The New Platform Leverages the Company’s Relationships With 12,000 U.S. High Schools, Allowing Teams, Athletes and Coaches to Create Online Content and Get Published via STACK’s Various Media Properties
NEW YORK, NY–(Marketwire -11/02/11)- STACK Media, Inc., the nation’s leading multimedia company serving active sports participants, today announced the launch of STACK Varsity (www.stackvarsity.com), a social content platform that allows high school teams, athletes and coaches to create content and earn opportunities to be published in STACK Magazine and on the Company’s various digital properties. In addition, STACK announced a strategic alliance with Varsity Networks, Inc., a high school sports and Internet services company.
Growth of High School Sports
In 2010-11, participation in high school sports increased for the 22nd consecutive year, according to the annual High School Athletics Participation Survey conducted by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). Based on figures from the 50 state high school athletic associations and the District of Columbia (all members of NFHS), sports participation during the 2010-11 school year set another new record, totaling 7,667,955 student-athletes. The survey reported that 55.5 percent of students enrolled in U.S. high schools participate in sports. Further, according to NFHS, more fans attended high school basketball and football games than attended college and professional games combined. During the 2009-10 school year, attendance at high school sporting events — for the 16 sports with the highest participation rates — reached approximately 510 million: 468 million for regular season events and 42 million for state playoff contests.
Next Generation High School Sports Content Platform
Since its founding in 2005, STACK Media has focused on serving the needs of the nation’s high school student-athletes through its print publication, STACK Magazine, which is distributed at no cost directly to the athletes in response to requests from their athletic directors. STACK Magazine provides how-to information and advice that helps athletes get better at the sports they play and the lives they lead. Elite professional athletes such as LeBron James, Drew Brees, and Justin Verlander have graced STACK covers; and these and other featured athletes have shared insights on their training and nutrition plans, as well as their favorite off-the-field activities and interests such as gaming and movies.
In just six years, STACK Magazine has grown its distribution from 3,000 to more than 12,000 high schools; it is now invited into two-thirds of the nation’s high schools that have varsity athletic programs. Current circulation of 800,000 and readership of nearly 5 million make it the nation’s largest teen-focused magazine. STACK Media’s deep relationships with high schools through STACK Magazine have facilitated the launch of STACK Varsity, which enables high school teams, athletes and coaches to create content, communicate with their constituents and celebrate their successes online.
Nick Palazzo, STACK Media Co-Founder and CEO, said, “The scholastic sports space has lacked innovation, primarily because traditional media companies have been unable to forge content generating relationships with local high schools. STACK Varsity leverages our existing distribution agreements by empowering high schools to showcase their sports teams and promote their athletic accomplishments. Also, this platform will scale to power our other national media properties with truly relevant high school sports content.”
“Ever since we started the Company, we have been hearing two complaints from high school athletic directors and coaches,” said Chad Zimmerman, STACK Media Co-Founder, President and COO. “First, they have been continually frustrated by the lackluster and often erroneous national news coverage of their athletes and teams; and second, they want their student-athletes to get some recognition for their hard work and achievements on STACK Media platforms. STACK Varsity solves both of these issues.”
STACK Varsity Initial Success
Through a strategic partnership with Varsity Networks, Inc., STACK Varsity kicks off with participation by more than 10,000 teams, representing more than 6,000 high schools. This impressive level of engagement enabled STACK Media to create a new section in STACK Magazine, titled STACK Varsity, highlighting the most exciting accomplishments of member teams and schools. The STACK Varsity online platform, besides featuring top news stories, allows each member team to create its own branded website, a place to celebrate its achievements and communicate important news and updates to parents, alumni, fans and friends.
“We’re excited to be working with STACK Media to promote our high school teams, and to bring superior training and fitness services to our local communities,” said Paul Bauersfeld, President and CEO of Varsity Networks. “Our partnership with STACK creates an incredibly dynamic platform that will help expand the sites and enhance teams’ experiences on the web.”