Fancred's playbook for sports app domination: Live-streaming, real-time scores, and merch

The sports-focused social network is trying to turning itself into a media company.

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Fancred started out as a social network for sports fans, a place where people could share photos from games and talk some mess about rival teams. But, like Facebook and Twitter when they gathered steam, the 3-year-old platform has bigger ambitions. It wants to be the next global sports media company. That plan starts falling into place on Wednesday, when Fancred adds live-streaming video and real-time game scores to its mobile apps and website—and that’s just the beginning.

Fancred just might be the first sports app with a Periscope-like live-streaming feature. Anyone can broadcast on the app, though there is a 5-minute limit. That cap serves two purposes: It gives the person broadcasting time to rant about the game’s worst play, give a window into the action on the field or show a brief scene from the tailgating party. And if you’re a viewer watching the stream, you know how long you have to wait around to catch the end. This isn’t an opportunity for people to stream entire games to their followers, which is a problem that Periscope has faced.

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“Fans always want to go on rants, fans want to scream their opinions and do Monday morning quarterbacking,” said Fancred CEO Kash Razzaghi. “We think this will be a venue where sports personalities are born.”

While anyone can live-stream, Fancred realizes that sports fans want to see video commentary from experts. It’s partnering with dozens of media companies and sports teams to create what are essentially mini TV shows live-streamed in the app. Mashable, the Boston Globe’s sports reporters, and Mississippi State University’s teams are all on board with Fancred’s live streams, with more to come.

Fans won’t be able to comment on broadcasts, like they can on other apps. Instead, Fancred will offer upvoting and downvoting options to keep the community civil.

The other new feature, live scores, is something the sports app has never offered before. Fancred is launching real-time game info with NFL scores before rolling out stats for all the major leagues across every sport.

“We’re going to give really fast, up-to-the-minute, personalized scores for fans that want to keep track of their teams,” Razzaghi said. “We want Fancred to be useful for you even if you’re not super active on social networks.”

The new Fancred is organized into three streams: your main feed of activity from people you follow on the platform, like teams, journalists, or fellow fans; a feed for live streams currently on-air; and a feed for real-time scores. The platform will soon add tabs for commerce, so fans can buy tickets or merch in-app, and a custom news feed with original editorial content created exclusively for Fancred.

It’s a bold move, trying to compete in a space where Facebook and Twitter dominate, but Fancred is betting big on its community of passionate sports fans to spread the word. For people who don’t want to deal with the social aspect of a social network, Fancred’s new features are appealing. Being able to open a separate sports app to catch a live broadcast during a commercial break or check the score at work is a drama-free way to stay connected during the game without getting into a family flame war on Facebook.

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