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The Sports Entrepreneurs Who Are Changing the Game

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While ESPN has apps that offer live game stats, others have found innovative ways to either get you to the game or into the game when you’re at home.

If you’re a sports fan, you’ll definitely see hashtags and the Twitter handle of your favorite team and channel pop up regularly. This has led to a glut of sports startups trying to make a dent in the way in which people watch and engage with the game. The problem is keeping them locked in, which is why second screen apps like GetGlue have had issues (even with great partnerships); they’ve taken the user away from the game itself.

While ESPN has apps to give you stats as games continue, other entrepreneurs have found innovative ways to either get you to the game or into the game at home.

Alex BeckmanGameOn

Beckman, based in San Francisco, created a platform on which users could watch and interactive with live concerts called Evntlive that he sold to Yahoo in late 2013. Not long after, Beckman found himself frustrated with the spread out experience of talking sports with his friends on sporadic WhatsApp groups, and moved to create GameOn. The app, currently in a closed beta, creates an internal “huddle” for friends where users create groups where key events and from both games you’re watching and others that are playing you’ve subscribed to are pumped in, along with stickers and Vine posts. It launches later this month.

Russell D’SouzaSeatGeek

The second market for tickets has become so complex, untrustworthy and confusingthat SeatGeek’s recent $62m funding round makes perfect sense. D’Souza’s company, founded in 2009, looked to go beyond aggregating the many, many markets selling people’s unwanted tickets. The result was the dream of a search engine for whatever tickets fans wanted, paired with a system to help them make the right decision. D’Souza (an Inc 30 under 30 winner) and his team created the fan score system to say if you are getting a good deal on the ticket based on price, location in the stadium and other factors.

Hossein RazzaghiFanCred

FanCred is a lot like LinkedIn for sports, where users can post photos from games and follow their respective teams and friends. Though they’re not the first to try it, Razzaghi (a former senior director of regional sales at BrightCove) and his team has successfully brokered powerful relationships and official partnerships and leading sports brands, such as with the Carolina Panthers, Boston Red Sox and other major teams. The result is that fans have a reason to come back to the app, instead of the empty-room syndrome of many niche social networking apps.

Nik BonaddionumberFire

Justin KiferSportsy

Kifer’s Sportsy takes a different approach, similar to DailyBurn, to sports fans, teaching them the actual professional techniques that you need to play your favorites. Kifer, with one exit under his belt (CitizenLocal to in 2011), created the platform to teach the techniques that the pros use on the field. For example, their “play your best soccer” section includes high-quality video content that teaches and challenges (with exact goals) users to do specific skill moves in particular categories like attacking and defending. Other sports range from obvious choices like Baseball and Tennis to Figure Skating and Hockey.

© 2015 INC. | This article was written by Drew Hendricks first appeared on INC. on 9 September 2015.

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