April 12, 2012

Cluster Students Complete Consulting Project with COB Alum's Sports Technology Startup

by Tim Gusweiler

This April, the College of Business (CoB) Cluster students will celebrate the launch of the Jersey Watch Network - a new web service for youth sports leagues and teams.

They have a reason. Over the winter quarter, students completed a real-time consulting project with Athens-based Digital Edge Sports -- parent company of the Jersey Watch Network. Founded by CoB alum David Carter ('08), Digital Edge Sports is a homegrown company of Ohio University's Sports Administration program and a current client of TechGROWTH Ohio.

Digital Edge Sports' new initiative, the Jersey Watch Network, provides free, professional-grade websites for area sport organizations while engaging parents with a variety of interactive media, scores, highlights and social discussion.

"It's like Facebook for youth sports," said Carter. "We're serving youth leagues with an administrative website platform, and offering an exciting online destination for parents of young athletes. The services are completely free."

As part of this project, students conducted market research and provided go-to-market strategy for the launch of the Jersey Watch Network.

The students worked on the project for four weeks in five-person groups -- performing market assessments and customer segmentation research before delivering their recommendations. Throughout the project, students met with the Digital Edge Sports team to brainstorm ideas and ask questions. "Meeting with the client allowed us to directly provide feedback, ask questions and clarify their needs. This helped us produce a better proposal in the end," said Zach Scheimer, a junior studying Management Information Systems and Sports Management. At the end of the quarter, each team prepared a final presentation for the client and faculty members.

Although the initial scope of the project centered on market research and "go-to-market" strategies, students also provided feedback on the product features, user experience and competitive groups in the industry. According to Carter, "The teams worked incredibly hard and provided excellent suggestions to improve the product. It's always valuable to have creative minds involved on a new product and each team brought a unique perspective."

As an undergraduate business student, Carter participated in the Cluster project in 2007 and knows first-hand the value that real-life clients provide for the student experience. "I remember it clearly. We were presented with some challenging, open-ended, projects, and asked to go find solutions. It pushed us, as students, to think outside the box, work as a team and deliver under a time constraint. I think the current Cluster students experienced a similar situation with the Jersey Watch."

Carter also encouraged students to follow the progress of Digital Edge Sports and plans to offer practicum work opportunities to interested students. "Our team was able to learn a lot from the students and I hope the project taught the students something as well. I can't thank the faculty and students in the College of Business enough for helping to get the Jersey Watch Network up and running."

For more information on Digital Edge Sports and The Jersey Watch Network, visit www.DigitalEdgeSports.com and www.JerseyWatch.com.