I think the key to really making a mark in sports, to making money and establishing yourself in a lasting way, is to identify a megatrend and get in on the ground floor. I think high school football is the next big theater for explosion, and I think Ground Zero will be in Texas. Don’t believe me? Consider this.
Eastbay is sponsoring a program in which schools send in a short video featuring their off-season workouts. Schools can compete for a $20,000 prize for doing nothing more than filming their players running through drills, hitting the weights, chanting, cheering, and doing the things young men do to prepare for war in the fall. It’s called Preparation Nation, and if you’re interested in details for your school, this link provides all the info you need.
So if you look around YouTube, you find that two examples Eastbay provides for others to model are from Texas schools, Southlake Carroll and Denton Guyer. I recommend you especially check out the Carroll entry. It’s filmed in the school’s indoor practice facility, which is finer than what several NFL teams have. There’s one shot of a wall filled with pictures of current and former college and NFL passers (Greg McElroy and Chase Daniel among them). Later, the players run through a workout gauntlet in a weight room that is well-appointed and stocked with gleaming new boxes, bars and mats. The Guyer video is more stripped down and focuses more on traditional field work, but includes interviews with not one, but two, team strength coaches.
So here’s the point. Ten years ago, how many schools in the nation had indoor practice facilities where athletic teams could prepare for competition free of the elements? How many schools had a dedicated strength coach? How many had TWO? All of this is happening here in Texas.
Here’s what else is happening. High school football games are a regular feature on ESPN. High school coaches at bigger schools in Texas are making north of $100,000 per year. More and more high schools are building multi-million dollar stadiums with public money.
Here’s how I’m seizing the opportunity. One of my projects is that I’m one of six partners with Champions Search Firm, which helps schools fill vacancies on their athletic staffs. We’ve worked with schools in the hiring of more than 30 coaches in the last six years. We work with coaches and schools to try to streamline the process and put good coaches with good schools. Incidentally, the former Directors of Athletics at Denton (Ken Purcell) and Southlake (Bob Ledbetter) are among my partners.
So here’s the takeaway. Are you interested in working in football? Here’s one idea. (A) Get to Texas. (B) Build some relationships in football you can leverage. (C) Find a market to serve involving high school football. And if you don’t want to follow these steps, find another big trend in the game and come up with an idea to serve that market.