WFTV found out they're even trying to sell the faces of student athletes.

Orange County schools are trying to push a new money-making campaign: selling advertising.

"It's an unusual medium for a lot of advertisers. What school districts selling advertising space? That's unusual," said Dylan Thomas, Orange County Public School.

For about $6,000, a company can have its logo advertised on the faces of athletes, students and fans for a week of games.

"For $6,000 you can advertise your business on the cheeks of students?" WFTV reporter Greg Warmoth asked.

"Hey, if they are willing to pay it, I'd be willing to take it," said Bud Wharton, Orange County Public Schools.

Lena Mendenhall doesn't see selling the ‘Tim Tebow' look.

"If your son becomes a football player, what would you think about them putting advertisement on his cheek?" Warmoth asked.

"I wouldn't like it, not at all," Mendenhall replied.

Along with EyeBlack, space on the county website, which receives a million hits a week, is for sale.

Every basketball court has also been sold to the National Guard for a five-figure fee. Also, instead of letting stores sell items without royalties, the manufacturer has to pay a 10 percent licensing fee to the Athletic Preservation Fund.

While some think EyeBlack is eye-opening, the rest of these ad opportunities make sense.

"Is that the nature of the economy we are in right now?" Warmoth asked.

"I'm afraid it is. If they are willing to pay the freight, we ought to be willing to take them," Wharton said.

The State High School Athletic Association says uniforms are off-limits; everything else has a price.

Orange County said it's the only district in the country with its own advertising department, but is quick to point out that it's a one-man department and has generated more than that person's yearly salary in the first six months of the program.