uSTADIUM App Looks to be the Go-To Social Hangout for NFL Fans – Josh Buggy

I chose this application because I think it is very interesting and brings a second screen experience.  It allows you to have a nice social hangout, it is the first ever social networking app that is entirely focused on creating a community of football fans and enhancing the fan experience.

http://www.sporttechie.com/2014/07/01/ustadium-app-looks-to-be-the-go-to-social-hangout-for-nfl-fans/

 

How Big Data Serves the U.S. Open (Aidan Keegan)

Access to more an more information is getting fans of all sports more involved and more enthusiastic. Fantasy football leagues are a good example of how access to information on individual players has added to the experience of being a sports fan. Big data is helping tennis fans by giving them access to more player statistics than ever before, and tennis fans all over the world are excited about it.

 

http://www.sporttechie.com/2014/08/30/how-big-data-big-serves-the-u-s-open/

Sports Betting with SmartPhones (Mike Kaplan)

Sports have definitely used digital media to improve the game and the viewership, but also sports betting was greatly improve with the advancements of technology. Ever since the smartphones came out, betting has seen huge increases thanks to the mobile device. Both iPhones and Androids are often used for betting, and as the author put it “a phone is like having a sports wager at your fingertips.” The technology keeps getting better and better and it is greatly benefiting the betting industry.

http://www.sporttechie.com/2013/06/28/technology-advancements-in-the-world-of-sports-betting/

Food Startup Appetize App Aims to Appease Hungry Fans Everywhere (Matt Louis)

Today in sports, one of the goals for sports teams is to enhance the venue experience for fans. Through the food startup Appetize app, the hungry fan can look up the menu for each game. Because this app now exists, food lines will be shorter, faster, and more time will be spent watching the game. The app also allows teams to gather statistics about fan intentions so that they can leverage the data in a way that they could operate their food service for effectively and efficiently. Both the New York Knicks and New York Rangers have already utilized this kind of technology at Madison Square Garden. In the near future, this app’s popularity should certainly increase as more and more teams will turn towards finding new ways to enhance their fan and venue experience. (Matt Louis)

http://www.sporttechie.com/2014/08/26/food-startup-appetize-app-aims-to-appease-hungry-fans-everywhere/

 

Food Startup Appetize App Aims to Appease Hungry Fans Everywhere

Kiosk

“Manual, inefficient, archaic, and expensive.”

These are the words that Kevin Anderson, Co-Founder of Appetize, tells SportTechie correspond to the ordering process of food housed in sporting arenas.

If these terms don’t properly denote the current in-venue experience for this transaction, then its summation could be left as the following: “necessary evil.”

Anderson affirms that the digital component for a food delivery service has been non-existent before Appetize’s inception. Outside of decades-old handheld devices and point of sale units, operators have been left with very little recourse. This reality manifests itself through fans circumambulating the concourse looking for shorter food lines–hardly ever the case. The demand surplus has certainly outpaced the way in which it’s offered–let alone in the BYOD era.

Accordingly, sports franchises have started to look for any incremental revenue boost from internal auxiliary sources. Seat upgrading services, naturally, have become an initial and welcomed add-on to ticket sales. Parking startups, like StadiumPark, entrance as a disrupter should gain headway almost in the same vein as the former. Team mobile apps, though, remain rather subpar to a premium experience. The mobilization from external parties tends to be more aggressive than the teams, themselves, just to be a part of the robust potential.

As for food, another notable company in the space is Hungry Fan. They’re an aggregator platform that fans can access prior to attending a game in order to find out the menu. This offering serves virtually as a niche byproduct of Yelp’s supremacy–something that a giant can’t completely or appropriately cover. Gaps in the marketplace, thus, continually exist to be exploited. The key, though, is to separate what’s a mere novelty versus one that sincerely addresses a problem.

Still, all of these ventures, including eating, attempt to directly tackle the division between the home and in-game experience. Conveniency continues to be a simple desire by fans, yet, in many cases, teams don’t accomplish providing it well enough to meet today’s standards. Anderson believes mobile ordering and payment would increase fan engagement at the game. With Appetize, the venue, at its core, would be able to roll out in-seat service to a lot more fans. In effect, this experience could lead to them returning again because they received what they wanted, when they wanted it.

Of course, though, this medium is quite like several others out there, in terms of functionality for the user to perform seat selection, menu items, and checkout–some college dorm rooms across the country will begin activating such features as the new fall semester commences this week.

It’s the technological improvements made on the front and backend, however, that Anderson claims has allowed them to jump ahead of competitors, even while acknowledging its commonality with the aforementioned abilities.

“There isn’t another app that downloads in seconds, allows fans to mix their own cocktail, or beam payment over bluetooth to waiters and vendors on the frontend,” says Anderson.

