Fragmentation = Opportunity in High School Sports Data

March 29, 2013

From the smallest town newspaper in rural Alaska, to ESPN – high school sports stats are seemingly everywhere, and the demand for the data is voracious.  While it seems high school sports data is abundant, there is no single source of data with over 10% market share.  High school sports fans are forced to go from site to site to piece together this incomplete information (much of which does not exist on any site or publication).  As a result, millions of fans of high school sports across the country have settled for the incomplete access to athlete stats as “par for the course” or “too difficult of a problem to solve on a massive scale.”

There have been services created to solve this problem but they fell short and continue to fall short on execution and market share growth because they have been attacking the problem from the wrong angle.  The approach of these companies has been a failed attempt to force-modify the deeply ingrained habits of tens of thousands of high school coaches across the country by requiring the use of the company’s proprietary application or website to track/report stats.  Other companies such as Rivals and Scout have poured huge dollars into staff and 3rd party reporters to generate their high school stats and recruiting content, but this method too is flawed by the sheer volume of dollars required to record all the statistical data with paid reporters.

The truth is, nearly all high school sports statistics are self-reported to newspapers by the coaches themselves.  It is a system that has been around for over 80 years.  So, it’s not a problem of action, it is a problem of ingrained habits and scale.  Currently every team for every competitive sport has a stat-tracker assigned to track the stats for each and every event.  These stats are then sent to the local and state-wide news publications to be reported to the public.  The reporting method is not broken, but there has never been a successful aggregating method for this data.  Even if one were to crawl the web for each published statistic, it would not account for the newspapers that chose not to publish the stats for that game, or only publish the stats for prep sports on a weekly or bi-weekly publishing schedule.  The resulting data would be incomplete, old and useless.

We have a solution that our team has been working extremely hard on.  I can’t stop smiling about it.  The task is huge, but it is equally inspiring.  I decided to share this because we will be looking for some enthusiastic, smart, hard workers to help us as we grow in the coming months.  I have been filled with so much energy the past few weeks as we have been coding the architecture and preparing a launch strategy I am ready to jump out of my skin.  If you love sports, enjoy working on hard problems and are looking to get involved in something absolutely HUGE – contact me.  Even if we don’t end up working together, honest input on the product will be extremely valuable for both of us.  It’s going to be a wild ride folks – stay tuned.. :-)

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