“We’ve always seen vertical sports networks appear in any form of communication in the past 100 years,” he says. “You had print, then you had sports print. You had radio, then sports radio. TV, then sports TV.” – Fancred Founder and CEO Kash Razzaghi
And now: Facebook… then sports Facebook. When Kash Razzaghi moved to Mississippi from Iran when he was four years old, he found it difficult to connect with his peers. He eventually found sports as the perfect way to integrate himself into the community. To share their love of sports, Kash and his friends would collect memorabilia. When each would attend a game, they would bring home programs, tickets, photos, etc. and keep the collection in a shoebox. Later, they’d revisit the boxes together to relive the memories, speak about the games, debate the players’ performances and the coach’s strategies.
This is what Fancred is. A digital shoebox where likeminded fans can interact by uploading pictures, thoughts, questions to a network of others doing the same thing. By “liking” things and posting them, users can create a digital profile similar to LinkedIn. Teams and brands can then use this information to create personal relationships with their most passionate fans.
Razzaghi has already struck deals with several high-profile teams including the Carolina Panthers, Boston Red Sox, Mississippi State University, and Liverpool FC.
Carolina Panthers President Danny Morrison loves the idea of focusing primarily on sports.
“Our fans are consuming our product differently in this digital age and we want to offer them a place to interact and engage with other Panthers fans who share interests. Our goal is to deliver premium content with more personalized fan experiences and Fancred allows us to do that”.
Some however, are concerned about Fancred’s sustainability. The question here is whether or not there is enough differentiation from the main players: Facebook and Twitter. Unfortunately for Fancred, much of the app’s functionality can be accomplished on other platforms. Attacking this issue head on, Fancred’s founder is insistent that there is enough interest in the topic that focusing solely on sports will provide enough users. Moreover, Razzaghi believes that “content overload” is actually driving users away from the traditional platforms and that a specific topic will be more user-friendly.
A main feature of the app is your Fancred Score. Similar to a Klout score, this number grows as you become more active and engaging with others. This score can be connected to discounts on tickets and merchandise.
While the idea seems redundant, I do see the benefit to having a “specialized Facebook”. Scrolling down a timeline with user created photos, videos, and comments which are guaranteed to be interesting to me is appealing.
Is this the future of social media? In a time when convenience rules all, I’m too often scrolling through Facebook and/or Twitter comments thinking “that’s boring” or “I don’t care about that”. A platform where all posts are catered to me sounds interesting and dangerously time consuming.