“Additionally, you will be hard-pressed to find an app that allows venues to push live promo codes, activate mobile ordering sponsors, or while label our ordering in a matter of minutes through our SDK,” he continued.

Powering through Appetize enables operators to register pick-up, delivery, or live bluetooth payment, provided it’s moved to the app store. Their SDK allows them to present branded, native ordering in a simple and swift fashion. When receiving orders, though, it depends on how the arena deploys it. The ones with their POS can receive them sans a second-screen; the ones that have their KDS system can just mobilize its ordering for the time being.

Conversely, listening to their client base and being cognizant of their concerns have helped shaped their current standing. Food vendors and fans’ input plays a role in their app development, including recommendations for its UI and UX.

“Appetize is what it is today because of how much weight we have put on our customer feedback, and encouraging methodical rollouts. We know our users are fans that are already enjoying an event and are likely a couple of beers in–so, we’ve done the opposite of most apps–we made the app simpler. We’ve also iterated the app to display different menu items down to the seat the fan chooses; and included various alcohol controls that customers requested,” Anderson says.

Making such requests possible has, indeed, resulted to be a wise strategy. The experience, in some respects, is comparable to that of credit cards, which makes the user feel like they’re not spending, or as much at least. Also, there’s a tendency by fans to purchase by the bulk here compared to a typical concessions stand transaction. Anderson notes that 71 percent of the time fans order when the game is going on, since there’s less of a line throughout the concourse. And mobile ordering usually garners between 35 to 40 percent higher order sizes on average versus those at the concessions stand.

Both the New York Rangers and New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden were early adopters, so they can be “the most tech-advanced building in the world”–those two mobile food consumption statistics would be hard for any organization to dismiss either. Each of their respective team apps have integrated Appetize seamlessly, while engaging two major sponsors within this feature. They renewed their deals for a second consecutive season due to the sponsors and fans’ positive response for it.

The overarching venue problem stemming from connectivity, however, doesn’t seem to apply for or deter Appetize’s success.

“We’ve created a platform that relies on as little network connection as possible. Our POS products boasts automatic offline mode, printers, and cash drawers based on bluetooth connections,” states Anderson.

“Our app is a native app that requires little bandwidth to download and submit an order, and can submit payment over bluetooth without a network. That said, if venues have Wi-Fi or DAS systems in place, the ordering process will be as quick as possible; and will guarantee an awesome fan experience, as well as live analytics for venues and managers,” Anderson concludes.

Right now, Appetize is focusing on settling new partnerships in the greater entertainment space, be it from concessionaires or entertainment properties. They’re pretty optimistic about their POS and bluetooth payment formats, as the industry locks in for this year’s technological iteration of them. These moves come after completing this summer’s Governor’s Ball Music Festival in New York City, where 175 POS systems were on site, sans any network. The commercialization, thus, has struck accord with the likes of Aloompa, Yinzcam, Neulion, andWilshire Axon Sports, to name a few.

Starving fans everywhere at the game should look no further than to appease their appetite through Appetize–just another attempt that further merges an expedited, simplified experience likened to that of staying at home.

Fancred Raises $3 Million in Funding for Further Growth – posted by: Matthew Jolles (Final Week Post)

fancred1

And so it comes to an end, my final post to the blog. It has been a pleasure selecting articles this summer. My last entry comes to us from Freddy Lopez at sporttechie.com and all that can be possibly be said about this is … could you expect anything different from a social network site born in Boston? From the city that birthed Facebook, I was not surprised that Fancred is taking the sports social world by storm. the Techstars accelerator is one of the most looked upon incubator setups in the country and showing that some of the greatest geeks aren’t just in the Silicon Valley. Enjoy and go build your Fancred!

- MJ

Fancred Raises $3 Million in Funding for Further Growth

August 21, 2014 By

From the start, Fancred entered the sports social networking sphere with a lot to prove.

Any startup vying to be an upstart amidst the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram would be in for a rude awakening. The uphill battle to compete and break through the major players in this space could easily diminish its claimed value proposition. The level of concentration to build the requisite traction within a specific niche is daunting of a task, in it by itself.

Today, though, Fancred announces their completion of a $3 million financing round, which comes from pre-enlisted shareholders, Atlas Ventures and Militello Capital, and a new one in Breakaway Innovation Group.

As a product out of Boston’s Techstars accelerator, Fancred has gradually risen through the ranks and its own personal development since its launch less than two years ago. Be it as a form of Klout or web-based platform, there’s been a constant evolution through its iterations. The path towards their mission to be the globe’s largest home of sports fans, though, has derived largely from the premise of providing them a medium to house and share their respective moments.

Hossein Kash Razzaghi, Fancred’s Chief Executive Officer, describes to SportTechie the company’s journey as “awe-inspiring”, with transforming the product and the community involved. Of particular importance, he points to their steadfast belief that the most passionate communities, indeed, constitute from the litany of sports franchises as his proudest, foundational characteristic. These teams’ fan bases serve as the pulse to foster worthwhile engagement opportunities.

