SBD/September 16, 2013/Media

Social Media Company OverDog Connects Athletes, Fans Through Video Games

OverDog is "the next step in social media for professional athletes, beyond Twitter, Facebook, LockerDome, Instagram and personal blogs," according to Ray Glier of the N.Y. TIMES. Fan interaction with athletes "used to involve autograph hunting," but fans now are "playing Madden and talking through headsets with athletes during games, which last about 20 minutes." Univ. of Miami assistant professor Tywan Martin said, "This is exactly what the leagues are interested in, to have the fans so engaged they lock in with a sport, even in the off-season. Fans live for the opportunity to engage with the people they watch on Sundays and other days." Former NFLer and OverDog co-Founder Hunter Hillenmeyer said that the company "had signed 250 athletes." OverDog is licensed by the NFLPA and Hillenmeyer said that "contracts were pending" with the NHLPA and the MLBPA. Once fans "download the app and share their gaming tags, OverDog connects their game systems with those of pro athletes." Fans "can limit their opponents to athletes from a particular team or sport." Many athletes who were "accustomed to playing games anonymously online can now issue public challenges to OverDog subscribers." Ravens RB Ray Rice said, "We have the free time. We’re not in college anymore. It’s rigorous being an NFL player, but there is also the off-season and other downtime." Hillenmeyer said that the company "will be supported by advertising revenue." Athletes also "might find it lucrative to film themselves playing other athletes." Hillenmeyer: "We can pop it on OverDog’s YouTube channel, and as views go up, these guys can make very real money playing video games from their couch" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/15).
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