Foam finger pointing. Topless chest-painting. Headgear made of dairy (oh yeah Cheeseheads, I'm talking to you). It's called fanhood. And runs deep. Levels of fanaticism across most major sports can border on terrifying--think rioting, defacing a mascot, or the infamous throwing snowballs at Santa, (sorry Philly fans).
Yes, the boundaries of fanhood are limitless. However, deep beneath the layers of face paint and mesh jersey lies an undeniable bond that only fanhood can form. It's a sense of togetherness, and culture, that extends beyond normal boundaries of community and transcends ethnic, religious, gender, and class line.
"People from varying socioeconomic backgrounds come together and high five each other--a connection from a shared goal of having your team win" said Brad Griffith, founder and CEO, Gametime.
This type of social unity derived only from a live sporting event, occupied much of the conversation when I met Griffith, along with Colin Evans, Chief Revenue Officer, and Sean Pate, head of communications, of Gametime--both formerly of StubHub.
"Mobilizing" Missed Innings
As a die-hard San Francisco sports fan, the company concept was born from the frustration of missing innings of his beloved San Francisco Giants. Due to the struggle of buying last minute tickets online (think ducking into a local bar to use a printer), Griffith created a solution--an online ticket marketplace for people who make a "game time" decision to take in a live sporting event.
With a mobile-first mentality, Gametime has focused on making both the buying and using of tickets, seamless with your smartphone. Once transactions are complete, the company's app displays the digital tickets and their barcodes for admission into the event. Tickets can also be easily transferred via text message and email. Even better, Gametime algorithmically examines thousands of potential tickets, presenting only the best values, eliminating the laborious search process.
This paperless transaction not only appeals to the millennial fanbase, but also poises the company perfectly for the innovative efforts of "smart stadiums" launching around the world, focusing on personalized services, and an enhanced experience--all via mobile device.
A Double Play
Aside from the uber convenience of a 9 second checkout, Gametime's DNA as a company is to elevate the fan experience above all else to help unite communities. This business model was created by Griffith asking a simple question, "How can Gametime make this type of connection easier, and more frequent?"
"Our company business model is structured to do this by making events financially affordable, via a platform that's more accessible to people, allowing them to participate in a market that they haven't been able to do before."
This focus of fanhood is apparently paying off. Since their founding in 2012, they have launched in over 35 cities, received $13MM in funding, and are seeing true fan appreciation of their offering--as shown by the creation of an unsolicited promo video by a fan in Seattle. Video here.
...by uniting fans through the touch of a mobile device, one foam finger at a time.