Zenon Thornton’s new business, ZSportsMedia, combines two of his passions: athletics and technology.
Thornton will film high school sports and stream them live or store them for future showings on a company website.
“I’m hoping to help the community, players, parents and relatives connect to the schools and sporting events,” Thornton said. “We want to be ‘it’ for high school sports, information and content.”
Streaming videos will allow any fan to tune in to the game, no matter where they are.
But keeping Bombers, Braves and Bulldogs entertained isn’t Thornton’s only goal. He also wants to get the kids in on the action.
Live networking websites like Twitter and Facebook mean kids can keep in touch with him and each other. They can also load their own user-created content to the advertising-driven site, he said.
“I’d love it if we could have kids Tweeting through sporting events,” said Thornton. “We want kids involved in this.”
Thornton said that once the site is turning a profit, he plans to create scholarships for students from local athletic conferences whether or not the students pursues athletics in college. He hopes to partner with some larger businesses to make those available.
“I grew up in a small town, I know how big sports are in small communities,” Thornton said. “Sports help keep some kids in school. We want to encourage that.”
Thornton, who grew up in Western Washington, has worked in the video game and graphic arts industry for companies like Saga, Atari and Humongous Entertainment.
He has coached baseball and basketball and now coaches his kids’ sports in the Richland School District.
“I’m combining my own passions for sports and technology,” he said. “This was a really good time to get into this business. It’s instinctive for me to use these tools to connect people.”
Though Thornton knows the popularity of football and basketball, he plans to give special attention to junior varsity and girls’ sports, which don’t get as much press coverage.
“We’re trying not to start too big,” he said. “There’s a lot going on out there and a lot of events and games to be at. It’s pretty cool.”
ZSportsMedia is not modeled after any specific site or organization, but he has taken cues from other groups in building it.
“I’ve talked to people who are planning on a much larger, state or national scope, but we want to be the main provider for this region, in the Columbia Basin and from Wenatchee to Walla Walla,” said Thornton, who moved to Richland last year.
The Big Nine athletic conference, which includes 4A teams in the Columbia Basin, has already signed on to give ZSportsMedia web casting rights for football, Thornton said.
The potential exists for athletic conferences or teams to hire him to record games and then post them to websites, he said.
Although Thornton is the only employee, he is contracting with videographers and broadcasters and would like to bring students and aspiring journalists in to the mix. He’s also open to helping local clubs and extracurricular groups increase their web presence.
“We want to figure out how to bring social networking tools and user-generated content, as well as professional content, together on high school sports,” Thornton said.
Ad sales, corporate partnerships and game DVD sales, and sales of recruiting videos or sports pictures will drive profits, Thornton said.
The beta version of the website is up at www.zsportsmedia.com .
Thornton is available at email@example.com.
Tags: Sports & Gaming