While the UT and Kansas State football teams battle it out play by play on the field this Saturday, fans from both schools will have a new way to show their support and share their sport spectator experiences.
GameUp, a new iPhone app, allows sports fans to connect with friends, check into games, chat and share game plays, scores, photos and other types of media with one tap.
GameUp, an Austin-based startup, began as a way to connect people while watching television, first focusing on general viewing. Wanting to engage viewers while they are watching programming they are passionate about, the GameUp team quickly honed in on sports.
Additionally, GameUp’s founders—brothers Bryce and Preston Holland, Joshua Glick and Klaus Thuerbach—recognized that sports is the only remaining area of television where viewers do not watch time-delayed programming.
“Ten minutes after a play, the news is ancient history,” Bryce writes in an email.
The team looked to university campuses rather than professional sports teams for direction. They found an opportunity to connect sports fans in real time no matter where they are—at the game, a bar or a private viewing party.
“We engage friends and fans at the moment they catch the action,” Bryce says.
By integrating with Facebook, GameUp allows users to interact with their friends and existing communities rather than strangers, aiming to foster a more meaningful experience.
“We want to connect people with each other while they are engaged in something they all love,” Glick says.
After downloading GameUp, a user signs in using their Facebook login. Once inside the app, a user can see what games their friends are watching—at the game or remotely—and check into a game based on GPS location or interest. Upon checking into a game, the user will get scores and statistics via a real-time feed. He can also chat with friends in a group setting, post pictures relating to the game or his viewing party from his phone and see photos his friends have posted as well.
Drawn by the passion around U.T. athletics, Austin’s forward-thinking and tech-minded community, and an offer to join the Austin Technology Incubator, the GameUp team relocated here only a few months ago in an effort to get GameUp off the ground.
Bryce took a leave of absence from his MBA program at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Preston, a second-year law student at the University of Washington, is putting the rest of law school on hold. And Glick is simultaneously pursuing a master’s in advertising at U.T.’s College of Communication.
The team plans to make money by incorporating actionable advertising into the GameUp experience and using behavioral analytics to help sports teams engage their fans.
The GameUp iPhone app is the company’s first release. The team has plans for entering the Android and social TV space in the near future.
Preston, Bryce and Josh, who are childhood friends from Seattle, have always wanted to start a company together. They have thrown around many an idea. “This is definitely our best idea so far,” they say.
The team is most looking forward to receiving feedback on the free GameUp beta application, which is available on iTunes and will be promoted in-stadium this Saturday, November 19th, at the U.T. vs. Kansas State football game.
“We’ve had our product and talk about it so much, but we are most excited about getting the product to the people we created it for,” Preston says.
The other GameUp team members include: Enrique Ortiz, Josh Wilson, Alex Grunstein, Erik Stark, Edward Funger and Nick Myers.