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Volume 24 No. 112
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Fan Media Network, Verve Mobile Win Fan Engagement Pitch Competition At SMS

A brand-new startup app and a 10-year-old mobile ad platform took home the top prizes at the '15 Momentum Sports Marketing Symposium's inaugural fan engagement pitch Thursday. Dallas-based Fan Media Network narrowly won the judges' prize. On the app, fans can upload their own video reports about their favorite teams, then compete with others for votes to become the site’s official team correspondent. Bruin Sports Capital Exec VP David Abrutyn, a judge for the event, gave Founder & CEO Kirk Berridge high marks for its disruption potential. “We really came here to present the company to the industry,” Berridge said. “Nobody really knows about Fan Media Network other than our partners, Ticketmaster, Fanatics, Uber, Dallas Mavericks, (and the) NBA, so what better place to do it at? ... It’s going to attract partners, sponsors, broadcast media companies, teams leagues that know about us now." Verve won the audience vote by a wide margin, receiving praise for its technology that identifies fans based on their online and TV viewing habits, then can serve mobile ads through affiliated apps and push notifications while they are in their favorite sports venues. Verve Regional VP/Northeast Sales Jason Brenner: “We’re honored, truly, we’re glad that everybody thinks Verve has cool technology. Everything I presented is real. It’s actionable. We have results, we have metrics we have benchmarks for everything. We think that understanding and mining that location data is the future of everything in media."

HERE'S THE PITCH: During the action-packed 45-minute program, reps from five companies had four minutes to pitch the four-person judge’s panel, then three to answer questions. The judges panel included Abrutyn, Inner Circle Sports Partner Steve Horowitz, Momentum Worldwide Chief Creative Officer Omid Farhang and Soccer United Marketing President Kathy Carter. Judges convened for five minutes before announcing the prize. Pitches were evaluated in four categories: potential to engage fans, ease of use/functionality, the market need and presentation delivery.

Other competitors included:
• Tap.in2, an app that allows fans to order concessions and experiences by mobile phone at partner sports venues. The white-label technology claims to increase fan spending by cutting the hassle of a transaction, and uses existing venue staff to deliver orders within 10 minutes. “You’re sort of bringing the club seat to fans,” Abrutyn said.

• Tremor Video, a video advertising marketplace that optimizes video ads based on real-time signals about a viewer’s habits, helping marketers target those most likely to buy season tickets, for instance.

• BracketPro, a creation of digital consulting firm Omnigon that creates tournament-style brackets that can be customized to include sponsorships, video advertising and social media integrations. For instance, it built a bracket for the Fox show “So You Think You Can Dance,” asking fans to vote on the best auditions.