Sports fan culture is binary: either you get it or you don’t. For those willing to go down the rabbit hole for their favorite sport or local team, there’s endless amounts of blogs, publications, columns and hot takes to sink your teeth into.
But there isn’t really an efficient way to connect with other fans of the same sport, outside the comments section of blogs, a fantasy league chatroom or countless message boards devoted to the topic.
GameOn, an app for iOS and Android that comes out of beta today, is designed to fill that hole in a sports fan’s toolkit by providing private and public chat as well as highlights and updates on sports and teams.
“Our goal is to take the ease of sharing and reality aspect of Instagram with the intimacy and fun of Snapchat,” said Alex Beckman, cofounder and CEO of GameOn.
Beckman, along with his co-founders Nate Simmons and Kalin Stanojev, saw sports fans as an underserved population, still lingering on those fantasy message boards and without an easy avenue to connect with likeminded enthusiasts. Beckman and Stanojev worked together on EVNTLIVE, a live concert streaming platform that was acquired by Yahoo in 2013.
Beckman said that he developed GameOn to provide not only real-time engagement, but also a sustained experience where sports fans can easily check in and discuss important news about their favorite teams.
GameOn makes this possible with ‘Huddles,’– chat rooms focused on a specific sports team. The app supports both public and private huddles, and allows everyone from soccer fans to cricket followers to discuss their favorite team.
GameOn also seeds these huddles with news, scores and highlights in real time. Beckman says that the company has been in talks with the likes of SB Nation and other sports sites to deliver quality content to GameOn users.
But perhaps the biggest sell of GameOn at this point is the support of professional athletes, whom fans can connect with through huddles on the app. GameOn has athlete investors — NFL quarterback Joe Montana, Pro-Bowl safety Lawyer Milloy, and cricket player Dwayne Bravo — as well as social media ambassadors.
Users can chat with the likes of former San Francisco Giant JT Snow, or soccer star Sydney Leroux, as well as buy exclusive sticker packs with the athletes’ likeness in various poses.
With professional athletes like Golden State Warrior Steph Curry or Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo amassing huge followings on social media apps, the opportunity to interact with a fan favorite could be a main driver that keeps users coming back to GameOn over time.
Beckman says that the company is focusing on content and fan engagement right now, but would not rule out the opportunity to dabble in the super-hot fantasy sports app scene. He also said that he could see the GameOn structure applied to things outside the sports realm, and added that the company tested an app designed for the 2016 election.
“We definitely have built GameOn as a platform,” he said “In order to maintain focus, we’ve focused on sports. But it’s content-agnostic.”
➤ GameOn [Android/iOS]