FanIQ, a sports site that focuses more on entertaining its users than bogging them down with the stats and opinion pieces found on the likes of ESPN, has had a landmark year. The site launched in 2006, but hasn’t really hit its stride until now: since January, the site has grown by over 2000%, recently hitting as many as 2.4 million unique users and 1.5 million registered members. These figures pale in comparison to the larger sports sites and popular fantasy leagues, but the rate of growth is very impressive nonetheless.
FanIQ differentiates itself from other sports sites by offering a set of casual games and community features alongside more traditional sports headlines. To encourage participation, the site has a points system that rewards users who write blog posts and play the site’s integrated trivia game. These points are just for show (though CEO Ty Shay says that many users are still intensely competitive about them), but in the future the site will offer virtual goods and other rewards in exchange for points.
The site has raised around $3-5 million in funding (the exact amount was not disclosed), with investors including Vantage Point Ventures, Peter Thiel, Paul Martino, Keith Rabois, and Jeff Fluhr. Other startups in this space include Open Sports (which has a similar web portal) and Watercooler and Citizen Sports, both of which design sports oriented applications for social networks.