Written by Robert Leitch.
Aaron Spragg, CEO and founder of Storied Rivals Sports Media in Zanesville, Ohio, wants to bring ESPN-quality storytelling to high school sports across the country. Professional coverage of sporting events has become commonplace with shows like Inside the NFL, but the same doesn’t exist on a local level. Communities rally around their high school sports teams and want an in-depth look at a team’s success, beyond what is available in their local evening newscasts. Storied Rivals’ cinematic videos put viewers right in the middle of the action.
“High schools hire us to document their entire seasons, to become a fly on the wall and make very detailed films showing the biggest moments on and off the field,” said Spragg. “We go into the locker rooms, on the sidelines with the teams, put microphones on coaches. The result is a five to eight-minute recap of each game featuring close up shots and behind-the-scenes moments you don’t typically see as a spectator.”
Storied Rivals’ website features custom pages for each of its high school teams. These pages include the team’s latest Storied Rivals highlight reels, along with their roster, schedule and other external video links. Teams must pay a startup fee to have the company document their season, with most teams using Booster Club money or fundraisers to cover the cost. In return, Storied Rivals acts as the team’s public relations agency, sending select highlights to top national media outlets like ESPN and the Today Show for national exposure.
“Outside of uniforms, I think a Storied Rivals video is the most important investment a high school sports team can make,” said Spragg. “This is something these athletes can take with them forever.”
Storied Rivals has been continuously evolving since Spragg founded the company in 2008. At that time, he would create each team’s highlight reel and give it to athletes and fans directly, without posting the videos publicly. Now, 90 percent of the company’s web content is streaming video, allowing athletes and fans to easily share any of the videos on social media.
“By hosting our videos online, we’re able to draw more attention to the company and attract additional revenue by strategically placing ads before the videos and around the website,” said Spragg.
Storied Rivals’ offices are located within the Muskingum County Business Incubator (MCBI), a southeast Ohio partner of Ohio Third Frontier. Spragg’s background is in sports journalism with no experience in the business world, so he says being located in the incubator has facilitated his growth as an entrepreneur working to start a company.
“The team at MCBI provides valuable insight and expertise. They’ve connected me with mentors who have helped guide me through the different steps to starting a business,” said Spragg. “They host workshops on trademarking and patenting, offer affordable office space, provide references when applying for bank loans and help you find employees. The work they’ve done has set Storied Rivals up for success.”
Storied Rivals currently has four full-time employees and is working to add more high schools to their client base. Spragg says his company’s proximity to Columbus, Ohio, offers a rich opportunity for this growth.
“Columbus is a great market for expansion because it’s a city full of successful high school sports teams with passionate fans,” said Spragg. “If we can perfect what we’re doing in the Columbus area, we can use that model to expand to other cities across the country.”