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Mobile sports social network Fanatix adds $1 million to its coffers in new funding round

Social media man­agers with an inter­est in sports net­works might like to cast a glance at devel­op­ments across the pond, where a UK-based social media sport­ing start­up has just added anoth­er $1 mil­lion to its invest­ment tally.

Dra­mat­ic growth

Fanatix is the sport’s addict’s dream, allow­ing them to share ban­ter over their team’s per­for­mance dur­ing and after play. The new invest­ment brings the startup’s total fund­ing to $3 million.

Social media man­agers will almost cer­tain­ly be won­der­ing what, exact­ly, has attract­ed such investor con­fi­dence? After launch­ing in Octo­ber 2011, Fanatix saw a much big­ger-than-antic­i­pat­ed hike in the num­ber of active users since Jan­u­ary this year. The startup’s user num­bers bur­geoned from 150,000 a month at the start of the year to 1 mil­lion a month today. That’s a cool 566 per cent.

But it may be the users’ demo­graph­ic char­ac­ter­is­tics in par­tic­u­lar which have espe­cial­ly drawn the invest­ment dol­lars: Fanatix is gain­ing a lot of trac­tion amongst young males aged 13 to 24 years – a prime tar­get pop­u­la­tion for adver­tis­ers.  And accord­ing to its founder and CEO Will Muir­head, it’s gain­ing 30,000 new users a day, with the younger ones check­ing the app as many as ten times a day. There can’t be that many social media man­agers who don’t feel just a twinge of envy in their admi­ra­tion over fig­ures like that.

Healthy addic­tion

Via its web plat­form and app, Fanatix deliv­ers a per­son­al­ized stream of sports con­tent, allow­ing users to pull in videos, con­tent from sports blogs, Insta­gram pho­tos and tweets, along with par­tic­i­pat­ing on its group chat fea­ture. As Muir­head explains:

“We have deals with sports rights hold­ers for much of the video con­tent and part­ner­ships in place with many sports blogs for the ‘fan opin­ion’. In addi­tion, we pull in feeds from Insta­gram (great stuff here), YouTube, Face­book and Twitter.”

Designed to be a sec­ond screen expe­ri­ence dur­ing sport­ing events, it also adds ever­green con­tent and fea­tures which keep fans com­ing back between match­es, too. The new fund­ing, Muir­head says, will be used to add more social con­tent and roll out into Android and HTML5.

Sports fans can use the app for free but it’s mon­e­tiz­ing very nice­ly through native ads, boast­ing click-through rates ten times bet­ter than stan­dard 320–50 ban­ners. “Spon­sors love it,” says Muirhead.

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