Published on August 27th, 2018 | by Landon Buford0
What Is The Gaming App SportsMe?
A new gaming application by the name of SportMe is really starting to make some noise. A couple of weeks ago a 17-year-old by the name of Kaly B Champion as known as “Bucketscenter” got in a little back and forth with 2-time finals MVP Kevin Durant on Instagram. The 17-year-old had been trolling the former scoring champion for a while, and Durant finally responded.
”3 Elite two-way players but doesn’t elevate a team quite like LeBron and Steph due to their playmaking/leadership deficiencies,” says Bucketscenter
Now, you might be thinking how this correlates with the SportsMe gaming app? Well, let me tell you after the back and forth with Durant, “Bucketscenter” would hop on the game app to talk about it. SportsMe is an app where fan engagement controls the conversation. Fans can record themselves asking questions, and any user can join in on the discussion. Users have the capability to follow each other like on other social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram, with SportsMe you can battle your opponents while increasing your all-time score and battling other users.
Following the exchange between Durant and Buckets I reached out to Founder and CEO SportsMe Jeff Rubin for comments:“We’re grateful to have a platform that fans like Kalyb can use to share their opinions on topics that they love in sports culture while having fun and validating these topic debates with the community. We started SportsMe to give fans and athletes the power of voice, and Kalyb is a perfect example of why everyone’s opinion matters” Rubin told me.
His experience has taken him through both in startup and the tech world, holding roles in business development, sales, marketing, and strategy, and is a lifelong sports fan, obsessed with statistics, Boston teams, and Florida Gators. Here is another fun fact about Rubin, he is the nephew of Hollywood Megastar Adam Sandler.
— SportsMe (@TheSportsMe) January 13, 2018
SportsMe was recently selected as a Top Pick in the Gaming Category at TechCrunch Disrupt in September. TechCrunch is the top startup conference in the world. Over the past couple of weeks, I have been interviewing numerous people about SportsMe to see what intrigues the most about this new gaming up first up was its Founder and CEO, Jeff Rubin.
What is Sportsme and how did you come up with the concept?
SportsMe turns sports fandom into a mobile video game. My Co-Founder Art Gibson and I had a problem we wanted to solve, where fans have no voice and achievable goals. SportsMe gives fans this power, and truly hits on the one human habit all fans have: we love to talk and debate sports. That habit drives all revenue driven decisions and interest in sports, and we’re so thankful thousands of fans are using SportsMe to have a voice already, and this mission has only just begun.
Why is this the right time to release Sportsme to the public?
We launched this past December after a few months of beta testing which was incredible. We quickly realized that even in its most basic form, people were enjoying the app, sharing with friends, and spending considerable time using it. We gained tremendous feedback and based off that added a few core functions to empower fans and athletes with voice and achievable goals truly. Phase 2 of this vision is approaching, and we’re excited to unleash everything that is coming to fans and athletes.
We believe now is the perfect time to empower fans and athletes, as the way we consume content shifts dynamically to a mobile video first, social, and gamified world. Tomorrow’s generation of sports fans have fallen in love with things they can create and achieve (Esports, Candy Crush, Fortnite, and more), and SportsMe’s platform enables these behaviors turning fandom into a mobile video game experience in a gamified feedback loop that has never existed in sports in the palm of your hand. Via short-film video we allow fans to create and consume user-generated content, have a voice, join the conversation, and there are things coming that the sports world has never seen, all to empower our fans and athletes.
Why do you think traditional sports media is not willing to evolve?
I don’t think it’s so much as traditional sports media is unwilling to evolve, as much as SportsMe just wants to be different and give power to fans and athletes we believe doesn’t exist today. Our core is the human habit I mentioned, where fans want to talk and debate sports, and we believed the industry was focused on other nuances of the sports world. The industry is definitely shifting to align with these changing trends of consumer behavior, and our goal is to incite fandom among all fans, meaning they love every aspect of sports more than ever. SportsMe is truly a conduit for all aspects of sports media to have a more engaged consumer base and the platform that fills a huge gap. We’re fans who build SportsMe for fans, and we truly want an empowered fan base that loves sports more than ever.
