GRAND RAPIDS — A new acquisition for Grand Rapids-based VNN Inc. has the nationwide high school sports communications platform venturing into new territory.
VNN, which also has an office in Minneapolis and serves high school sports programs across the country, recently made its third acquisition of 2020. VNN purchased Wisconsin Sports Network, a media company that publishes wissports.net, a website for high school sports coverage.
VNN plans to hire four new employees to develop content for the website, including player rankings, standings, schedules, stats and season previews.
Until now VNN has focused on selling software to athletic directors and conferences across the country, equipping programs with digital tools for things like scheduling, social media updates, score reporting, fundraising and managing an athletic website.
While VNN trains and works directly with schools on how to best utilize the tools, the creation of content ultimately falls to athletic directors, coaches or student volunteers. With the acquisition of Wisconsin Sports Network, the company will generate its own content that can flow between wissports.net and member school websites.
“If a school uses VNN, they can (develop content) that can gather fire in their local communities and get popular and then funnel it up to a statewide coverage site with WSN, which has a whole editorial staff,” VNN Chief Marketing Officer Romy Glaze told MiBiz. “It will make that bigger at a state level, but at the same time, push it back down.”
Glazer said Wisconsin Sports Network would continue to operate as it has for nearly 20 years and will stick to the state of Wisconsin despite VNN’s nationwide reach. It will also serve as a test run to see what sort of value in-house content creation provides for VNN’s partner schools.
“We know that the WSN team is so impactful so we’re happy to start with them. If schools respond positively to this, this might be something you see in other states,” Glazer said. “At the moment, we don’t have any plans to — we want to see if this works.”
Earlier this year, VNN purchased Washington Prep Athletics Network, a small Lynden, Wash.-based company that provides data management tools for schools and conferences in the state. VNN also purchased online fundraising app RallyAroundUs this year.