Published on November 1st, 2018 | by Landon Buford0
Fanatics View’s Founder & President Taylor Jones “Changing The Sports Media Landscape Through Video”
Taylor Jones was born in Toronto, Canada and he is the Founder and President of Fanatics View, A sports & entertainment company based in Dallas, Texas. If you ask him why he chose to go with Founder and not CEO, Jones would tell you he prefers Founder and President because he has studied Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban who uses founder as a reminder to himself to always have vision. Jones points out, a CEO is not always the entrepreneur with the vision and typically executes the vision established by the founders.
Fanatics View is growing drastically on Social Media they have ten plus accounts on Instagram covering each sport which includes, boxing, baseball, basketball, football, hockey, golf, and fitness to name a few. Collectively, they’ve accumulated a social reach of over 500,000 followers and over 500,000,000 million content views. Jones talks about wanting to create a platform where highlights could showcase content that you might not see on some of these other outlets like Sportscenter or Fox Sports. For example, there might be a fight in an MLB game, but back then it wasn’t a guarantee it would be shown on the platform that was mentioned. So, he wanted to fix that problem, and that is how the idea for Fanatics View was born.
This was an era where Twitter was just text, and there was no such thing as Instagram video or Instagram as a whole. Jones is a massive baseball and fighting fan, whether that is boxing, wrestling, or bench-clearing brawls it was something that he wanted to see it and knew others thought the same. He started to formulate how he wants to approach this issue and created a website to watch sports on demand.
In a world that is transitioning away from traditional media and being more video-based content in the age group 18-30 demographic and Jones believes that his company is at the forefront of that revolution.
“Companies such as Facebook and multiple streaming service platforms have also addressed the obvious regarding video content starting to take over. Video content allows us to see the context of the conversation, while in the text form it can be taken out of context. Also, video content is not just a new trend and it is where we are headed as a society. We are video (Fanatics View) and that is how we consume content (as people). It is also the most engaging content as well,” said Jones. “I don’t see our company as news. We are entertainment focused on content sports fans want to see.”
Fanatics View has been featured on numerous mainstream platforms due to videos that captured interesting & unique content. Bill Goldberg calling out Brock Lesnar after he rips & blows nose in a Brock Lesnar T-Shirt. Another interview that went viral involved the always opinionated Lavar said “LeBron James is “too weak” in a 1-On-1 matchup with him.” Their video featuring Allen Iverson noting that Floyd Mayweather Jr. beat Conor McGregor and then came out and then played in a celebrity game.
“You beat a mother**** A** and you come out here and hoop?” said Iverson.
The most important thing that Jones told me that he wanted readers to take from this interview is this:
He has been an entrepreneur since the age of seventeen, whether that is selling CDs, DVDs, candy. Jones converted that hustle into a four-year stint in the Toronto rap game, which included starting his own artist management company and record label.
“I experienced entrepreneurship at an early stage, and I have taken those punches. I have had my teeth kicked in figuratively speaking, and I have seen and felt the bottom. It is why I am where I am today with Fanatics View because of my experience and hunger”
Jones also want our readers to know that “I’m a thinking man, of strategy and planning and one that that trusts his gut instincts,” said Jones.
How did you envision the direction you wanted Fanatics View to go in at the beginning?
I came up with the idea somewhere between 2012 and 2013. During this time, it was hard to watch sports content on demand this was pre-Instagram and Twitter video. There were a lot of incidents that caused bench-clearing brawls and I did not have the ability to watch them. I did not want to wait until it was featured on Sports Center. They might show it or might not and MLB did not want to put it on their website because they wouldn’t to promote it (then). I thought to myself why isn’t there a platform that showcased all sports video content? One that fans could watch on demand whenever they wanted to and as a quickly as possible. That is how it all came about and it scaled from there.
What are your thoughts about traditional media as it pertains to the demographics of 18-30?
I think traditional media is dead with the generation under 30 and I believe our company is at the forefront of that evolution. It is in full effect? Traditional media being completely dead, I would not say so yet you still need investigative journalism and platforms for it, but video content is the future. Companies like Facebook, who spoke about it as well as, mass video content is where we are headed as content consumers in society.
Where do you think the media shift started?
From a web standpoint I don’t think the shift has started and to my knowledge, we are the only sports media company consistently pumping out video content on the web in video format. So, I would say the shift in culture and media was when Instagram was launched. Once Instagram came in everyone really started posting videos and if you look at the league pages over the last three years Major League Baseball was not posting its highlights. Now it’s probably 60 percent of their content. NBA content is being posted everywhere and it is a free reign even on YouTube. You have these editors and creators creating their own highlights and I would say Instagram shifted the culture to video. It forced people’s hands and even the leagues who own the highlights to do the same. There is still a ways to go on Apps and Web moving forward.
