Colonial Forge High School Wrestling
Bill Swink is the head wrestling coach and architect of national powerhouse Colonial Forge High School Wrestling. He had a solid program in 2009 when Jim Harshaw approached him about using the Riot Marketing system for his team. With an active booster club and strong fundraising, Coach Swink was not initially drawn to Riot. “The booster club’s focus was more on raising funds than communication,”commented the coach. “Once I explained to them that through promotion and building a fan base we would raise more money, they had a clearer picture.” After spending an evening with Bill and three other boosters, Jim convinced them to try Riot for a year.
They saw immediate results. In their first full year implementing Riot, their event attendance increased on average 5-10% “and sometimes more.” They drew their highest attendance ever at a dual meet. Further, Athletic Director Brian Collier informed Bill that gate revenues for a single Junior Varsity event increased by approximately $300 over the previous season. “It also helped in recruiting athletes to the team. We typically have 50-55 wrestlers come out for wrestling. This year we had 78! There is nothing else to attribute this to. We’ve done nothing different other than implement Riot.”
CFHS wrestling has strengthened the connection between it’s program and it’s fans too. “Our parents and fans love the weekly email update. I have an ex-student (non wrestler) who lives in Alabama. She looks forward to the email each week.”
Finally, through stronger communication with his team, preseason practice attendance tripled.
For CFHS wrestling, Riot has increased attendance, gate revenue, participation and alumni/fan relations and their fan base continues to grow with Riot.
Virginia Basketball Academy
Ben D’Allesandro is the executive director of the non-profit Virginia Basketball Academy (VABA). VABA’s mission is to build character and shape lives through the sport of basketball. Ben’s success as a Division I basketball player and subsequent Divsion I coach demonstrate his personal capabilities and drive to succeed.
Before signing up for Riot, they knew that many of their families relied on social media for information. Their lack of presence in these areas was only growing more apparent. “We knew that our time and knowledge was limited when it came to this realm,” Ben explained. “The Riot system solves this almost overnight.”
VABA’s expectations for Riot were “very high.” D’Allesandro claims that Riot more than exceeded them. “Honestly, we lacked so much knowledge about what our shortfalls were that we had very little idea of what to expect. The ideas that we did have
were trivial compared to what we discovered as Riot educated us about the “social network culture” and how we were now developing a presence in ways we never knew possible. We hoped that Riot would put VABA smack in the middle of the “social network world” of this generation, and Riot delivered on their promise beyond what we knew was possible.”
In terms of revenue, D’Allesandro claims that Riot has helped retain membership. Reducing churn rate is of key importance to organizations dependent upon retaining membership.
Further, he feels that Riot has improved their professional approach to communication.
“Riot is as simple as it gets. Anyone who knows how to use email can use Riot. For technology this is as user friendly and useful as it gets. Riot is a technological miracle.”
VABA continues to utilize Riot regularly to share their mission, vision and values while increasing communication and retaining members.
World Class Wrestling School
Mike DeRoehn, the recipient of USA Wrestling’s 2010 Junior Greco Roman Developmental Coach of the Year award, is one of the most respected coaches in the nation. He founded the World Class Wrestling School, a for-profit business, to help him continue to work with scholastic athletes.
Mike learned about Riot Sports Marketing in the fall of 2009 when he was just about to open the doors to his new wrestling school. “I knew from the beginning that this just made sense. I know the importance of communication and using technology. It was a no-brainer.”
Mike was looking for help in getting the information out there. He understands that he is a wrestling coach but being a marketer is essential.
“At first we were having a hard time just getting the word out, getting some information in the paper, getting them to print a press release. [...]The very first week we signed up for Riot Sports Marketing, there were three articles in three different newspapers. This thing works. It was so exciting.”
In his second year with Riot, he feels that the marketing system has been an in
tegral part of his success. “We started in September of 2009 with Riot. By July we had a waiting list to get into the school.
“A direct benefit that we experience is that Riot helps us reach people from a broad geographic range. We have kids who drive in from an hour north of us and an hour south of us.” He went on to comment that Riot’s one-step system saves him a lot of time that he can now spend building his business in other ways. Further, because of it’s simplicity, he gets information out through multiple channels that he would not normally have done otherwise.
