State Champs Sports Network has come a long way in its first 10 years.
The Southfield-based company got its start when Lou Bitonti was working at Chrysler managing the Jeep brand. Shortly after he left he started the high-school sports-centric broadcast company as a way to highlight Michigan’s emerging highlights.
“I wanted a show that focuses on all of the sports,” Bitonti says. “The kid that runs cross country or does swimming does as much as the kids that play football or basketball.”
State Champs Sports Network broadcasts local sports and feature TV shows, series, programming, and radio shows. Among its offerings are the State Champs! High School Sports Show, a weekly, half-hour TV program providing a comprehensive look at the athletic events, lives and accomplishments of Michigan’s high school athletes.
Starting last month, State Champs Sports Network launched a radio program, called High School Football Report, that airs weekly on CBS Detroit’s WXYT-AM 1270 from 9 to 11 a.m. each Saturday. The company also expanded its audience when its four-time Emmy-award-winning High School Sports Show! began airing on FOX Sports Detroit each Sunday from 9 to 9:30 a.m. It is also debuting a new television program called Extra Point Football Show! on WXYZ-TV Channel 7. It will air weekly each Sunday during the area’s high school football season for 10 weeks.
“We just started growing and we have a lot of shows,” Bitonti says.
All of this new programing has prompted a hiring spree at State Champs Sports Network. The company has hired a dozen people over the last year. It now has 14 full-time employees and another 15-20 independent contractors.
“We’re spreading the word out there,” Bitonti says. “We’re trying to keep this on a positive note. There are a lot of positive things happening in Michigan.”
Source: Lou Bitonti, founder of State Champs Sports Network
Writer: Jon Zemke
Read more about Metro Detroit’s growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.