As a husband, father of two daughters, and grandfather to a granddaughter, Butler quickly picked up on the massive discrepancies in coverage between men’s and women’s sports. He also realized how little coverage sports get in the Carolinas and Georgia compared to other states. With his wife serving as his photographer and his youngest daughter working as his assistant, Butler set out to change things.
Today, his company, Sports & Culture Media, is quickly becoming the go-to outlet for sports news locally and in neighboring states. His coverage not only elevates women and girls in sports, but he also frequently works with coaches and scouts looking for candidates for athletic scholarships.
And, oh yeah, Tyler also has a day job. So, every minute of the day is precious, and he keeps a tight schedule. OrangeWIP caught up with him in a rare space between his job, family time, and games.
How did you find your niche in the sports media industry?
After starting my podcast, I covered the Arkansas University team at the FCC women’s basketball tournament in Greenville. I fell in love with how they played, how good they were and how disciplined they were.
I was posting on Twitter, and it went crazy; everyone was so happy I was sharing how incredible these women are. A host from ESPN invited me to come on his show and talk sports, and they offered me an internship covering basketball at Furman. That’s when I realized there is a 1000% difference between how men’s and women’s sports are covered.
As I was covering high school girls’ basketball, I realized sometimes I’d be the only one at the game, so I started A1 Hoops, a company that only reports on women’s basketball. It’s me, a reporter, and a photographer/videographer, but we team up to cover as many girls as possible.
We go to so many games that now athletic directors reach out to me, and I talk to NFL and NBA scouts looking for kids to recommend for scholarships.
How do you identify talent?
I’ve built relationships with scouts and coaches, and they’ll tell me what they’re looking for. Then I go to games and look for kids to recommend. Most of the time, the kids don’t know I’m there or that I was involved, but it’s great seeing someone post that they got a scholarship. Everyone can’t go to Clemson, but there are a lot of great schools in the Upstate and so many scholarships. We just help them connect. We have one great sponsor, but I could do much more for the Upstate with more financing.
How have you had to develop your skills?
This is my passion, so I’ve just had to figure out how to operate. I started off just writing articles, but once I saw how social media worked, we started doing graphics and video clips because that’s what young people want to see. I also learned to make a schedule and try to find balance.
I put out posts most days, and I break a lot of news before ESPN. If I try to take time off social media, I get messages asking if I’m okay. People have come to depend on my posts, but my family depends on me too.
It's hard to balance everything, but I’m really passionate.
I want to make Spartanburg, Greenville, and Anderson look like Texas sports look. I want our videos to look like ESPN highlight clips. When we get there, I can’t imagine the impact we can make on these kids.
What’s your advice for other founders – and have you ever followed bad advice?
I got some bad advice early on from someone who had a similar company to mine, but they covered all kinds of events, not just sports. So, I tried to cover everything and got burned out quickly.
It was fun to cover the NBA and red-carpet events, but my heart is with these kids. Last year I cut out everything else and went back to the core of what I started the company to do: give kids a platform. I found my joy again.
My advice is, if you’re starting a business, look at the competition, but you have to find your own niche. Narrow it down to what you do best, master it, then the results will speak for themselves. If you’re going all over the place and doing twenty different things at once, it’s not necessarily good for you. Start small. Focus on one goal, and don’t move on until you’ve mastered it.
Written by Robin Howard