XOS Expands Digital Scouting, Recruiting Services

Today’s scouting and recruiting business is a far cry from the cross-country road trips that assistant coaches once made to find their next great quarterback. The 21st century scouting business is digital, relying on cameras and lenses to provide hyper-zoom eyes on fields across the country. XOS Digital is helping to expand that business through PlayerOnDemand, a new digital scouting and recruiting service for collegiate athletic departments.

PlayerOnDemand is a Web-enabled video portal that will allow college coaching staffs to view and request highlights of high school and junior-college prospects, along with their school profiles, statistics, and player profiles, among other data. To ensure that all that content can be drawn from a single source, XOS has acquired five of the top scouting companies in the country: NorCal Football Scouting, The Forbes Report, Rising Stock Scouting, Scouting Evaluation Association, and Texas Sports Films.

“Under the XOS umbrella, we will now be providing content to the universities in a much more time-efficient manner than we ever have in the past,” says Gary Howard, general manager of XOS Digital’s high school and junior college division and founder/former president of NorCal Football Scouting. “Clients will be able to log in and get the content via the Web, and not only the footage but metadata added by our content team.”

Teams Across the Country
The workflow for XOS’s new services starts with dispatching teams of videographers throughout the country to acquire footage of the nation’s top players.

“We have our own nationwide film crews, which allow us to control the quality of the footage and have the most comprehensive coverage that we need,” Howard explains. “We also have field reps at schools throughout the country. Through those relationships, we’re able to choose quality footage directly from the schools themselves.”

Those film crews and field representatives currently represent 15,000 high schools and junior colleges in 43 states, including the main recruiting areas of California, Florida, Georgia, and Texas. Once the footage is acquired, the teams and reps export the footage and upload it into the PlayerOnDemand vault, where XOS can access, manipulate, and deliver the content through a variety of methods.

Data on the Data
Once the content comes into the vault, the XOS scouting department adds metadata to each file through the PlayerOnDemand system, so that every relevant piece of information — from high school statistics to the coach’s office address — will be embedded with the highlight or game footage. PlayerOnDemand will be integrated into the XOS Thunder coaching platform, so current Thunder clients can manage all of their digital assets in one place.

“Those who are not Thunder clients can receive the content through the methods that they have used before, either delivered through Windows Media files or DVDs,” Howard points out. “But our current XOS Thunder clients will have a head start.”

PlayerOnDemand is scheduled to be fully developed and integrated into the Thunder system in time for the American Football Coaches’ Association convention next January.

“We’ll have a lot more information at AFCA,” Howard says. “It’s being rolled out slowly so that we can teach it properly and develop it properly. We’re looking forward to rolling it out to a specific number of clients in the fall, and we will be full-blown by January 2011.”

Companion Digital Reports
As a companion to the PlayerOnDemand platform, the Forbes Digital Scouting Report will offer commentary, analysis, and news on the high school and junior-college athletes featured in PlayerOnDemand. Founded in 1988 by former Notre Dame Assistant Coach Terry Forbes, the Forbes Report will be redesigned and relaunched as a unit of XOS.

“It will continue to serve as the authoritative industry information source on the collegiate recruiting process and its prospects,” says Randy Eccker, co-founder of XOS Digital. “In addition, Terry will continue on as a member of the XOS team to bring his insights to the market.”

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