Boutique digital firm WMT scores big wins with Clemson, Ohio State
College sports were nowhere on WMT’s radar when the small technology firm started out six years ago. Now the company owns the digital rights for two powerhouse brands in college sports.
Positioning itself as a boutique firm that would deliver high-end service and customization, WMT knocked off industry leader Sidearm Sports in a classic David versus Goliath upset to win digital rights at Clemson and Ohio State. With the addition of the Tigers and Buckeyes, whose revamped websites went live last week, WMT now manages four school sites with a fifth, Georgia Tech, going live later this month.
WMT College Clients
“The goal is to stay boutique and not be a volume provider,” said WMT founder and managing director Andres Focil, who oversees a staff of 21 based in Miami, most of whom are engineers.
Sidearm, by comparison, manages 260 sites for NCAA Division I schools and conferences, and 1,100 sites overall. Sidearm will relaunch 67 new websites this summer; WMT three.
But it’s the two that WMT won that has the industry buzzing about a new player in the aftermath of Sidearm’s partnership with CBS Interactive, which combined the two giants in the college digital space.
“It might seem like a bit of a risk, but it’s a calculated risk,” said Pat Kindig, Ohio State’s assistant athletic director, digital assets. “We felt like WMT gave us more of a chance to stand out and break away from the crowd.”
WMT was founded in 2012 by Focil, 31, who came with his family to the United States from his home country of Ecuador as a teenager. The company he founded after studying business at the University of Miami was intended to work with clients on digital marketing techniques, which led to a digital marketing deal with the Hurricanes’ athletic department and a first foray into college sports.
In 2014, Arkansas became WMT’s first full-service website client through a relationship Focil had with Chris Freet, a former Miami marketer who joined the Razorbacks’ staff that year.
The firm, mostly known for its search-engine optimization, pitched Clemson and Ohio State on a website that could evolve and be flexible and not be a template.