Over the course of just a few short years, Sideline Power, LLC has made a name for itself within the team sports market, by offering scholastic sports coaches helpful technology solutions and a wide-array of hi-tech equipment – such as end-zone cameras, head sets, sideline replay systems and more – all designed to custom fit a team’s needs and budget.
Led by CEO and Managing Member, Matt Starr, Sideline Power has made big strides quickly in the school sports market, by identifying the needs of an underserved niche within team sports — the technology category — and then worked to develop a business model where they could become a sort of one-stop shop solution for coaches.
Sideline Power’s growth can be seen, not only by their 2015 move into a new and larger company facility, but even more so with the launch of a brand new website at www.SidelinePower.com. The new site was designed to showcase all the various products and services that they offer to coaches, while retaining the flexibility to grow their product line and add new services in the coming years ahead.
Despite having a full plate during a busy time of year in football, and handling all the extra duties that come with managing a company’s rapid growth, AFCA Weekly got a chance to sit down with Matt Starr to chat about Sideline Power’s quick rise as a business serving the school sports market.
AFCA Weekly: As a company, you’ve made a name for yourself in school sports in a short period of time. How long has Sideline Power been around? And what did you identify back then as an area of need in team sports that a new technology solutions company could step in and fill successfully?
Matt Starr, Sideline Power: We started as a business in 2011. The theory behind launching Sideline Power was that there really wasn’t one, sole company out there serving ALL of a coach’s technology needs as a one-stop provider for their team.
We felt that there wasn’t one, true expert in the industry that a coach could go to for answers for all their needs – be it end-zone cameras, sideline headsets and communication systems, the newer sideline replay systems or any of those types of things – and could do so within their athletic budgets, be it a small school or a larger enrollment school.
If you’re a smaller school that couldn’t afford the high-dollar headsets, we could help you find a system that would fit your needs. We felt that we could be a technology company who could carry the new systems, but yet could also refurbish older headset systems and offer trade-in programs that could help a team acquire a working, dependable headset, at a net price that fit their program’s budget.
Or let’s say you were a school who just spent budget money on something, and yet also needed a new end-zone camera, and you now couldn’t afford a new $5,000 or $6,000 camera system – we knew that we could be a resource to find alternative solutions at lower costs.
At the same time, as a company, we also had the industry expertise and connections to supply a larger school with a top-of-the-line sideline headset system and higher-end, end-zone camera, as well.
We knew that, as Sideline Power, we could step in and serve this niche area of need – a need that was sizable and growing each year. And we are happy to report that we were proven correct.
AFCA Weekly: One of the things that has helped you as a technology solutions business, is not only your knowledge and expertise, but also the fact that you are still an active coach in school sports, correct?
Matt Starr, Sideline Power: Yes, I’ve been a high school basketball coach for over ten years in Nebraska – coaching has always been a passion of mine. I’ve also been involved in football, both as a high school player and I also did some coaching. More importantly, as an adult, I worked within the football market for quite a few years, working for a software company that used to sell programs that broke down game film for football teams. That software company was sold to one of its competitors in 2011, and I helped launch Sideline Power shortly thereafter.
One of the benefits of being a coach, combined with my professional background of selling technology products to coaches, is that I am in touch and aware of the day-to-day problems and budgetary challenges that a coach faces today in the world of team sports.
Not only as it pertains to budgets – which, of course, is a primary concern – but even more importantly, is the fact that if a coach utilizes technology, it can save them precious time in their coaching duties. There is nothing more valuable to a coach than his or her time.
Technology is one area where we can save coaches a lot of time. There are systems and equipment out there that are easy to use and offer coaches a huge savings in both their personal time and man-hours on the job.
AFCA Weekly: As someone with both a coaching and technology background in team sports, what are some of the key technological changes and innovations that you’ve seen come along in recent years? And how have those advancements impacted how teams and coaches utilize technology on a daily basis?
Matt Starr, Sideline Power: Technology has developed so much, and it’s impacted everything that we as coaches do, on a game-to-game, and practice-to-practice basis.
Technology has radically improved over the last ten years, and heck, even over the last 5 years – we’ve seen dramatic improvements in both the technology that’s on the market now, and how coaches utilize it. Coaches are much more tech savvy that they ever used to be.
It’s amazing. There is technology available now that allows football coaches to look at, analyze and study sideline-replay during games — on a portable, wireless device. It’s a system we carry called Sideline Replay.
The improvements in end-zone cameras are especially astonishing. Ten years ago, only the most-elite high school programs possessed their own end-zone camera. Today, I’d estimate that, more than 50-percent of all high-school programs currently utilize an end-zone camera system.
End-zone camera systems are now affordable for any budget and you get HD quality video that portable, easy to download and easy to edit. This is a massive technological improvement and makes use of end-zone camera systems a practical reality for all teams.
AFCA Weekly: As a Sideline Power technology expert, when you first begin to work with a coach who’s a new customer, what are some of the things you are evaluating? What questions are you asking, as you explore how Sideline Power may provide technology solutions for their team?
Matt Starr, Sideline Power: Along with asking them about the type of equipment that they are currently using at the school, available budget is always a primary factor, of course.
But after awhile, you can get a real feel for what a school needs – based on the size of the school, where the school is located, how many coaches they have on their coaching staff, and so forth – with experience in this industry, you can begin to formulate the type of solutions that best fit a coach’s needs almost immediately.
Once we know about the type of product that may fit their parameters, we then begin to explore a little deeper — and get into specific things pertaining to the functionality of exactly what they need in a system. If a coach is looking for a head-set communication system, for example, we discuss how they communicate during games. Do they need headsets with a push-and-talk system that accommodates 2-to-3 coaches? Or do they need an open-line type of communication system?
We give coaches our honest opinions based on what we know works for schools and teams of comparable programs. Some coaches come in and they want the Ferrari of sideline communication systems? Other coaches know their budgets, know how their staff uses equipment and have a realistic vision for what they want and need. At Sideline Power, we can help coaches either way.
Sideline Power (PHONE): 800.496.4290
Sideline Power (E-Mail): Sales@SidelinePower.com
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Sideline Power on Facebook: Facebook.com/SidelinePower