Sport gets sexy? Meet the Tinder for sports fans

Ever fancy a beer before a soccer game, or want to play a sport but have nobody to do it with? Well a bunch of apps are popping up to try and solve this problem, with one even calling itself a "Tinder-style" sports app.

Social networking services have exploded over the past couple of years, and as the market becomes more saturated, apps are striving to differentiate their services. From dating sites to social networks for doctors, start-ups have battled to find a niche -- and this is where sports apps are hoping to succeed.

Paranoid Fan

Former Merill Lynch trader, Agustin Gonzalez, is the founder of Paranoid Fan, an app that connects you with other fans of your team in the same area.

The iOS-only app was officially launched Thursday at The Next Web (TNW) conference in Amsterdam, and Gonzalez is hoping he can differentiate his product from traditional social media sites like Facebook.

"When we think of social networks, we think they are static -- about status updates, about pictures -- and so the communication is static," Gonzalez told CNBC.

"But we are seeing now the shift of social networks - a seismic one. Apps like Meerkat, Snapchat - they are not networks in the classical sense, but utilities people use when the need arises. That's what we are."


Of course, people could use the likes of Facebook to do similar things, but analysts said that the popularity of sport meant that developing a dedicated app was a smart move.

"I think they are on to something. The question is is whether they can get traction and build a big enough audience to make it work and come up with a viable business model," Ian Maude, online media analyst at Enders Analysis, told CNBC by phone.

Gonzalez said he wants his app to grow in a Facebook-like way, starting from sports events at colleges and growing bigger. The app also has a chat feature, which allows people at the same sports game to message each other in real time, and the company is working on integrating Uber, so that after a game, fans can get home safely.

And it's not just sports fans that apps are targeting, but also those who want to play.

Tinder of sports apps?


Teamster is an iOS app also exhibiting at TNW conference connects people who play the same sport. Users are asked to input their sport and skill level.

"We use a tinder-style swiping," Sam McCallum, CEO and co-founder of Teamster, told CNBC, to match users with people who play the same sports at a similar skill level.

A picture pops up on the screen and users can swipe left or right depending on if they want to connect to the person or not - just like on popular dating app Tinder.

Teamster and Paranoid Fan are just two of a number of companies trying to tap the social sports space. Fanatic, for instance, lets users connect with other fans, while Fannect determines which sports teams have the best fans through social engagement.

Of course, these apps rely heavily on creating a large number of hyperlocal communities -- and this could be hard to achieve, according to analysts.

"These types of apps are often dependent on reaching an audience in a specific location with a specific set of interests, and so targeting these often quite niche user groups can be a challenge," Jack Kent, senior technology analyst at IHS, told CNBC by phone.

"Also, without the ability to scale – monetization can be a challenge, particularly for advertising led services."

- By CNBC's Arjun Kharpal