What inspired you to add the leaderboard feature?
Honestly, Musical.ly was a huge inspiration for us to add the leaderboard feature to SportsMe. I looked at the platform and asked myself how these users became so obsessed with this app. What is it people love to do when they hear music? And we asked ourselves why do people truly like sports? The answer is we want to talk about sports, and that is really the only thing that matters.
On top of that the most addicting form of fandom, a dopamine hit to our brains, is debating sports, which is a huge part of our gamification of being a sports fan. The leaderboard feature expresses the competitive nature of fans, much like Musical.ly, keeps everyone involved. The exciting thing for us is our roadmap to redefine leaderboards and align with this feedback loop and specific partners we have. As you can tell I absolutely can’t wait for everything to come very soon.
Do you plan on using your platform to allow correspondents to cover games?
The beauty of fandom is the nuanced conversations, and live or in-game coverage is incredibly important to that behavior. SportsMe absolutely wants to drive live or in-game correspondents, yet in our way, which we feel is different, and complements traditional media; we’re that conduit bringing fans more engaged with any type of content they are consuming across the entire industry. We fill a gap where fans and athletes have a voice to create live game content, only in a gamified setting will become its own media company that focused on short-term video. I addition, I want fans to drive local sports conversations in each city and everyone can engage with anyone around the world. We want everyone to be able to influence each other and engage in sports conversation no matter who you are. Of course, I can’t share everything that is coming, but as I said, an empowered fan athlete base is the ultimate goal.
Ryan Hollin was a ten-year veteran in the National Basketball league with a variety of different teams. Some of those teams include the Los Angeles Clipper, Sacramento Kings, Boston Celtics, Washington Wizards, Dallas Mavericks, and Cleveland Cavaliers to name a few. He is now an NBA analyst and an ESPN Sports Personality and now an active member of the SportsMe community. In fact, after the Kevin Durant argument with Bucketscenter, Hollin decided to call him out for a battle. Hollin gives us his perspective as a former player and now a member of the media.
From a former player and a member of the sports media’s perspective, why does SportsMe intrigue you?
It bridges the gaps between the media the players and the fans, you actually hear intelligent perspectives on the temperature of sports
In your opinion, how is SportsMe a gamechanger as an alternative to traditional media?
Some of the greatest analysis and breakdowns will never be heard in tv sports me changes all of that
You recently got into a battle with Bucketscenter on SportMe, he is known for his battle with Kevin Durant on Instagram. Can you talk about how this platform could help a fan like him gain a voice from scratch?
It’s huge doesn’t matter what age you are, what background if you have something good to say you will be heard and the closer fans and players become the better the sports will be.
What is your favorite feature of the application, thus far?
I get stuck swiping through the takes I like not having to track them down.
Where do you see it being in the next couple of years?
Sports Media will never be the same SportsMe will transcend anything you’ve ever imagined.
You are a member of the Big 3 league how do you think SportsMe would help that platform gain more exposure?
Of course, sports fans want more sports the Big Three wants more engagement to let’s call this a no-brainer.
What is Ryan’s Hollins role with SportsMe moving forward?
I’m an ambassador and advisor, I love to get in the fold with everything from future app addition to showing others out the vision and of course I’m still just an everyday user myself.
Buster Scher is the Founder and CEO of Hoop Nation and new-age content pioneer. HoopsNation is a platform aimed at covering all levels of the game of basketball, including the NBA, college, high school, and professional leagues overseas. Scher launched his site in December 2017 featuring content from content from writers. Scher Facebook page is where he started the platform and it serves as a massive forum for its community members to add their thoughts and opinion. Instagram has also been a space where HoopsNation has excelled in as well along with Snapchat.
Scher original concept came from fantasy basketball, a void that he identified and wanted full in the New York market.
“I really wanted to build a relationship with followers,” Scher said. “That’s something you’ll never be able to see a complex news (outlet) be able to do. To build an actual relationship with people, if I can do that with 1,000 to 2,000 people every single night for over two months, (that adds up).” Said Scher during an interview with Westport News last year.