“We needed to test our hypothesis and put the product in people’s hands,” says Razzaghi.

Accordingly, the initial investment raised was allocated primarily towards building out the app and introducing it to the market. They focused on constructing these communities based on the domestic regions that they’re familiar with, specifically the south and the northeast. Razzaghi claims that the platform’s overall usage has grown month-to-month from its inception. Fanced believes–through its own experience, to boot–it’s quite clear mobile devices preside as a prime destination where fans establish sports-focused hubs for interaction. These original territories have matured “exponentially not only in size, but other communities around the country began to form on their own.”

The confluence of deep product focus, skills, team, and culture all came together to comprise the interest garnered from Fancred’s latest investor, Breakaway Innovation Group, dating back to their Techstars’ days mentorship.

“At Breakaway, we help build consumer brands fueled by passion, with exceptional products, rabid user communities, and awesome founders. Fancred checks all these boxes for us,” David Kneis, Breakaway Innovation Group’s Chief Strategy Officer, tells SportTechie.

Kneis made sure to firmly emphasize the “a lot” time being spent by Fancred’s users coupled with its activity levels and rapid scalability as reasons why they are attracted to them as well. He projects that “even more amazing things” bound to happen from this team going forward.

In spite of another successful fiscal round, Razzaghi acknowledges that the biggest challenge for Fancred–as could be said to virtually any other startup, regardless of industry–delves into providing a “differentiated product, value proposition, and messaging to your audience.” These factors don’t escape from what transpires on a daily basis. He asserts that “90 percent” of his time is devoted digesting these areas and trying improve each one, both individually and as a team.

This past Father’s Day, for example, proved to be a key juncture for the company, when a plethora of users decided to post photos of their dads and favorite times of going to games throughout childhood. The high degree of emotional and personal user-generated content as a virtually never-ending stream within the app was a poignant moment for Razzaghi to reflect and realize it’s more than just sports. Thus, adjusting or somewhat pivoting the product’s development direction have to be considered, from then on.

“The reality is that when you first launch product, you have no clue how people will accept it or interact with it. People use the product in ways we never would have imagined,” says Razzaghi.

Conversely, these new funds will be targeted for further product expansion and growth. Fancred will soon be available on other platforms besides iOS and online. On the team-side, they will look to add more marketing, business development, and product personnel. Their users can expect additional partnerships with teams and leagues down the line, beyond the Boston Red Sox, Liverpool Football Club, and Mississippi State University already on it.

While sports has, of course, created a strong vertical for itself among any other kind of media enterprise, competition can come from any direction, not just the current incumbents that control the landscape. Sportlobster, a European-based startup, has registered nearly two million users on a comparable medium and plans to expand to the United States shortly. Such a dynamic lurks just over the horizon, across the pond, but Fancred, rest assured, can count on its communal effect and monetary influx to prove their credentials is worth being any fan’s digital keepsake.

Fox Sports 1 Turns One – posted by: Matthew Jolles

fs1

This week’s entry comes to us from Jesus Salas at sporttechie.com. Jesus talks about the 1st birthday of Fox Sports 1 and how despite the numbers still being low they are growing every quarter. The more programming Fox Sports can grab the more likely it is they will find themselves reaching up to grab the higher rungs of the ladder as they attempt to climb up to relevancy in the conversation for the Worldwide Leader in Sports title which has been held by ESPN since its inception.

- MJ

Fox Sports 1 Turns One

by Jesus Salas for sporttechie.com

 

Fox Sports 1 is celebrating its first year on air since having cable’s largest audience reach ever when it launched. It has added approximately 5000 hours of programming and has seen a 48% spike in prime time viewers ever since.

“Our first year was about building a successful foundation for this network” said GM and COO of Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2 David Nathanson when speaking with Cynopsis Sports. “We obviously took some very successful channels and took some risks in bringing them together to launch a new brand in a crowded marketplace.”

But it does not stop there for Fox Sports 1; fans can expect over 600 more hours of live programming in year two. Sporting events such as the MLB playoffs, NASCAR, the United States Golf Association (USGA), and the women’s World Cup will be part of what FS1 has to offer beginning in late 2014.

Although Fox Sports 1 has seen an increase in viewers for its programming in the first year, advertisers have not been too thrilled with ratings, only averaging 267,000 viewers in primetime according to AdvertisingAge. Shows like “Crowd Goes Wild,” “Fox Football Daily,” and “Fox Soccer Daily” have all been cancelled and replaced with “America’s Pregame” and “Fox Sports Live” as the essence of live programming.

Nathanson is optimistic and confident that Fox Sports 1 will continue to grow into a network that lives up to expectations with exceptional and evolving programming that offers fans a deeper alternative to the sports they love.