When it first started, VERT’s mission was to be a “bragging product” — something that a teenage athlete could use to measure their vertical jump and then show off to their friends.
That iteration of the product didn’t last long after the company pivoted towards a product that could be used by both volleyball players and coaches. Not only could the players see how high they were jumping, but coaches could also monitor the number of jumps they were taking during a game and see how much more force was being exerted on a player.
Now, the company has leveraged its technical success at over 350 college programs to be able to offer a new kind of stat to fans who are either at the match or watching on TV. Instead of exit velocity like baseball, it’s the height of one’s vertical.
“Over the course of the last few NCAA Women’s Volleyball Final Fours, we have partnered with ESPN to showcase the vertical jump stats on their broadcast of the event,” said Patrick Lillis, data and marketing manager at VERT. “We have been able to see success and an increased fan interest in these kinds of stats.”
— Ole Miss Volleyball (@OleMissVB) September 9, 2018
These next-gen stats have also transitioned well to experiential opportunities, an area that Lillis and the team at VERT see vast potential in as they head into 2019 and beyond.
“During the season, there are about 2-3 club volleyball tournaments a month from January until July. Alongside one of our partners, AcuSpike, we have put together a 30’ x 30’ activation space that allows girls to jump up, spike a ball, and get their vertical jump numbers in real time.”
While having a presence at club volleyball tournaments is key for their target demo and their business, they have found themselves working closely with brands over the last year or so.
Working for the likes of Adidas, Red Bull, and WaWa, the company has found that while the data it is collecting for the teams and coaches is important, players and people who may not need the data every day are enjoying it as a type of experience that they can then share.
The product that was once supposed to be a bragging product is now finding success essentially doing just that. Not planned, the opportunity arose from VERT evolving over time.
Percolating into college athletics, VERT has worked alongside the Texas Tech marketing department to bring fans the chance to see how their vertical stacks up against the women’s basketball team.
“At Texas Tech, the department has set up an area where fans can not only see how high they jump, but also see if they can get anywhere close to the ladies on the team,” said Lillis. “We have their real verticals in there. It’s an easy and relevant way for them to activate and one that is memorable and easily shareable from a fans perspective.”
While its name may suggest the tool only measures someones vertical, Vert also focuses on measuring the amount of force someone is exerting, giving it the ability to be used across activations where fans might be throwing a football, baseball, or even swinging a tennis racquet.
The goal? Provide a solution that could give a college athletic program the opportunity to not only help its student-athletes, but also provide new experiences for fans and sponsors.
“We can tell an administrator that they are going to get an opportunity to help the student-athletes by tracking their health and wellbeing, help the coaches by providing them with extra data, show the fans a completely new and unique experience and also give the sponsors an opportunity to bring in different eyeballs.”