He would continue “I’ve always wanted to be a TV or radio personality,” Scher said. “And this was the perfect combination; I had a platform to be able to do that. I stream every night. I’ve always loved being in front of a camera talking sports.”
Hoops Nation has close to 700k likes on Facebook Page, and 700,000 followers on Instagram. Another fun fact about Scher is that he interned with entrepreneur and author Gary Vaynerchuk. Spoke with Scher to see what his role would be moving forward with SportsMe and what intrigued him in the first place.
What intrigued you to get involved with SportsMe in the first place?
Just how original it is and the uniqueness of the platform. There is not really another platform available that will allow everyday fans attract an audience without embarrassing themselves by releasing content to their friends. With the accessibility to this new outlet SportsMe, which was made exclusively for this regarding sports talk that allows an everyday fan to feel like an ESPN anchor and is what intrigued me.
How do you think this will change regarding fan engagement?
I think there is a new level of involvement, for example, take Draft Kings and Fan Duel those two platforms added another level to fan engagement. SportsMe takes the fan experience to the next level and what makes this better there is no downside and you are not gambling. It is accessible for everyone and that is exciting.
How is Buster Scher and Hoops Nation going to be involved as a collective?
How I been involved is through promotion, overall guidance, consulting, and connecting the company to as many people in my industry as possible.
Where do you see SportsMe headed in the next five years?
I see the content improving drastically as more people become familiar with the platform.
What is your favorite feature?
I like that you are immediately able to add music to a video that makes feel just like an ESPN show. The background pops in right before they are headed to commercial break. It also enhances each video.
What are somethings you will be involved with for the rest of the year?
I will be releasing more video content and building my personal Youtube channel at Buster Scher. I will be releasing new videos every day anywhere from current NBA players, and the Jordan series let people know who MJ was and other content.
Isaiah Kacyvenski comes from a diverse background that includes earning two degrees from Harvard and played eight years in the National Football League. He would go on to achieve success as an entrepreneur and investor. Kacyvenski is a Founder and Managing Partner at Will Ventures, which is a venture capital investment firm, which focuses on sports technology and the massive market that it has available up (human performance, health and wellness, media and entertainment, eSports, and more). I spoke with Kacyvenski from a venture capitalist and a former players perspective here is what he had to say.
If you had to pitch the SportsMe to other investors programs like Elevator Pitch or Shark Tank, how would you go about doing it?
Focus on the experience. Putting the ability to comment, interact, and the ability to address any trending topic is the core of the application. It is a vastly new option to create content it is a vast opportunity. There is going to be more than one winner in that space for sure across the board. Again, I think this plays on a much-needed trend that shows a large market size and opportunity.
Why do you feel this platform is a gamechanger regarding fan engagement?
It is a gamechanger because it puts the power in the hands of the fans. Right now, there are only a handful of people that can talk on linear cable and get your voice heard. This will allow anyone who thinks that they have a valid point to reach people to get their message heard. That is one of the main aspects of why this is a gamechanger.
From a former player and a venture capitalist perspective, why does Sportsme intrigue you?
There a couple of reasons, but if you look up the definition of a disruption, it is putting the power of a few into the hands of many. The democratization of this experience with the ability to put the power in the hands of the fans democratizes that in every single way. From the commentary, hot takes, and everything else is a potent tool. Also, I think technology has enabled that in a significant way, and that is probably the most intriguing things about Sportsme. If you look purely at the company side of things and the opportunity that exists out there for democratizing that experience. You can speak to that several times over from different companies, but it is unique from the sense of moving in that direction with serious momentum from what Jeff is trying to create.
What is your favorite feature of the platform?
