Collecting thousands of scores from high school games, ScoreStream discusses their Game Plan.
Derrick Oien, Founder and CEO
What is ScoreStream?
Oien: ScoreStream is a social network for local and high school sports teams and the fans that power them
When was your company founded?
Oien: We were founded in April 2012 and we originally started as an experiment over a 2-year period. After the 2 years, we started raising venture capital and have been running for a solid 3 years.
What did you do during this 2-year experiment?
Oien: We had an early there that there was strong interest in local sports that was not being entirely served by the local media companies which were under siege by consolidation primarily in print and also financially pressured by the Internet. We made a simple application and had some early media partners that were interested like local radio stations, internet startup companies, yahoo rivals. For the first year, we scored 2,000 games and the second year, we scored 20,000 games. This last year we have scored 420,000 games.
What inspired you to come up with such an app?
Oien: When I grew up, I went to a high school where there were several future pro sports players. People would wake up on a Saturday morning and see six pages of recaps of all the high school games. I realized that those people in the communities still get really excited about their local sports teams, but newspapers just don’t have the resources to cover every High School game. While there is interest with companies like Rivals around recruiting and stats we felt that there was an even bigger and underserved market around capturing and sharing local media across the entire community and their sports teams.
What made you target high school sports?
Oien: If you think about it there are so many high school sports games versus the few pro sport games. Anyone can get those scores and data from those pro and D1 college games, but nobody was very successful capturing the real-time data for high school games. We felt that crowdsourcing that would be a way to make that happen. By comparison in the fall there are 16 pro football games each week, 100 D1 college football games each week and 7,000 high school football games each week.
Do you think this platform can be expanded to youth sports or college sports?
Oien: We already cover all of those, including semi-pro, pro and more. We even cover many sports all over the world. During the summer, about half our mobile traffic is European based. The same idea we used to capture high school sports in the US can be used to cover anything. We are currently working with the NFL on some of their flag football projects and are live on their Play Football as well.
Where do you see areas of growth?
Oien: We started in the US, but in the international market like Germany and UK, our success is based around American Football. So, from an international perspective, we are trying to find those “beachheads” in foreign market and try to dive into their traditional sports. We realized that we could engage fans in these markets around niche sports and then use that audience to capture the more popular sports in those markets in the same way that our fans started using us for high school sports and are now using us for college, pro and club sports coverage today.
What is the most popular sport on the app?
Oien: American Football, but we have had a strong basketball season. Last week, we had over 13,000 games, 7,000 of them were football and the others were a combination of volleyball, soccer, field hockey and softball.
Who uses the platform the most (fans, media, schools)?
Oien: It’s a big cross-section. If you look at our media partners, we have a strong media component with mass distribution. We also have a lot of schools, alumni, students, and fans using the platform.
How many high schools are currently using your app?
Oien: We have every high school in the system and get scores from most of them. Directly, we have about 15% of all high schools that have a general manager. A general manager manages the team page for the schools. It can be any staff, someone in journalism, or even just a fan. By the end of the year, we expect to get a general manager for about 20% of all schools in the country.
Do you have any partnerships?
Oien: We now work with USA Today, Sinclair Broadcasting, Tegna, and a lot of major broadcasting groups. Snapchat is also working with us, where there are 5,000 football games every Friday night and they have snapchat geofilters to show the scores. We are really excited about that partnership. We are also an official partner with the Associated Press where fans can report scores to the AP using our smartphone application.
Where do you see ScoreStream in 5 years?
Oien: We believe that if you can create a sports property that is targeted towards the millennial generation that is mobile, creates personalized content, and creates content that is digestible then this is what a next generation sports media company looks like.
“We think ScoreStream’s crowdsourced solution for high-school sports scores is unmatched and we can break new ground together for the benefit of AP’s member news organizations and customers across the U.S.” – Jim Kennedy, Senior vice president for strategy and enterprise development for the Associative Press