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Volume 22 No. 28
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Red Bulls do good with FanAngel

With 71 saves on the year as of last week, New York Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles again ranks among the league leaders in a season after he was named MLS’s goalkeeper of the year. In the process, he’s helped to raise more than $16,000 for Hackensack University Medical Center’s “Tackle Kids Cancer” campaign.

Goalkeeper Luis Robles is helping raise money for a hospital’s kids cancer campaign.
Those donations have come as a result of the Red Bulls working with FanAngel, a crowdfunding platform that blends donations with in-game performances.

For each save he makes, Robles donates $100 to the campaign, with the club matching his donation as well as contributing a portion of ticket sales from select games. Using the FanAngel website, fans can choose to donate a fixed amount to the overall campaign or can select an amount they wish to donate for every save Robles makes or number of matches the club wins. The site provides a running tally of donations to date and also lists prizes fans can win for donating, ranging from match tickets to autographed goalkeeper gloves to on-field experiences.

As of last week, $16,495 has been contributed to the campaign as a result of the club’s efforts on the platform.

“For a lot of our fans who are millennials and are now used to crowdfunding with sites like Kickstarter, we’re really able to engage them in a unique way as well as be socially responsible,” said Christina Giunta-Quarino, Red Bulls director of community relations. “When Luis came to us and said he wanted to raise money for this campaign, which he really cares about, he was even more excited because now when he makes saves he not only helps the team but also helps to raise money and awareness.”

The Red Bulls are one of the first pro sports teams to work with FanAngel, which was founded in November 2014 and also has worked with the Washington Capitals and Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation, the Denver Broncos’ Von Miller and former NFL player LaDainian Tomlinson. This is the second campaign the Red Bulls have launched, after helping raise more than $10,000 for autism awareness earlier this year.

“From our perspective, we want to be a companion to the great work that these foundations, teams and players are already doing,” said David Burton, FanAngel co-founder and chief technology officer. “What they’re doing is not new, but they’ve never been able to reach out to the internet for microdonations, or have this link to performance. We just want to help them continue to grow what they’re already doing by breaking down the tech barriers.”

The company, self-funded to this point, collects a 7 percent fee for every donation it takes in and issues tax receipts to users when they donate, Burton said. Using fantasy sports data providers, FanAngel has written its own application interface for stat tracking and updating — so it could, hypothetically, create a campaign around any tracked statistic in any sport, though Burton notes that they would not allow a campaign focused on a “negative stat,” like goals allowed.

Based in Park City, Utah, FanAngel is a few months away from rolling out an enhanced version of its platform that allows teams and athletes to manually create and manage their own campaigns, as well as offering a number of additional features and functionalities. Currently, any new campaign is overseen by the FanAngel team, a group that is fewer than 10 full-time employees and a number of contracted developers.

While there are a number of other crowdfunding platforms now available online, Burton points to FanAngel’s tie-in to sports statistics as what makes it unique.