By Andrew Alexander
In the ever-expanding world of social media, one company is determined to bridge the gap between athletes and fans.
Founded in June 2011 by former LSU shortstop Brian Wilhite, Sqor Sports is a trailblazing social media platform intent on allowing athletes to connect with fans, while monetizing their likeness in ways not previously utilized on other social media platforms.
“I discovered that there was a huge opportunity because my belief was that the world would grow tired of Facebook and Twitter and ESPN,” Wilhite said. “There would be a thirst for a social network dedicated to sports.”
“I observed that sports was a much bigger market in terms of sponsorship and advertising dollars. Athletes were building big social presences on social networks but not really benefitting from it. LeBron James has millions of fans on Facebook, but he doesn’t make any money off it. Facebook makes all the money.”
The market was ripe for change, and Wilhite was ready to seize opportunity.
“There was a real opportunity to build a technology platform that was focused on the athlete and partnered with the athlete to help them do more and create opportunities for them,” he said.
In order to gain credibility, Wilhite’s fledging athletic social media endeavor had to attract top-flight sports talent. Sqor Sports’ first major athletic partnership was with San Francisco Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum in April 2011, thanks to a connection forged from Wilhite’s former LSU teammate Jeff Reboulet, who shared the same agent as Lincecum.
Wilhite was next introduced to former NFL quarterback Brett Favre through another former teammate connection in 2011. Wilhite flew to Hattiesburg, Mississippi to meet with Favre, and the gunslinger was on board immediately. Four years later, Favre has been an integral part of the company, becoming the de facto face of Sqor Sports.
Sqor Sports attracts athletes through a unique revenue-sharing model unavailable through other major social media platforms.
“The reality is that when it comes to off-the-field income, most athletes don’t make a lot,” Wilhite said. “As fans we don’t think about that. Favre, Peyton Manning, Ronaldo, LeBron James, and others are the outliers and do well off the field.
“Unlike the other social networks that are out there and don’t provide much benefit to athletes from an off-the-field perspective, we share revenue with the athletes whenever their likeness is used.”
According to Sqor Sports, in 2014 the company “had a couple athletes who made six figures by working with us, and most of the athletes we work with will make at least $10,000.”
Lauren May, Sqor Sports Director of Marketing and Public Relations, advises athletes on various strategies to enhance their social media presence on Sqor Sports.
“I work with the athletes to help them optimize their social performance,” May said. “I give them suggestions about how to effectively post on the platform. It’s really fun to give them the ideas and see them executed and see the results immediately.”
May, a former broadcast journalist, joined Sqor Sports with a keen eye set on the future of digital sports enterprises online.
“Videos are king,” she explained. “Videos get the most engagement, and we recommend three videos and three images a week for our athletes.
Wilhite points to New York Giants punter Steve Weatherford as one of the early Sqor all-stars who have really embraced the new platform.
“Steve is awesome,” Wilhite praised the former New Orleans Saints punt. “He’s a power house, a very personable guy. He crushes it for us.”
Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Devon Still utilizes the platform to help raise money for his ailing daughter. Country music superstar Tim McGraw and former San Francisco 49ers coach and NFL Network analyst Steve Mariucci are just two of the non-athlete celebrities who have thrived in Sqor Sports.
“We started with the athletes, but now we’re seeing that if you’re in the business of sports, you’re using Sqor, which makes a lot of sense,” Wilhite said.
With over 2,000 athletes from every major sports league participating, Sqor Sports is on the verge on breaking through to the masses.
“I think all athletes will be with Sqor eventually,” May said. “I truly believe the Sqor is the next big thing.”
A 44-year-old from Jacksonville, Oregon, Wilhite attributes a lot of his current success to the years spent under former LSU head baseball coach Skip Bertman’s tutelage.
“The one thing that I did learn from my years at LSU was to never give up. I know what it feels like to win and that’s a great feeling.”
A member of the LSU baseball program from 1986-89 (and perpetual dog pile bottom dweller), Wilhite was a part of two College World Series teams and instrumental in laying the foundation for the modern LSU baseball juggernaut fans have come to know and love.
Check out www.Sqor.com to connect with your favorite athletes.