By Lesly Velasco Guerra, March 23, 2021
Cal Poly Pomona alumnus Jacob Ortiz (’20, business administration) managed to create a booming business in today’s competitive market with his interests in finance, sports and social media.
With more than 525,200 followers on Twitter and 266,000 followers on Instagram, Ortiz built a community around Legion Hoops, a basketball-driven social media account that posts player and team updates, game coverage and opinions to create online conversation. Not only does Ortiz post information regarding games, but he also uses his business knowledge to include financial information regarding basketball.
“I was very blessed that the business that I had was something that I love: basketball and social media,” Ortiz said. “Although things got busy all the time, it was definitely something I enjoyed doing. I never really dreaded covering a game or speaking with a company.”
One thing that Ortiz believes differentiates his page from other basketball accounts is his financial view of the sport. As a business administration major with an emphasis in finance, real estate and law and a minor in economics, Ortiz has been able to put his knowledge to the test. This has been especially noticeable during the free agency period, which is a period where NBA players can be signed with any team.
“Free agency is what I’m known for because rarely any other page covers it like I do,” Ortiz said. “I am very prepared for it. It’s basically squished in two weeks and I work 24 hours around the clock. My ringer is on full blast. I have my phone connected to the speaker. I’m going to hear that alert and be quick. If somebody signs, it’ll be on my page within one minute. One thing that I do that not a lot of pages do is when a player signs with a new team, I Photoshop the new team’s jersey on them.”
Ortiz learned to navigate the ropes of creating and maintaining social media presence by creating engaging posts. Previously, Ortiz managed the accounts alone and had to learn how to edit videos and photos as well as strengthen his writing and reporting skills. Since his page has been growing, Ortiz employed two new staff members, a graphic designer and a backup content creator.
“When you start your own business, you have to be able to do everything,” Ortiz said. “I definitely learned things along the way. Sometimes, I just had to figure it out. There’s not always a lot of help but you just learn it and sometimes you’ll mess up. But as long as you are yourself and like what you’re doing, it’s easy.”
Although basketball paused during the pandemic, Legion Hoops continued its coverage. Reports during COVID-19, such as the impact to the league or the probable steps to resume games, allowed Legion Hoops to receive more recognition and gain a significant number of followers from both sports and non-sports fans.
As a high schooler from Bishop Amat Memorial in La Puente, California, Ortiz first purchased the Legion Hoops Twitter and Instagram accounts in 2016 from a previous business partner and has almost quadrupled the number of followers since then. Before purchasing the account, Ortiz was already posting basketball-related content on his personal page and was generating high views from sports fans.
As a recent graduate, Ortiz reflected on his time at CPP. Although Ortiz was not the best at sports when he was young, as he grew older, his love and passion for basketball grew, especially throughout his college years.
When attending campus during in-person instruction, Ortiz often visited the BRIC and played various intramural sports, including basketball, dodgeball and football. Ortiz credits CPP for helping him understand and advance his business. He frequently sought out advice and recommendations from classmates and professors regarding his social media accounts.
Legion Hoops has been featured by prominent media outlets like ESPN and Fox and attracted attention from many basketball stars including Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant and Joel Embiid.
Ortiz hopes to continue growing Legion Hoops and to create a brand for himself. Although he has already revealed the face behind Legion Hoops, he is aiming to increase awareness of his online presence.
“Thankfully the business that I run to this day is something that I love,” Ortiz said. “Something I always advise people who are trying to make an income at something that is not a job is to find something you love and then find a way to monetize it. Make sure while you’re doing it, you are being yourself. I was able to do that with Legion Hoops.”
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