Daktronics always knows the score. The company is a leading manufacturer of electronic displays, audio systems, and timing products. Its products include scoreboards, game timers, shot clocks, and animation displays for sports facilities; billboards and price displays for businesses; and displays used by transportation agencies. Other applications include airport information, securities trading, and outdoor advertising. Daktronics products are used in major sports arenas, including venues such as the Olympic Games. Two-thirds of the company's business is about evenly split between live events and commercial clients. While most sales come from the US, Daktronics has about 30 offices worldwide.
Daktronics' manufacturing operations take place mainly in two South Dakota locations and another in Minnesota, but the company also has a location in Shanghai that makes architectural lighting products and one in New York that works on rigging products. Each location concentrates more or less on products for one of the company's five segments -- commercial, live events, schools and theatres, transportation, and international (which comprises the operations of the other four segments for all business outside North America). That helps the company respond to the unique needs of customers in each segment more efficiently.
Daktronics uses a direct sales force in the US and Canada for most of its larger-setting products, such as for professional and school sports facilities, convention centers, and transportation. Resellers typically handle only the lower-priced products that are easier to install, and generally cover small enterprise customers.
After a set back during the heart of the global recession in fiscal 2010, Daktronics has been on the mend, growing revenues by double digits in both fiscal 2011 and 2012 (ended April). Sales grew more than 10% to $490 million, largely due to its commercial segment climbing nearly a third over the previous year on the strength of an improved economy and the rollout by advertisers of digital billboards. That's still, however, nearly $100 million off of the high in fiscal 2009. International sales also helped, growing 20% thanks to a contract at a new arena erected in Mexico during the fiscal year. Daktronics remained in the black, but net income dropped 40% as it funded some international expansion and outsourced some information systems projects.
Daktronics relies on nurturing an initially small sales and service presence in other countries, made up of a network of standard and home offices, to grow internationally. During the global economic downturn, it had to reduce its number of overseas offices to the nearly 30 it has today, but maintaining those and opening new offices is an important basic growth strategy for the company. In 2013 it agreed to acquire Belgium-based OPEN Out-of-Home Solutions, which produces light boxes and scrollers and billboard advertising displays. The move will give Daktronics a foothold (including manufacturing facility) in Europe.
The company's high-profile installations include two of the biggest scoreboards in the world, for the football stadiums of the Miami Dolphins and the University of Texas Longhorns. The company also won the scoring and video system work for Citi Field, the new home of the New York Mets, and has equipment installed in nearly all of Major League Baseball's 30 ball parks. Among its other customers is Burberry Taiwan, which uses a large Daktronics video display in the Taipei 101 building, the world's largest building from 2004 to 2010. Business customers come from a range of industries including auto dealers, casinos, churches, petroleum, pharmacies, restaurants, retail, shopping centers, and more. – less