Digital Scout – Know more, win more.TM
At Digital Scout they have developed a way use your handheld, desktop, or laptop to record stats to gather and display live amateur sports data via their ios and android stat tracking apps. Data from in-game instant analysis and after-game reports writes live to the platform on HSGamecenter.com. Game, season, and career statistics, individual player and team analysis, plus box scores, reports, and performance charts are all part of the sports tech offering. Dan Fronczak, Vice President, Digital School Network, spoke to the Sports Techie blog about their Sports Technology business model, software products, new AAU partnership, and the companies future.
Digital Scout is now the largest high school sports stat tracking company in the country by providing coaches with mobile apps for tracking live game stats and scores. The tracked stats provide coaches with data to help them analyze their team and player’s performances. At the same time, Digital Scout provides the live stats and play by play box scores to fans and parents through its HS Game Center (HSGC) platform (www.hsgamecenter.com). Imagine 10 seconds after your quarterback throws a pass to Danny, it’s live on HSGC.
HS Game Center
The HSGC licensing model allows clients to receive live stream data for the top ten games in each region. They provide this big data to media sites via an API through a data feed, an iFrame or Digital Scout can host a white labeled solution as well. The proprietary Digital Scout technology writes to the live platform on HSGamecenter.com for football and basketball only at this time but more sports are on the way. Digital Scout can provide your school with its own live HS Game Center. It is easy to link the Game Center page with a school’s website and provide kids, parents and fans with instant access to all of a school’s sports team’s scores and stats.
Viewers can watch games LIVE with play by play box scores. Full and complete box scores and stats for each game are produced as well as stats leaderboards for a school’s team and players. Conference standings and stats leaderboards are also rendered and displayed in real-time.
Sports Tech Milestones
What began in 1995 for Digital Scout when a handful of pioneering coaches used Palm Pilots to operate the initial product has matured in 2013 to include 20,000 coaches using apps, 11,000 of which are high schools. Apps are available for football, basketball, baseball, softball, volleyball, hockey, soccer and track and field. Their 60% market share of 18,150 high schools is the ultimate validation that coaches are using the product.
I accessed the Sports Techie historical database and remembered Digital Scout at a football trade show for coaches in Seattle in 1998 at the Double Tree Inn near SeaTac airport. I was selling the GridIron 2000 for Windows 95. It was an Expert System for Game Planning co-developed by the Seattle Seahawks and Sports 2000. I remember how excited I was to give a GI2000 demo to Boise State Head Coach at the time and current Atlanta Falcons Offensive Coordinator, Dirk Koetter. Little did anyone know at this event that Digital Scout would still in business all these seasons later.
Al Vrable bought majority ownership in the company in 2007. Al’s career background is with nursing homes and elder care so his decision to hire Dan and Nathan a couple years ago has proven to be a critical decision for the company. They have doubled revenue and profit since the hires and implementing freeware. There are now 8 in-house programmers led by Luke Hertert, Lead Developer, and 24 employees total.
Digital Scout has 900 college coaches who have used their software product over the last 5 years. College coaches move up the coaching ladder to a higher level and have taken Digital Scout with them to Kentucky, Hawaii and Nebraska to name a few. I mentioned to Dan that witnessing how far Digital Scout has advanced technologically and grown as a corporation has been a treat to behold.
A lot of the credit goes to Dan and business partner Nathan Heerdt (CEO) who came aboard two years ago. They decided to change the sports technology business model around. The company made a pivot from a retail model, selling coach to coach, to making certain software/apps free while licensing the data to media providers. Their success so far has been based on the coach who uses this app as a tool to get better. Sports Techie coaches I may know were still using their product on a palm pilot when Nathan and Dan arrived.
Converting customers to iOS and Android smartphone versions and the new freeware model was executed superbly. The Industry penetration garnered will only multiple as they continue to develop more apps and make more available at no cost. Dan said, “Making more free will be a responsible initiative on our part as to not sacrifice too much revenue in the process. Additionally, new licensing deals will expedite this process.” The sports tech business model is still being implemented and refined but building out the HS Game Center platform was a big sports business step. Dan’s goal as V.P. is, “to have every coaching staff in the world have a Digital Scout assistant. Where pen and paper or no longer needed and immediate data is available for everyone from the coach to the fan and everyone in between.”
