Victor Olorunfemi’s favorite thing about sports is the storytelling aspect of it. That’s part of the reason why he started The ICT Zone, an online platform that covers the world of sports.
“My favorite part of running The ICT Zone definitely has to be that it gives me an unfiltered platform to cover sports in the ways I wished it was covered growing up,” said Olorunfemi, the assistant coach for Newman University’s men’s soccer team. “With The ICT Zone, I get to tell stories from my lens.”
The start of a sports website
Olorunfemi described the start of the website as “a bit comical.”
“As the huge sports fanatic that I am, I bothered friends and family with my takes 24/7, to the point where multiple people started suggesting I start my own platform,” he recalled. “I’m sure it was from a complimentary place but looking back, they were probably just tired of hearing me dump my sports takes on them.”
In December 2017, during Olorunfemi’s junior year of college at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, he shared the idea of starting a sports website with one of his high school friends who’s a great writer and sports fanatic. The two decided to create The ICT Zone that month, and it has grown ever since.
The website has branched from strictly covering professional sports leagues to “writing deeply personal stories about the journey and success of some of the best athletes in the country,” Olorunfemi said.
The team at The ICT Zone — which currently consists of four primary writers and three additional contributing writers — has interviewed and written about athletes like Daniel Salloi of Sporting Kansas City, Addisyn Merrick of Racing Louisville and Jerrick Harding of ERA Basketball Nymburk.
Over the first full year of The ICT Zone’s existence in 2018, the website had 26,000 views. Last year, that number totaled 310,000.
“The growth over three years is a testament to the work we’ve put into the platform,” Olorunfemi said. “The ultimate goal is to continue growing in viewership and see where that takes us and the opportunities that come with that, whether that’s through ad revenue or magazine opportunities.”
Last October, The ICT Zone published its first-ever annual magazine, and Olorunfemi said the reception exceeded his expectations.
In the future, Olorunfemi hopes to grow his staff of writers.
He said, “Writing is something you can only really improve at as you do more of it, and I want this to be a platform that can give young aspiring writers the opportunity to improve their craft while having full freedom to write from their perspective.”
Drawing from experience as athlete
Olorunfemi is an athlete himself. He attended Wichita Southeast High School and played soccer all four years, even receiving the Athlete of the Year award as a senior. He then went on to play for three seasons at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where he received his bachelor’s degree in business marketing, and then one year at the University of Dayton, where he went for graduate school and will soon earn his master’s degree from.
Olorunfemi credits his experiences as an athlete with helping The ICT Zone find success.
“I’ve been fortunate to have met some amazing people through sports, and they have been generous enough to allow me to share their stories on the website,” he explained. “For example, Eric McWood’s was our first profile piece as we talked about his journey into professional soccer. And that opportunity to interview him came because we were teammates on the UMKC soccer team for two seasons.”
He added, “That experience as an athlete constantly shapes the way I write about sports. I know how hard it can be mentally when you’re not performing at the best of your ability or when fans don’t see the private dilemmas that are affecting your performance. With that in mind, I try to be kind in my writing, and I encourage the other writers to do the same.”