A former Ohio University football player has channeled his passion for athletics into a new online network designed to give youth sports organizations a web presence, and engage players’ parents and fans.
David Carter knew the downturn in the economy had placed a tremendous strain on an already financially-challenged youth sports industry.
“Budgets are tight and youth leaders often don’t have the resources to build and support the website presence they want for their organization,” Carter says.
He also knew that many businesses want to support healthy families in their communities, but often struggle with finding ways to do that.
“It seemed natural to connect the two [groups], which led us to Jersey Watch,” he explains.
Developed by sports marketing agency Digital Edge Sports, of which Carter is founder and CEO, JerseyWatch.com features youth sports organizations’ schedules, rosters, news, and scores.
“Most youth sports websites are clunky, cluttered, and difficult to use,” he says. “We built Jersey Watch to provide a professional-grade alternative to what most organizations are using. And it’s completely free thanks to partners like OrthoNeuro and Firehouse Subs.”
To learn where Carter and his team turned for input on the site, who helped fund its development, and who’s already using it, keep reading.
The Metropreneur: How long have you been developing JerseyWatch.com?
David Carter: Jersey Watch has officially been in the works since August of 2011, but the initial roots of the business model started back in 2010 at Ohio University’s Sports Administration graduate program. Along the way, we’ve built a Jersey Watch Task Force of youth sport leaders across Ohio and pulled them in directly on our designs and feature requests. Our task force has been a tremendous resource for new ideas and we continue to use the group as a sounding board on how we can improve our product.
[M]: Jersey Watch was also designed with parents in mind. How can they benefit from the site?
DC: Our design focuses on parents, but also caters to grandparents, relatives, and sports fans. Users benefit from having all their youth sports information in one place. Our interactive schedule feature allows parents to stay organized and up-to-date on all of the team’s activities. If a parent misses a game or tournament, they can view a recap, catch a highlight and share with others− all in a central location. We’ve also built a communication portal that allows parents to receive direct communication from coaches and administrators. Ultimately, Jersey Watch simplifies and enhances the youth sports experience for parents.
[M]: TechGROWTH Ohio awarded Digital Edge Sports a $50,000 Growth Grant in December. How has that funding helped the development of Jersey Watch?
DC: Digital Edge Sports wouldn’t be where it is today without TechGROWTH Ohio. The Growth Grant has allowed us to fully develop our Version I of Jersey Watch and launch in Central Ohio. We’re very appreciative of their involvement and proud of the milestones we have reached since receiving their funding. The East Central Ohio Tech Angel Fund contributed on the grant with TechGROWTH and we look forward to evaluating additional funding options in the near future as we look to add new features, build a mobile app, and make additions to our team.
In addition, we have leveraged the Growth Grant to attract private investors nationwide and establish our business lines of credit. TechGROWTH enabled us to achieve all these things.
[M]: How many Columbus area youth organizations have committed to using Jersey Watch?
DC: Pickerington Youth Athletic Association and the North Columbus Sports Firecracker Baseball Tournament have signed to use the system, and we’re currently migrating them onto Jersey Watch. We are in talks with numerous organizations throughout the area and will look to finalize several more relationships in the coming weeks. We’re very excited with the response and interest we’re receiving.
[M]: Is there anything else you think we should know?
DC: I’m very thankful for the support and assistance that the Central Ohio community provided as we designed and launched Jersey Watch. Youth sport leaders have offered tremendous feedback, and the business and startup communities have been incredibly supportive. We’re excited to serve youth organizations around Central Ohio and continue to welcome feedback and suggestions from community members.
We’re growing a special company here at Digital Edge Sports and Jersey Watch represents our lead product. We have several other sports-technology products that we look forward to developing in the near future and are proud to be a part of the growing technology community here in Ohio.
To learn more about Jersey Watch, visit JerseyWatch.com.