Digital Sports Media licensing partners TW Cable had regional coverage in Columbus, Cincinnati, Kansas City and Albany, Texas, while Suddenlink Communications is primarily in West Texas around the Odessa, Midland and Lubbock areas, and Cablevision (iFrame) is in New York. The beta test last year involving basketball and football earned repeat business with their satisfied media partners next season.
All Digital Scout Web Enabled Statware programs are compatible with the Apple iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. Football and Basketball are also compatible with the Android Operating System. All products can be used on a laptop or desktop computer. Digital Scout Team Edition Soccer and Hockey products are compatible with the Palm® OS handheld computer (v.3.1 or higher) and Windows® 98 or higher, excluding ME. Digital Scout Track and Field can only be used on a windows computer.
Digital Scout’s single-entry software system, you can:
- Collect sports statistics, track performances, and analyze opponents at the game or from film on your handheld, desktop, or laptop computer.
- Print detailed reports from your desktop or laptop.
Example of a box score:
Produce detailed offensive and defensive statistical reports from any computer with an internet connection. New with web enabled Statware Football.
The next generation of this powerful tool includes:
- View, enter, or edit your game data from any computer with internet access — now including iPhone and Android OS.
- Download and install Windows PC (XP SP2 or newer) and handheld apps (iPhone and Android) on as many devices as you wish with no additional charge
- Digital Scout manages your data, no more worries about lost data, software, or activation codes
Digital Scout Web Enabled Football Statware client applications are compatible with the Apple iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Android, or Windows XP SP2 or newer.
Dan was please to say that Digital Scout has a new partnership with the Amateur Athletic Union. They will be the exclusive provider of statistics for AAU basketball and volleyball. It will provide the majority of stats for teams on which 600,000 athletes compete annually. As part of the agreement, AAU basketball teams will get their own page on Digital Scout’s Game Center platform, allowing them to display their statistics and create player profile pages. By direct result, any AAU basketball or volleyball team can order the Stats program for only $25.00. The standard cost is $149.95.
Dan Fronczak is a former television sports broadcasting veteran and sports anchor. He is a family man, coach, and broadcast graduate from THE Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio. His primary focus has been driving business development in high schools and amateur sports. Dan tells me that he is not an athlete. He and Nathan went to the same high school and are both die hard Cleveland sports fans.
Sports Techie, Since Dan and Nathan took the reins at Digital Scout, their sports business has flourished with a completely digitized portfolio. All software must be downloaded from a validated email address. Support is structured with three tiers – FAQ, email, and a Level 2 support 800 number. You can sign up for the e-mailed Newsletter on the web site.
Digital School Network is the parent company for Digital Scout. Digital School Networks CMS has clients in 30 states. Dan spoke about standardization in the Industry and how a company needs coaches and teams involved to make it so. History and trust are important to the corporate culture and identity at Digital Scout. According to Dan, “Amateur sports are an untapped market.” He plans to increase his customer base by offering its services to youth sports leagues and colleges.
I asked Dan how ESPN and other competitors looked at Digital Scout. He said, “The perception from big media companies is a wait and see attitude. This is because they have seen many companies come and go in this space since 1995.” Faced with deep pocket competition, Dan wants his company to, “rise to the occasion.”
I asked him about tracking software and he asked me back what I meant since that is what they have. I told him I was talking about adding military type tracking technology at some point in the future that accounts for every player on the field or court with real-time data calculations. He had not thought about ‘tracking technology’ in that way and liked the concept.
I wanted to know how they can ensure privacy rights are followed with video recording. Dan assured me that every product download is authenticated by the school. This check and balance is in place therefore the liability then falls to the school and their authorized users that have been granted rights by the Athletic Director or Coach. Privacy rules do vary from state to state. In Ohio, live video cannot be streamed without consent unless it is a state organization.
Since Sports Techie is a global community, my next question was to find out whether they have customers outside the United States. Dan stated, “They have about 250 global clients that have downloaded and are using apps for basketball and volleyball.” The next app Dan wants to build out using the HSGC platform is soccer. Dan would also like to develop software in Mandarin Chinese and Spanish languages.
Stats drill down to individual player profiles which in August will soar to a database of 250,000 because of the start of football season. Profile data is useful for recruiting, as a keepsake, for trainers and colleges. Digital Scout is looking for people who are interested in becoming high school sports reporters/bloggers.
If you want to discuss Digital Scout media licensing, software specs or blogging, you can reach Dan and his team of Sports Techie at [email protected]
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