Nick Bhardwaj is a 25 year-old entrepreneur and CEO of a gaming app company located in Silicon Valley. He’s a San Diego State drop out, and if his Twitter posts are any indication, an all-around nice guy.
He’s also the new (if temporary) head coach for A-State Red Wolves football.
Bhardwaj sees his new position as an opportunity to grow as an industry leader. “As a first-time CEO of a company, I also want to learn more about leadership and how Coach Anderson deals with what is in front of him.”
Coach Blake Anderson is the man hired by Arkansas State to lead the Red Wolves. But early this month, he auctioned off the opportunity to become Spring Game Head Coach on eBay, with a starting bid of $2,500. Bidding escalated rapidly, with Bhardwaj dropping a cool $11,700 for the winning bid.
Bhardwaj, who first heard about the auction on ESPN, has no past affiliation with Arkansas State. But he’s pumped nonetheless, replacing the standard menu of sports jargon with some good old-fashioned corporate-speak. “I can’t wait to fully engross myself in the process, to see how evaluating real-time data plays a role in exploiting opportunities.”
According to the eBay listing, Bhardwaj won a head coaching experience so authentic that it includes a Powerade post-game dunking.
But what did Bhardwaj really win?
How about exposure for his mobile game start-up, Beyond Games?
The Red Wolves head coach auction made national news, and was picked up by ESPN, NBC Sports, Yahoo!, and Bleacher Report. Once the auction ended, Bhardwaj was already granting interviews and connecting to fans through Twitter.
“For me, just having this experience at ASU, it’s just been insanely amazing in just the last 15 to 24 hours,” Bhardwaj said. “Call me the biggest Arkansas State fan as of yesterday.”
Indeed. And now every regional and national media outlet that picks up the story will mention Beyond Games, begging the question, Has Nick Bhardwaj pioneered a new kind of marketing?
Time will tell. Meanwhile, Bhardwaj has a spring football game to coach.
“For me, I want to hit the ground running,” Bhardwaj said. “I’m not that guy who’s going to call a flea-flicker every three plays.”
But imagine the press for Beyond Games if he did.