Hardly Child's Play: Social Media Sites See Big Money In Youth Sports Leagues
Social media has "invaded youth sports," as a growing number of Internet "start-ups are making their play to bring youth baseball teams, soccer leagues, and hockey clubs into the era of Facebook and Twitter," according to Michael Farrell of the BOSTON GLOBE. Mass Premier Soccer, a Massachusetts youth league, last year "started using Korrio, a social network exclusively for soccer leagues." Seattle-based Korrio is "making a push to dominate the youth soccer market in Massachusetts," and the Massachusetts Youth Soccer Association says that the area "has the country's second-largest number of participants, after Southern California." Korrio has "signed up more than 50,000 users in the state in the past year." But there is "competition on the field, including WePlay Inc. of New York and TeamSnap Inc. of Boulder, Colo., which are open to all youth sports and are making inroads into Massachusetts." Korrio offers administrators "back-end tools to run a sports league, bringing multiple aspects of team organization together in one online resource -- everything from registration to record keeping." Once players and parents sign on, they "have access to such information as game times, directions to the field, and weekend weather reports." Social networks like Facebook "offer some of the same capabilities as Korrio but are not built specifically to run sports leagues." Korrio, which has raised $5.8M in "venture funding, makes money by charging teams an annual fee of $8 per player, and the company says it has hundreds of thousands of players using the service nationwide." By comparison, TeamSnap has raised $1.7M in venture investments and "charges leagues $250 a year and additional fees for services like compiling game statistics, and has signed up 45,000 users in Massachusetts" (BOSTON GLOBE, 6/25).