If you go to any of the major sports sites on the Web—ESPN.com, Yahoo Sports,, Sports Illustrated—you’ll find pretty much the same thing: a picture of Michael Phelps, Olympics coverage, and maybe some fantasy baseball. David Katz, a former Yahoo executive who used to run Yahoo Sports, is trying something different with SportsFanLive, which has just launched in beta.
Rather than being organized around the big sports headlines of the day, SportsFanLive is organized around the fans themselves and the obsessions. Instead seeing the same general sports information that everyone else sees on the homepage and taking thre or four clicks to get to the page about your team, SportsFanLive lets you put the information you want up front. You tell it what teams you follow, and whatever is happening with those teams is front and center when you visit the site. As he was creating the site, Katz asked himself:
What do sports fans want to do? Consume content about their favorite teams and players, connect with like-minded (or non-like-minded) fans, and compete.
SportsFanLive looks a little bit like a green Netvibes, with different widgets arranged on the page: a fun poll up top, a feed of major sports story headlines, another feed of top headlines from the teams you are following, and a Facebook-like FanFeed that lets you keep up with all of the sports news and events your friends are watching. There is also a FanFinder that shows you local sports bars where tonight’s game is being watched (organized by team loyalty).
The site is designed to recreate the chest-thumping bravado of a sports bar. Bragging rights are key, which is why the site also includes virtual betting. Says Katz:
Every sports fan thinks they know everything about sports, but they all know something different.
With SportsFanLive, Katz is trying to create a friendlier gathering place for sports fans than the faceless major sports sites. But he still has a lot of work to do. A Facebook or MySpace app would be nice for starters, so that fans don’t have to recreate their social networks. There are also simple things he could do, like letting fans take their team headline widget and embed it anywhere on the Web. Also, mobile and Twitter integration are key if Katz wants fans at the game to be able to interact with their friends and other fans online.
The company that operates SportsFanLive is called Sports Media Ventures, and is based in Los Angeles. It faces competition from all the big sports sites, as well as social sports sites such as Citizen Sports, Screaming Sports,, and SportsTwit. All you sports fans out there, chime in. Would you use it?