Cronkite students establish popular social media brand to promote athletes
Twin brothers Michael and Anthony Yero manage 2 social media brands that offer sports news at every level, from high school to the pros
Michael and Anthony Yero’s path to entrepreneurship began during their junior year of high school when their basketball team suffered a blowout loss to an opposing school.
The brothers played for the losing team in that game, but that didn’t deter them from interviewing a highly rated basketball recruit afterward who suited up for the opposing team and was considered the top basketball player in South Florida at the time.
That interview launched a social media brand that promotes sports news and athletes in Miami and Phoenix and has led to partnerships with major companies.
The twin brothers, who are third-year sports journalism majors at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, manage 305 Sports and Yero Step, two popular social media imprints that offer sports news and updates at every level, from high school to the professional leagues, on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok.
305 Sports, which provides sports news from their hometown of Miami, has amassed more than 43,000 followers on Instagram, more than 34,000 on TikTok, 4,369 on Twitter and 3,300 on Facebook.
The Yero Step site, which focuses on Phoenix area sports news, including updates from local high schools and Arizona State University teams, has more than 2,300 followers on Instagram.
The brothers, who graduated from Immaculata-LaSalle High School in Miami, are also poised to expand their brand into sports marketing and promotion.
In December, they partnered with Champs Sports to host a signing day event in Miami that helped increase exposure for local football recruits and garnered local news coverage. The event featured 12 athletes from the South Florida area who announced their college decisions that day and were given a $500 shopping spree at the store.
A desire to highlight athletes
305 Sports was born out of a desire to highlight the accomplishments of local athletes, drawing on their own experiences as high school basketball players, which helped them understand the culture of team sports and relate to other athletes.
The highly ranked recruit they interviewed, Devin Carter, now plays for Providence College.
“We interviewed him right after the game. We didn’t know what we were doing at the time,” Michael said. “We asked him what his favorite shoe was. We’ve definitely grown along the way.”
The brothers originally created a sports blog during their senior year where they covered high school games and wrote stories. They also created Facebook groups for the major professional and college teams in the area and posted content on those sites.
“We would get an average of 3,000 page views a day. That was our first sense of ‘OK, there’s an audience here,’ and even though we’re young, we’re hustling,” Anthony said.
They expanded their coverage the following summer to include football, capturing a wider audience in an area with a lot of die-hard fans and highly rated recruits. Their site eventually grew to include professional sports as well.
The brothers began focusing solely on social media after moving to Arizona and realizing they couldn’t maintain their pace of posting at least four stories per day on the website.
“‘We said, ‘How can we keep this going?’ And it was through social media. We’re really skilled with Photoshop; we know how to film with cameras on our phones. Some of our best clips have gotten millions of views just off of our phones,” Michael said.
The brothers credited the Cronkite School with helping them hone various skills such as interviewing, writing and appearing on camera, as well as learning journalistic principles.
“I feel like Cronkite has definitely helped me learn how to do things the right way when it comes to editing, attributing, sourcing and the ethical side,” Anthony said. “It’s really helped us see a massive increase in growth.”
Although switching to social media has allowed them to maintain their brand without having to write stories, it still requires a significant time commitment as the brothers balance entrepreneurship with college life.
The preparation begins the night before when they create drafts to post the following day. They usually wake up at 8 a.m. to continue preparation while checking their emails for Zoom press conference availability and other information related to the teams they cover.
They also coordinate with a team of photographers and videographers in Miami who attend games and edit content.
“We go through the news cycle during the week but have our drafts ready and have everything prepared, but during the day it’s whatever’s going on with the news cycle,” Anthony said. “If a guy gives his commitment, that’s something we’ll do spontaneously during the day.”
Expansion into sports marketing
The brothers have recently expanded into sports marketing and brand collaborations with major companies. The signing day event at Champs featured athletes who signed with major schools such as the University of Miami, The Ohio State University and Florida State University.
Rudy D. Vizcaino, the home-field marketing manager for Champs who organized the event, sought out the Yero brothers because he was looking to connect with the high school football community in South Florida and noticed that 305 Sports maintained a huge following with a lot of fan engagement.
“I noticed they were getting a lot of movement on their videos and on their pictures, and, more importantly, that the community that followed them was engaging with them,” Vizcaino said.
Most of the athletes at the event were four- and five-star recruits, with five stars being the highest rating. However, there were other players who signed with big-name schools and benefited from the exposure gained from appearing with other highly rated athletes.
“The exposure on signing day was huge,” said Frankie Tinilau, a three-star offensive tackle from Immaculata-LaSalle High School who signed with the University of Miami. “It was all new to me. Shaking hands with four and five stars was huge. It was a great time.”
Tinilau’s high school coach at La Salle, Helder Valle, connected him with the Yero brothers to help him gain more attention on social media. Tinilau was impressed with how the Yero brothers could easily connect with people from various backgrounds, as well as their sports knowledge.
“They can come into any room and they can click with anyone,” he said. “They know a lot about sports, they understand the social media side and they know what we like.”
The brothers envision building their brands into a full-fledged company, and they’re confident that their experiences, along with the lessons learned at Cronkite, will open endless possibilities.
“It’s the both of us putting in the same amount of work every single day on a consistent basis for almost the last three years,” Michael said.
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