Envision Sports Media was founded in Southwest Florida in early 2010 by Jason Roberts – in cooperation with Katie Carlson – as an extension of work Jason had previously done writing for various Internet-based sites on the subject of college football and in conjunction with his wife, Elle Principe-Roberts, in a former sports media experiment called PRISM Press Group.
Moved to try and blend a traditional, journalistic style of writing with original quality sports photography, Jason set about establishing relationships with local prep groups and colleges / universities as a means of both gaining valuable experience and testing whether or not such a venture could succeed on a long-term basis. Associations with a local prep football combine provided an initial outlet for Jason’s written pieces, while a developing relationship with the University of South Florida began taking shape and offering subject matter to capture photographically. Stops in nearby Orlando by ESPN Rise and the EA Sports Elite 11 Quarterback Camps opened the door for expanded coverage of collegiate football recruiting, which initiated a much-broader interest in the work Envision Sports Media was doing. Coverage of additional ESPN Rise events – the inaugural Gridiron Kings and second-annual Under Armour All-American High School Football Game – soon worked their way into the fold for Envision Sports Media, followed by allowances from Florida Atlantic University and Florida State University to photograph their respective football programs.
By early 2010, Envision Sports Media had earned the right to be on the sidelines for Bobby Bowden’s last game as head coach of the Seminoles in that January’s Gator Bowl and been cleared by the East-West Shrine Game and Under Armour Senior Bowl as well.
Things progressed forward quickly and prepared those involved for the next significant step Envision Sports Media would make in 2011.
The fall of 2010 provided an interesting opportunity for Envision Sports Media – its first offer to photograph an event for pay. October found Jason trudging about the Waterlefe Golf and Country Club in Bradenton, Florida capturing images of a women’s golf invitational USF was holding as part of the NCAA’s fall preview series. Jason’s work was well-received and additional offers to photograph men’s and women’s golf eventually landed Envision Sports Media bids to photograph the Big East Championship at Inverness Golf and Country Club in April. In the meantime, baseball and softball non-conference schedules provided Envision Sports Media contracts to cover matchups for Michigan State, Quinnipiac, St. John’s, Dartmouth and Winthrop through the months of February and March.
Katie, meanwhile, provided mainstay coverage of many Florida State League team’s, with a primary focus on the Bradenton Marauders.
April’s Big East Championship in golf came and went, but drew the attention of programs involved in NCAA Division I and Division III men’s and women’s post-season play, with Envision Sports Media shooting multiple tournaments for the Atlantic 10 and Northeast conferences, as well as regional events in Daytona Beach and championships in Howey-In-The-Hills, Florida, College Station, Texas and Stillwater, Oklahoma.
By May of 2011, it became clear Jason had a decision to make. Clearly identifiable was a need for colleges and universities to be provided quality written and photographic material via a pricing structure that took into account the budgets of each respective client Envision Sports Media made contact with. That demand also presented a potential schedule of coverage that called into question whether or not Envision Sports Media should transition toward full-time operation. After much thought and debate, it was determined Jason would leave his four-year stint at a local Baptist church to try and expand the role Envision Sports Media hoped to play, especially in the arena of collegiate athletics. Jason left the church in mid-May and quickly hit the road to try and drum up enough financial resources to stay afloat throughout the summer, not only covering the aforementioned golf tournaments, but also stopping along the way to photograph Wright State and University of California – Irvine in the NCAA Division I Baseball regionals and super regionals in College Station and Charlottesville, Virginia.
A wholesale marketing campaign became the main focus of the remainder of the summer, with Jason working feverishly to schedule as far in advance events planned for the upcoming 2011-2012 academic calendar.
Katie, in the meantime, began attending law school at the University of Florida in Gainsville, Florida.
Persistence eventually paid off, with Envision Sports Media asked to photograph football for Boston College, Central Michigan, Duke, Tulane and New Mexico State, volleyball for Furman, Bowling Green, Maryland-Eastern Shore, LaGrange College and Barry University, soccer for the University of South Florida, Notre Dame and Chico State and basketball for Tennessee Tech, Vermont, Belmont, Longwood, UC Bakersfield and Fordham.
In November of 2011, the State College of Florida, with a main campus in Bradenton, Florida, agreed to have Envision Sports Media come on board as its official photographers.
Spring 2012 delivered a number of return clients to the Envision Sports Media fold, but also saw an expansion of teams covered during the traditional “spring training” periods for NCAA softball throughout the state of Florida. Illinois State came on board with an extended contract that reached across two prominent tournaments, Ohio State asked ESM to provide imagery from the Citrus Classic in Kissimmee, Florida, Penn State utilized Jason for games against USF and Virginia Tech and, ultimately, Jason earned the opportunity to shoot for the University of Florida, University of Central Florida and Hofstra University in the weeks leading up to and including the NCAA Division I softball championship. Jason also ended up serving as USF’s official photographer at the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Jason continues to work to this day to expand Envision Sports Media’s outreach far beyond the state of Florida, with current clientele located throughout much of the United States. (Click HERE for an updated list of universities ESM has been hired by for photographic services.)
The additions of associate photographers Frank Mattia, Andy Mitchell, Rachael Roeten and Shane Roper have also expanded the geographic realm within which ESM is able to offer its services, with all four having previously served as representatives of Envision Sports Media at such high-profile events as the ACC Football Championship Game, Chick-Fil-A Kickoff and Bowl Game, AdvoCare Texas Kickoff Game, AdvoCare Cowboys Classic, Texas Bowl, Heart of Dallas Bowl, R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, Alamo Bowl, Outback Bowl, NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Basketball Regionals, ACC Baseball Championships and NCAA Division I Baseball Regionals.
State College of Florida and the University of South Florida have also requested Jason to provide head and team shots for various men’s and women’s athletic programs.
Questions regarding Envision Sports Media’s story? Contact Jason Roberts by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone, 941-373-5925.