View this post on Instagram
You had a couple of viral campaigns which includes your most recent featuring Lavar Ball. Other campaigns like the interview with Bill Goldberg sparked a conversation that would help Goldberg wrestle Brock Lesnar one last time. Was going viral something that you wanted to do going into those interviews?
I would say no because you can never control what goes viral. You can think something might go viral, but besides those campaigns, I thought seven to ten would have gone in that direction and it did not happen. A, you must define viral and B, “viral” in my opinion is out of your control. There are different levels of “viral” and you can’t just snap your fingers and go viral. Obviously, when you have access to someone like Goldberg and he has not been around in a while it has that capacity (to go viral) and it was also a family vibe with Simon Marcus – the connection was there to create great content. In regards, to Lavar (Ball) we did not know he was going to say LeBron is weak to us, you just don’t know what you have until you are in the moment and even then sometimes what you think is viral is only viral in its segmented market.
How do you want to you use your platform to inspire individuals not a part of your niche audience?
Our brand will continue to be a platform for creators and athletes. As we grow we will be able to provide more value for everyone. To me right now we are the most accomplished independent sports media company in the history of America, ever. The stuff we have been able to do has not been done before from credentials to going viral to working directly with athletes. Here is the kicker, we had no outside funding, our success has mostly been on my sweat of working 16 hours a day. I’m the sole founder and we only recently have had a COO, everyone else is a contractor or an intern. When you take that all into consideration, what I’m doing is unprecedented and I honestly don’t even care about accolades or whether you know it or not. Without giving any secrets, we are doing real gorilla marketing, hustling and strategizing – FV probably would not have been possible five years ago. It is me recognizing the times and the ability to think and work. As a wise man once said: “Vision is a gift and curse, a gift that you can see it, a curse that no one else can.”
You are from Toronto when did the city know Drake was not just talented as an actor, but he was musician?
This is hard to answer because in the industry we knew. A lot of people in the U.S. don’t know how hard it is to make it in Toronto in the entertainment industry, it’s harder than New York, Toronto has always had “the crab in the bucket mentality”, which has held that whole scene back even to this day. There has never been an infrastructure, to be honest with you. Fans in Toronto between 2006 and 2009 either A, did not know about Drake or B, did not take him seriously. I saw it coming, especially in the whole “replacement girl” era. As well, you could see the talent with Drake, also you could see it in terms of the whole scene to artists and producers. It was a powerful scene all that was missing was the business side.
How did you deal with the changes and the heartbreak at the beginning of your journey?
I got my teeth kicked in on multiple fronts and I’m honestly glad that it happened. I needed those experiences because I would not be where I am today without them, from my mind state to learning and growth. I think anyone going through hardship and trying to find themselves and their purpose. If you can, find a way to power through and take it one day at a time. My mindset is I want to get better every single day.
Your company has been featured on Mark Cuban’s story on Instagram. Is he someone that you would like to work in the future and are there any deals on the table?
We have not done anything with Mark, but he is someone that I would love to work with in some capacity. We’re obviously both in Dallas. He has been someone that I have always looked up to from afar. He is someone that I have studied, shout out to Mark for putting us on his story. Outside of that we have several deals on the table pending and as far as I’m concerned we are still in the seed round and I’m still pursuing offers and listening. We are looking at a lot of athletes and celebrities’ people with power and influence, but I operate every day as if no one is coming to help us, I genuinely believe that you don’t need a co-sign in 2018 to “make it” in entertainment.
Can you share with our audience how acquisitions work?
It is all a negotiation there are no rules per say, particularly when it comes to a media company and a lot of people are not aware media platforms need a lot more capital than traditional businesses do, it’s all about your audience and the trajectory of your growth and how that can convert that to ad dollars. It is not the easiest thing to assess. Look at a company like Vice, which has raised over a billion dollars. It’s a fascinating space. Any advice I would give someone in another space of business would almost be irrelevant because media investment is such a different space it literally apples and oranges. One thing I would say is that there are no rules and there is always room to negotiate and know your worth.
What do you look for when you are searching for employees and what other components are looking to add to your platform?
I am always looking to assess the future and I will not rule anything out. All cards are on the table as far as options and I want to scale to at least 50 to 100 employees in the next two years. I think if you do not adapt and change you will be left behind and that is not just a staffing perspective that is for everything. I always trust my gut instinct it hasn’t failed me yet.
What would be your all-time interviewee and the setting?
That is a great question! I would love to do something with Conor McGregor. I would also like to do something with Anthony Joshua. He is a boxer out of England and he is an international icon already. I will also tell you this, I recently wrote a letter to the commissioner of baseball Rob Manfred in regard to Baseball improving its digital content, marketing, and media experience. Not to disrespect anyone, but baseball is still in the stone ages when it comes to content and I would really like to do something with the top baseball players. From an NBA standpoint, we have done a lot of things with Dirk but something more intimate with him would be great, obviously, we want to work with the stars in any sport as well.
Snap Chat: fanaticsview