A Boulder-based company has a business connecting people to the hoopla of college sports through smart phone apps and websites it makes for a growing roster of universities.
SportLabs works directly with conferences, such as the PAC 12 and ACC, plus about 35 universities including CU, CSU, the University of Kentucky, Notre Dame, UCLA and Auburn. SportLabs will be funneling off-field events and fan interaction to audiences for the college football playoffs later this year.
“If we can prove the way with these market leaders we feel there’s a lot more business we can win,” said John Burris, president and CEO of SportsLabs.
The 18-month-old company employs 55 people in Boulder. It’s funded by the Silver Chalice Ventures arms of the ownership group of the Chicago White Sox, which is led by Jerry Reinsdorf. Silver Chalice owns two other online sports media businesses that work in college sports.
SportLabs makes money through contracts with universities and leagues and by claiming a portion of the advertising and sponsorship revenue attracted to the online programming it aggregates or creates for the mobile apps and websites it builds for clients.
And not just for football and basketball. SportLabs finds hunger among students and their families for online media surrounding the 28 smaller sports colleges have, too, Burris said.
What many universities have been slow to realize is that they have the opportunity to be sources of media that engages students, fans and alumni, not just the title brand.
“It’s an opportunity that hasn’t been seen because the people running the brands haven’t thought of themselves as media companies,” Burris said. “We see opportunity all over the place.”