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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

My review of sportsfanlive.com

Yahoo's former sports head, David Katz, obviously had the fan in mind when he created sportsfanlive.com. His creation is a response to the unfriendly formats used on the major sites, such as ESPN.com

Mr. Katz, 36, believes that his Web site, sportsfanlive.com, which will be formally released this week, will find a substantial following with his versions of customized content, social networking and fantasy games. He believes his competitors have grown overly stodgy and too congested for fans to wade through. In the New York Time’s piece, Katz hits the nail right on the head.

 Those other sites are fundamentally all the same, he said, calling them imbued with traditional media DNA.He added that they are not built for the next generation and for the evolving needs of sports fans.

Sports fans are a unique market for a few reasons. Most of them are loyal to only a few teams, and they form alliances with perfect strangers just by the mere fact that they share the same passion for a team or university. Two random guys in a new York subway can have a 20-minute conversation inspired by something as simple as his New York Yankees hat or Kevin Garnett jersey.

Sportsfanlive taps into the passionate alliances formed by fans across the world. We’re all looking for one place where we can talk sports and nothing else.

Facebook and other social network sites do a good job of connecting you to people all over your life, but it’s not relevant to your sports interests, he said. We’re isolating that subset of sports friends and giving you instant communication with them.

Once you enter the site, a prompt asks for your favorite team and your most hated rival. I replied with Duke and North Carolina, respectively. (Sorry Tar Heel Fans)
Once you've pledged your team allegiance, you can register or browse the site's features. Every aspect of sportsfanlive.com is geared for fans who want to customize their experience. The home page contains several widgets:
My fan feed- which refreshes the latest news on your favorite team. ESPN has a similar feature, known as “my favorite team”, but sportsfanlive.com pulls date from 4,500 sources, far more than any competitor’s site.

Our secret sauce is aggregation, Mr. Katz told the NYT.  Google is good for a general search but not at understanding the specific needs of specific people like sports fans.

Other home page features include:

  • Sports fan live poll. - Allows fans to provide commentary, similar to YouTube.
  • It doesn’t show you the national demographic breakdown like ESPN, but it does top stories.
  • My headlines-Pulls headlines from feeds regarding your favorite team, so you don’t have to go searching for it.
  • Bux Bet- allows you to create or take a bet on any team, from nightly winners (I.e. Brewers Beat Astros) to a team’s final record (I.E. Michigan football under 7 wins).
  • Fan Finder- An interactive maps feature where you can type in your zip code to discover where fellow fans of your favorite team are watching the big game. This feature is NOT on ESPN and may be the best example of the fan-friendly format.
  • Fan of the Day-Offers a quick snapshot of a user profile
  • Take of the day- Shows an insightful opinion offered from one lucky fan.

Fan Finder was a great implentation, because I can’t count the number of times I wanted to find a sports bar where I could enjoy a nice meal and watch the game with other fans of my team. Monday Night Football fans can relate when I say that some of my friendliest sports debates were with random fans I sat with at a sports bar.

I give sportsfanlive.com an eight out of ten for its fan-friendly approach and its simplified format. The visual appeal of the overall site could use some enhancement, but I’m sure that’s an issue already being addressed. When you get a few free minutes, check out this new site that’s built just for the fans.

By Matt O'Hern at 08:31 AM | Comments (0)

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