UT graduate Mark Floreani: Former student-athlete, current entrepreneur and COO

Celesia Smith

A van, $10,000 and a stellar attitude. For Mark Floreani, that’s all it took to start his own company fresh out of college.

Floreani (‘06), UT economics alumnus and former track and field and cross country student-athlete, is the COO of FloSports, a sports media company he founded with his brother Martin Floreani in the same year he graduated from UT.

FloSports is a platform that connects its users with sports-related news, original content and event coverage. It functions not only as a media channel, but as a platform that brings individual sports’ communities together.

The entrepreneurial journey began when Floreani traveled around the country in a van with a former teammate to interview athletes and cover track and field events. He said his experiences as a student-athlete at UT helped facilitate his success as an entrepreneur.

“Being a track athlete has had a big impact on the business because distance running is a lot of delayed gratification,” Floreani said. “It’s a lot of hard work and long days just to get incrementally better, but you have to work every day, and there is no faking it. You either put in the miles and do the work or you don’t.”

Floreani’s dedication paid off in the long run, as FloSports revenue nearly doubled from 2016 to 2017. While FloSports originally encompassed only track and field and wrestling, it now covers various sports, including hockey, tennis and rugby.

Finance sophomore and UT swimmer Arthur Cheng said he used FloSports to keep up with the world of competitive swimming.

“FloSwimming gives me articles about what is going on in the swimming world in other parts of the country with other college teams and meets and international meets and professional swimmers,” Cheng said.

Wesley Ward (‘18), UT radio-television-film alumnus and former track and field and cross country student-athlete, said FloSports’ social media presence also helps him keep up with the world of distance running. Even those who don’t have a FloSports account can see how and where elite athletes are training and racing.

“(FloSports fans) like sports that have a lot of depth to them,” Ward sad. “In running, for example, you can learn more about the competitors by following them and seeing them race a lot more instead of just once at the Olympics.”

Ward also worked at FloSports during summer 2017 as a video production intern. While interning, he experienced the culture Floreani works to instill into the company.

“Sports is a big part of FloSports, so it had a culture of competitiveness. It felt like a team,” Ward said. “(Floreani) did a great job of driving a sense of purpose into (us). He encouraged people to hone their craft and to always get better, just like any other team.”

Floreani’s ability to motivate his coworkers stems from his personal passion and positive attitude surrounding entrepreneurship and sports.

“You have to think about getting through the day and making it to the next day, the next week, the next month,” Floreani said. “Again, that goes back to running. How are you going to be an All-American? How are you going to make Conference or Nationals? It all comes from staying positive and putting in the work.”