Is Fancred poised to become the dominant social media destination for sports fans?
Founder Hossein Razzaghi says the Boston-based start-up offers something for its users that other social media outlets do not: a platform where die-hard fans can “break through the noise.”
On any given day, sports compete with the cacophony of other topics bubbling up on general interest social media platforms. #Vikings may be trending alongside the hashtag #TGIF on a Friday on Twitter and status updates about the big game on Facebook can easily be swallowed up in the din of baby pictures and selfies.
Fancred has one singular focus: Sports. It allows users to follow their favorite teams, post commentary, and engage with other fans. And the most dedicated fans on the site? They have an opportunity to be more visible on the site through a point system similar to Klout.
It also appears Fancred is aiming to become the “second screen” on game nights.
Landon Howell, head of strategy and content at Fancred, posted on Twitter the multiple screens recently glowing in a living room populated by Fancred employees.
The Fancred iPhone application launched last March. This October, Fancred executives announced $1.5 million in seed funding, which they said they would use to invest in the product. They also plan to use the money to increase the number of users and find new partnerships, according to Pandodaily.
“Fancred is a better way to connect with other fans and see what they’re sharing and saying,” Razzaghi said. “There are fans out there that are very passionate, knowledgeable, engaging and funny about their sports and we want to give those fans an opportunity to be heard.”
Here’s how it works: First, you download the app on your iPhone ( the app is not available yet for Android users). Then, you sign in through Facebook and start “following” your favorite teams. Then, you have the option to follow users — the site suggests a few to start and you can invite your friends as well.
Users post photos, status updates and links to articles.
“2 days til college basketball,” one user posted recently. “The anticipation is killing me.”
Another user posted about … “that one time Julian Gamble from Miami popped up in the middle of his teammates interview and just smiled.”
Which, as it turns out, happens quite a bit.
So how does a user gain points and become more prominent on Fancred?
“The point system measures a user’s level of activity and engagement within the app,” the CEO explained. “The more you do, and the more people respond to what you do, the more your Fancred score grows.”
When a user decides to follow a team, the app will automatically connect them with the highest rated fans of the team, instantly giving these dedicated content producers an audience.
“We want to give every fan the opportunity to be heard,” said Razzaghi.
One criticism of the app revolves around its similarities to Twitter.
Timothy Goldrick of Iowa State Daily wrote that Fancred is, “trying to be Twitter’s sporty son.”
“Fancred is not the type of place to go to learn information on big games, or to be updated on injury reports,” he wrote. “There are no riveting or worthy stories to read, rather it is just a culmination of garbage thrown onto a newsfeed.”
Other users praised the community aspect of the app.
“It just brings everything together,” said Luke Miller, a New York sports fan who resides in Allentown, Penn. “It’s cool that there’s an app where I can go on and not only get news about the Giants or the Yankees or the Knicks, but I can also see what other fans are saying about the teams I follow.”
It’s unclear how many people are using the app and Razzaghi did not respond to follow-up interview requests. The site has more than 1,000 Facebook followers and more than 2,400 Twitter followers.
Razzaghi, from Mississippi, said the idea for Fancred came amid the void he felt after moving to Boston and missing the “diehard Bulldogs” fans.
Things just weren’t the same.
“I missed the interaction between the fans, what the fans were saying and really that atmosphere,” he said.
He is aware of the challenges ahead, especially when it comes to capturing the attention of users.
Rather than pointing to specific companies or platforms as Fancred’s biggest threats, Razzaghi had a broader answer.
“Sports fans are always going somewhere to talk sports,” he said. “If you’re texting while watching the game, I’m competing with your text message. If you’re watching a game and you’re on Facebook, I’m competing with Facebook. My biggest competition is your attention.”