Fancred braves the crowded social sports field with redesigned iOS app

The rush of commenting on a sports game in a public forum like Twitter or semi-public one like Facebook isn’t quite as good as being at the stadium, but it comes close.

Fledgling social networks are hungry to capture a portion of the 83 percent of sports fans who check social media while watching a game, but Fancred’s redesigned iOS app aims to be more than just a second-screen experience—and it’s pretty beautiful, too.

OK, we’ve heard this before. Plenty of sports social networks have launched and failed, because it turns out that most people prefer to stick with the existing networks their friends are already using than join a separate one. But Fancred knows what it’s up against and is convinced that their new iOS app and Web platform offer something different for sports fans.

How to win users in a crowded field

Fancred is built around communities. You sign up, pick your favorite teams, and then Fancred automatically populates your newbie, friendless feed with members in those team communities who have racked up “fancred,” or points based on activity and engagement.

Your favorite team becomes your community on Fancred.

Unlike many sports social networks, Fancred isn’t an aggregator or place for immediate game scores. Boston-based cofounder Kash Razzaghi knows that his network, which launched last year, can’t compete with Twitter or Facebook for your attention, so it needs high-quality, original content. The company has been working to develop a base of fans—and signing on 24 pro and college sports teams—to make its app worth coming back to.

“These other networks are trying to compete with Twitter, and I don’t think anyone can yet,” Razzaghi said. “Twitter has scale, you can’t compete with that. You can compete in the area of community. Sports fans do more with being a fan than just on game day. They talk about sports on Monday, throughout the day.”

On Twitter, fans post up-to-the-second updates on game action. On Fancred, people post stadium selfies, sports article analyses, or Father’s Day anecdotes about their first sports fan experience. You can easily post those things on Facebook, but your Facebook friends probably won’t care as much about your fondest sports memories as fellow fans do.

Fancred knows its biggest challenge is getting people to sign up. The platform is using Login with Facebook to authenticate identities and gather more users, which has worked for high-profile apps like Lyft. Facebook’s login plug-in is used about 850 million times a month on other apps.

After connecting you to fellow fans with high Fancred scores, Fancred hopes you’ll pull in your Facebook friends to make the app a better experience. Other niche networks have traveled this path, but if sports fans embrace Fancred and get their friends on board, maybe this network can succeed where others have failed.

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