The fact that it is user-friendly and how relative the topics of discussion are, as well as how quickly you can comment on them. It’s probably the best feature that you could have on the platform. There must be continuous development in technology for that, but apps are a tricky space in general. I would rarely think about investing in them compared to business opportunities because it is a tough space for all the reason I just mentioned, and the competitive landscape is crazy. The number of success rates is not that high, but in this case, SportsMe has the potential to go viral and have its’ users wanting to come back for more. That is going to be the challenge for the entire team to figure out, but I will say this, I have been around a ton of entrepreneurs, made a lot of different investments, and advised various companies. Jeff is in the top-tier of peer energy and the unwillingness to get tired is one of his strong suits. That is going to serve him very well especially when it comes to this product. It also speaks to the people part of building a company along with the rest of his development of a tremendous technical team as well. I think those two pieces of regarding consumers as a new differentiator and again more resource and product development are going to be needed as we grow. Staying out of the curve and trying to attract users and have that evolve over time.
Why do you personally think this is the best time to release this platform?
I think you currently see an intersect between sports, business, and media all coming together, and this is the perfect platform because people are very passionate about sports. People feel such passion for the most relevant topics of the day or all-time debates, but they don’t have a voice. This platform allows them to join in on the conversation, to be heard and guide the narrative. You are also able to be known from this platform, that is the fantastic part of SportsMe. It speaks to someone that is asking how their voice can be heard to help validate them as a content creator.
Where do you see the SportsMe app in the next five years?
In the space it is in it must show growth. In fact, you must show expediential growth, and that is a task that is up to Jeff and the rest of the team to perform. The ideal scenario is to finalize and deploy a strategic plan that will take a massive effort to create viral adoption. It is okay to get a user to come once, but how can you get him to keep coming back is the primary goal. That is what I wish for Sportsme in the future.
What is Isaiah’s role with SportsMe moving forward?
Right now, I am an advisor and consultant for the product. I like to call Jeff one of the hardest workers in show business because he is always hustling and if he is not strong in one area, he seeks help to learn how to overcome it. You must tip your hat to an entrepreneur like that. I will continue to be an advisor and on the personal side I will have some investment in the app as well and help close investments for the product.
Finally, Mustafa Shakur is a former standout at the University of Arizona. He went undrafted in 2007 upon completing his collegiate career at Arizona and started his professional career with the Asseco Gdynia, which is a Polish professional team. He would then move on to the Saski Baskonia in is based in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain. Shakur would later play for the Washington Wizards and the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA. Shakur talked about being the bridge between fellow athletes becoming aware of SportsMe from a hands-on perspective and being an adviser to the brand moving forward.
From a former player perspective, why does SportsMe intrigue you?
As a former player what’s intriguing about SportsMe is it gives us the opportunity to connect directly with our fans and give our opinion. Whatever that maybe it also gives you the chance to talk about other sport, not just the one you are known for and I think fans like the well-rounded athletes. You get the opportunity to see who players are as individuals. I sometimes feel with social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter can box you in, but with SportsMe athletes can showcase a different side of yourself.
What is your favorite feature of the app?
Overall, I think the platform is built out already and when I first got introduced to Jeff I had not jumped on the app to use it. When I finally started using it and participated in a battle, I love how you could challenge your opponent’s back and forth. I love that there are hashtags already built in and you can also create your own hashtags for a battle. Also, they have set tags where you can go and join the conversations.
You are very tight with Andre Iguodala and was a teammate of Channing Frye could you see them using SportsMe?
I can see Andre and Channing using this along with other athletes using the platform once it hits the mainstream. I can also see television personalities like Stephen A. Smith using it as well as battling fans. You will get to see some of these well-known faces interacting with other users within this platform.
Where do you see it being in the next couple of years?
I think we will see SportsMe with a bunch of strategic partnerships and more interaction between players and fans. We will see SportMe involved in some big things.
Do you have any ambition to pursue a career in media?
I have not really thought about pursuing a career in media I don’t think it fits my personality, but I am looking to pursue a career in business. If something happens in media, that would be cool, but I can say it is a passion of mine.
How will you be involved with Sportme Moving forward?
I will be involved with the platform moving forward as an advisor and investor. Where ever I can help if the mean word of mouth marketing or offering my expertise a player during pitches moving forward.
Jeff and his team of advisors have some great thing in stored for SportsMe, so make sure you go download this new interactive gaming application and join the battle.