RANCH CORDOVA — MaxPreps, America’s top online source for high school sports, held its 10-year anniversary with Saturday’s dinner-dance celebration at Rancho Cordova’s Marriott Hotel.
Estimates, according to MaxPrep’s office/human resources manager Deb Finneran, placed 140 people at the event, the majority connected to the 50 employees who run the day-to-day operations at its Cameron Park location.
MaxPreps, which began in 2002 in Cameron Park, was founded by Andy Beal, its current President. The company was acquired by CBS in 2007 and has evolved from its original state of an exclusive desktop operation on the Internet.
“It’s a really cool milestone considering all the risks: starting up, going through a merger and keeping it in Cameron Park — surviving all the travails is quite an accomplishment,” Beal said.
Ten years ago, Beal launched SacPreps, pitching his concept to Sacramento-area football coaches with the hopes of building a mutually exclusive product. He took with him to that initial meeting an understanding of the importance that his audience embrace the idea.
“We knew we had to have some degree of success to build momentum … if it wasn’t a good start there’d be no second chance so there was a tremendous amount of pressure to get it right,” Beal said.
After the first week of the 2002 prep football season, two-thirds of the area coaches were on board — after three weeks it was 53 out of 55 and Beal knew he was on the right path.
Before taking the steps to go national, Beal’s focus was at the regional level.
“It was a series of steps that took us nationwide. We had to make sure we had enough resources to do it well and we wanted to get the West Coast right before tackling other areas,” Beal said.
He’s still humbled by Lee and Kathy Rees’ investment of millions of dollars to sustain MaxPreps in its early growth stages — and their belief in him and his business plan. During his talk at Saturday’s event, Beal asked those in attendance to stand and acknowledge the Rees’ contributions and they, in turn, saw the many lives they’ve impacted.
Beal also signalled out family — wife Kim, sons Ryan, Russell and Rhett, brother-in-law Kyle Smith, nephews and nieces; attorney Scott Bartel; partner Ned Freeman; photographer Todd Shurtleff; key CBS personnel; and all the many employees in the room who have contributed their patience, hard work and efforts throughout the years.
Beal opened with a moving tribute to his dad, “Coach Frank Beal,” who he drew inspiration from as a role model.
During the course of the evening, Beal was presented a staff gift of a montage of photos dating from his high school days through the MaxPreps’ years, signed by all the employees.
The company continues to expand its services. This fall look for a live video show on Friday nights and live, real-time scoring of high school events.