By: Mike Mackin, @Mmackin17
Front Office Sports is pleased to have sat down with Robert Letskus, founder of SBTV Nation, a daily show dedicated to everything sports: odds, picks, fantasy updates and general sporting news. SBTV Nation, formerly known as Sports Bettor’s TV, got its start roughly eighteen months ago when Robert decided to make the transition from the real estate market to the sports-media world. “Real estate was okay for me, but it wasn’t something I was absolutely infatuated with. What I was really infatuated with was sports. Many times, I’d get off work and immediately sit down and watch a game, check fantasy stats, look at the latest betting lines; really anything to do with sports.” Taking that passion, he looked for a new way to satisfy his urge to do something that he loved, and sure enough, he found his calling.
Starting the company by himself, there were no glamorous recording rooms or state-of-the-art equipment; he would use his phone to record his videos, which would then be uploaded to YouTube. The very first video only received two views during the first eight hours after the upload, which Robert stated was very frustrating. In an effort to expand his reach to more viewers, he turned to other social media platforms. “I started sharing the content as much as possible and sure enough, it started getting passed around. In a matter of two days that very first video had over two thousand views.”
He looked to various outside sources to help aid his transition from the real estate market to the world of digital sports media. “I read a few self-help, self-motivating books on positive thinking and to get myself acclimated with social media. I learned various techniques on how to do things, what to do, what not to do, things like that.” Coming with no entrepreneurial experience previously, he took the advice from outside sources and people with similar interests and started to implement that advice into his business. Working as a team of one, he also stressed the importance of hard work. “I’d spend hours on social media interacting with people, and that was probably the single biggest factor that helped the company get off the ground.”
Being unique in SBTV’s offerings was another factor that contributed to the success of the company which can be used by any individual as well. “With the mainstream media, you hear all of the big stories and articles, but you never get a more focused conversation with fan interaction. Our uniqueness in what we offer and talk about on a daily basis is something you can’t find everywhere, which has helped us gain our following.” The same goes for any professional as well. Put a few hundred applicants together and a very large majority of them will have the same basic skills. People need to find that skill, experience or trait that defines who they are that will make them stand out among a crowd and work on marketing that uniqueness to others.
In going through the growing pains of SBTV Nation to now with the business continually expanding, he has some general advice for dealing with comments from the critics along the way. Similar to the target being on the back of the best team or player in the league, there may be some negative comments about how things are being done or how to level out the success. Individuals shouldn’t necessarily ignore those comments, as some of them might actually be helpful to improving how things are done, but he stresses the importance of being able to laugh it off and look past some of the remarks. “When people start seeing success or start creating a buzz, you’re going to get people who might not agree with what you do; you might get some negative talk start to come your way. Use it to your advantage; respond in a positive manner like, ‘Hey, thanks for listening! We appreciate it!’ Anyone that comments on your product, you do as best as you can to get back to them, no matter how busy you are.” Because of that, SBTV Nation has experienced continuous success over the past year and a half, growing the staff from just Robert to a team of hosts and reporters that host well-known athletes and celebrities on a regular basis.
Consistent with many others in the sports industry, Robert stresses the importance of networking and using social media to do so. Social media continues to be the fastest and most efficient way to spread information, so aspiring professionals should use it to their advantage. Search for people with similar interests at all professional levels and begin interacting with them. While social media can be good for the rapid distribution of information, the negative posts can spread just as fast, so individuals need to be mindful as to what they are posting. “Whenever you put something out there, it’s out there for the world to see, so if you think something might be a little questionable, you just have to remember that you’re putting your own personal stamp on everything. Because of that, you need to pay a strong amount of attention to detail.” Going beyond social media, website and video creation is a huge advantage as well. “You might only get one or two views, but you could get a couple thousand; you’ll never know until you try.”
To further your networking, get out and meet people. The best way to get someone to remember is to leave a good, lasting impression on somebody. He recommends creating some personal business cards as well. This allows them to interact with you personally during the exchange of the cards, but it also gives them easy access to all of your contact information if they were to ever need it and vice versa, because you never know who you’re going to run in to and when. “When creating a company or even just marketing yourself, make sure you stay consistent with what the mission is and really put your own personal stamp on everything you do throughout that process.”
We would like to thank Robert Letskus for his time. If you would like to connect with Robert further, follow him on Twitter @SBTVNation.