Dearborn Heights Wrestling (youth, middle school and high school)
Scott Bergeron coaches at a small youth wrestling club in Dearborn Heights, MI. He is the type of coach who is always looking to improve. He travels to coaches clinics and absorbs as much information as possible to make his program better. He understood that money was a big driving force in his program. And he understood that communication was the key to raising money.
Scott was looking for a way to tie communication tools, participation, and fundraising together when he first learned about Riot. “Initially, I didn’t think our club would go for it, but they are starting to see the effects that I promised them through increased donations to our annual campaign and more hole sponsors.”
“Before Riot we were struggling to grow our club numbers as well as our revenue to provide opportunities and equipment for our athletes. RSM made us look at our program in a whole new way. We’re not just coaches but promoters of our program. We had more people at our golf outing and more hole sponsors. Riot Sports Marketing gets people to start talking about your program.”
The Dearborn Heights Wrestling golf outing grew from 25 to 34 hole sponsors at $100 per sponsor for a fundraising increase of $900 from one event. “The value of a sponsorship increased dramatically since we promoted our sponsors through Facebook, Twitter, our newsletter and our website,” explained Scott.
Because they are able to more easily share their story to their community, they have received larger amounts of donations than ever. “One gentlemen donor that we hadn’t heard from in years came back to philanthropy because of our communications. He sent us $300 because he liked the fact that we were working with kids at the youth level.”
They are able to effectively engage their fans with live updates through the Riot one-step Facebook/Twitter updating tool. “This is by far our favorite feature. It engages the fans and we can tell because almost every match update we send gets several “likes” and a comments.
Those are tangible results of community engagement.”
“We are just starting to scratch the surface here.”
Prior to using Riot, head coach Ronald Gatlin opened up the gym for his ranking matches and had about 10 families come to support their own kids… no students and no administration.
One year later and it was a much different story! Ronald signed up for Riot 8 months ago.
“Eight months of Riot, and me posting every once in a while, not really stressing about it and getting to it when I could, in less than 24 hours we had over 500 friend requests on Facebook, most of which were the student body.”
Just as he did three years ago at his “traditional” ranking matches, he opened up the gym doors. This time he put somewhere between 150 and 200 people in the stands and about half of them were students.
“I really believe that this will continue to grow and it is largely due to the fact we are promoting our sport through Riot!”
In addition to Riot, Ronald also started making a few of his boys run the spirit flags at football games and he created a “mascot” like the one at Cornel. So during the football season they were on the football field supporting the football team and he had a kid in a singlet, headgear, and blue suit working the crowds. He created a Facebook page for the blue guy in addition to his Club page.
Riot helps clients grow their Facebook Pages!
- Median Facebook Page has 218 “Likes”*
- Median Riot client Facebook Page has 506 likes
*from sysomos.com www.sysomos.com
Riot clients’ newsletters get read!
- Average email newsletter open rate: 17.9%*
- Riot clients’ email newsletter open rate 43.4%
Riot clients’ newsletter readers take action!
- Average email newsletter click rate: 3.9%*
- Riot clients’ email newsletter click rate 11.2%
*sports industry avg via Mailchimp
“The concept is genius!”
Virginia Basketball Academy
“Riot is the future of sports marketing. I want it for every one of my programs.”
D-III university in the midwest
“Riot provides programs with a core set of tools that are essential to fundraising, marketing your team and overall program development.”
Head Wrestling Coach
University of Virginia
“I met personally with Jim Harshaw to find out what Riot Sports Marketing was all about and how it could help my wrestling team. All I can say is, ‘WOW!’ I was totally blown away!
5x PA Coach of the Year, the only coach in PA to lead three different schools to a state team title
Head Wrestling Coach
Nazareth High School (PA)
“I am completely blown away by the RIOT Sports Marketing program. Coach Harshaw is obviously a forward thinking individual and has now provided us all with a cost-effective method of marketing and promoting our programs. I feel RIOT has found the missing piece to the puzzle”
Head Wrestling Coach
World Class Wrestling School