As more and more people have embraced on-the-go lifestyles and taken their mobile devices with them, in-game update applications have been big for sports fans.
I thought I saw everything with MLB At Bat—game updates, live broadcast and quick turnaround highlights? That’s pretty impressive.
But there’s a niche in this business that hasn’t been fully explored and that’s the Gamecast application used for youth sports.
Ted Sullivan has all the credentials to be the visionary in that space. He’s a former Duke baseball player who played in the minor leagues and later attended Harvard Business School.
His company, Fungo Media Inc.,has come out with GameChanger, which allows parents to follow their kids on the diamond as if they played in the show.
Here’s how it works. A scorekeeper at the game keeps track of every pitch and play on a free iPhone app. Parents can immediately log onto the GameChanger Web site to see live updates of the game.
“Most apps out there right now are being used as data consumption devices,” Sullivan said. “Ours, as of now, is a data collection device.”
Since launching in January, Sullivan said he has signed up thousands of teams. Viewing in-game box scores are now free, but Sullivan’s business model calls for parents who want more in-depth stats to eventually pay $8 to $12 a month for the service. The live game play-by-play will eventually be housed as an app itself instead of on the Web site, he said.
“We’ll have everything you see at the major league level,” Sullivan said. “Immediate calculations of batting average and on-base percentage. We’ll also have advanced post-game and full season stats.”
Sullivan said his pitch is not only to the parents, but to the coaches too. He said Little League International already requires a detailed record of every game. High school games also have to be intricately recorded. Recording the data on an iPhone app turns out to be a little bit easier than fidgeting with a pencil and a scorecard.
“If your stuck on Wall Street and you can’t get to your kid’s game, it’s like a savior,” Sullivan said. “It doesn’t replace being at the game of course, but it’s nice when you can get a text alert to your phone saying that your kid is standing on second base, having just hit a double.”
Those text alerts are currently in private beta testing, but are expected to be released to the public in a matter of weeks.
Sullivan also sees revenue growth in online widgets that can be placed on local blogger or newspaper Web sites. Local reporters have always covered these games, but have never been able to capture an audience on their Web sites during the game with these types of live updates.
“We put the live scoreboard widget up on their Web site and when a fan subscribes, we share the revenue with the media company,” Sullivan said. “It’s zero cost to them, only upside.”
So far the application is available for baseball and softball, but Sullivan says development on additional sports has already begun.
Questions? Comments? SportsBiz@cnbc.com