Tony Vallario: Founder of SportCue

Tony Vallario is the founder and creator of the newest social networking platform, SportCue. I found SportCue via a recommendation I received over on LinkedIn for a new type of “Facebook” that is directed at those individuals within the sporting industry. What a brilliant idea! A social networking platform that is solely for those within the niche of sports.logo

SportCue is still just breaking into the market having launched only two weeks ago. Upon visiting the platform and signing up I immediately found myself pondering the potential it has for growth and success. I reached out to Tony and contacted him right away. I wanted to be the first to interview him about SportCue as well as ask him what his plans are for the company’s future.

Q.1. Tony, you created a new sports social networking platform that seems to be a mesh between LinkedIn and Facebook but that is for those individuals involved with a sports-related career. Can you tell us about SportCue in general? What made you decide to pursue such a project and what is your goal for SportsCue?

1) “Sportcue.copicm is an on-line social medium designed specifically for those either within, or looking to get involved in, the sport industry. Whether it be through rec, collegiate, semi-pro, pro, entrepreneurial business ventures, etc. revolving around sport, Sportcue.com is a platform with which individuals could connect with one another and share views, information, opinions, stories, pictures, etc. As you mentioned, similar to that of LinkedIn and Facebook, it truly is just a “concentrated and niche” social network.

What ultimately got me started on Sportcue.com is that I came up with an idea when I was in grad school about a business revolving around the recruitment of high school athletes because I personally loved to follow the recruitment of high school football (I used to intern the recruiting dept at Indiana University for the football team throughout the years as a student). I wanted to create a social network that would allow high school athletes to put themselves on the internet and connect with other high school athletes. Then maybe further down the road as this social network grows, collegiate athletic departments would use this platform as a tool to recruit student athletes to their university via searching through the athletes profile, stats, video, etc. Well, as I began creating the business plan for that venture I began to find that there was a tremendous amount of competition that I was unaware of at the time that already had a huge leg up on me (i.e takkle.com, Fox Sports was planning a site, as well as ESPN). So I knew all along that I wanted to do something in relation to sport because that’s my passion, but since that particular field was beginning to crowd pretty quickly, I started to think of other things. That’s when I came up with the idea for Sportcue.com. I knew that the business of sport was growing and was only going to increase its growth in tphotoshop-lighting-bulb-logo-icon33he near future.  That’s how I came up with the idea. I thought, “you know, there are truly a lot of people who are looking to break into the industry, or who are already in the industry and would love to communicate and talk with others in the business”. If I learned one thing from my time at Indiana, it was to always network, and what better way than to do that than through an on-line social network.

Honestly, Sportcue.com is truly still in its beta phase. Yes the site has been around for a few months, but I have big plans for this business. I want to add so many features to the site (i.e. articles, listings of jobs, links to collegiate educational programs that offer sport marketing, management, communication, etc. I want to add forums). There are really so many things that I want to implement into the site, but it will just take time.”

Q.2. SportCue is a very clean platform that is easy to navigate and includes a spot for a personal blog. Did you create this by yourself? In other words, do you have those computer and web design skills yourself or where did you turn to put together such a website?

2) “Yes, the sipicte looks “clean” so to speak, and I hate to say it, but I was certainly not the one who had the skill to create such a design. I laid out what i wanted in terms of features for the site and the platform was created from my ideas not from me (I only wish I could do something like that). The way the site was created was that my cousin, who is a wiz when it comes to computers and such, introduced me to one of his friends who said he could create the site for me for a small fee. I agreed and a few months later, Sportcue.com was up and running. Now I have to say, that I am currently working on trying to get someone new to come in and help take the site to the “level” with which I described above, and hopefully that won’t take me more than just a couple months to iron out.”

Q.3. I see your only 24 years of age, so you’re extremely young. Did you just finish college and get into this project of starting SportCue right away or what was your path to starting SportCue over the last few years? For those entrepreneurs that are just graduating college and whom wish to start their own sports related business, what’s their best first move?

3)” This may spicound funny, and I’m sure some people are going to hate me after they hear or read this, but I feel as if I’m almost old… Yes I’m 24, but I have big plans for this site and I don’t want to waste any time trying to get it to where I think it could and should be. So I’m constantly trying to think of things and implement things to Sportcue.com because I don’t want to have any regrets and I certainly don’t want time to pass me by so to speak. I wish I could have started this venture sooner and maybe it would have been a little further along right now, who knows? Anyway, I graduated undergrad from Indiana University with a BA in Sports Marketing and Management in 2007 and I stayed on to get my masters there in Sport Management (I graduated grad school in the summer of 2008). For any “young people” out there who wish to start there own sport related business, all I have to say is go for it; you honestly have nothing to lose (you will always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take). I’m sure there are countless great ideas floating around out there that revolve around sport, you just have to go after it. Design a business plan, do research, and just go for it… that’s truly the best advice I could give.”

Tony makes starting a social networking platform sound relatively easy with his casual descriptions of the process but I’m guessing he is just quite modest about his own work ethic… either way what a brilliant idea he had during this social networking era that we have just entered. With that said, lets recap Tony’s entreprenueral process to starting SportCue.

  1. Brainstorm Business ideas/Company
  2. Do research on that business idea/the company you want to create.
  3. Network. You have to in order to find business partners/help starting a company.
  4. Create a business plan (needs to be very detailed and is more difficult than suggested)
  5. Double check who your potential competitors are. Tony found he was up against ESPN if he stood with his first company idea.
  6. Try again. As the famous quote goes that Tony reminded us of: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Allen Iverson certainly understands that.

Thanks again to Tony Vallario for his time and for checking in. Make sure you’re networking at the right place and visit SportCue. Want more Basketball, social media, and the business? Follow @DinoGomez on Twitter.

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