PlayUp is an interesting entrant into the niche social media market. As an app for the iPhone, it allows you to discuss a particular game as it’s happening in real time with fans all around the world. And during the Super Bowl, that includes St. Louis Rams Running Back Steven Jackson and Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson, who’ll be interacting in real time with fans.
The basic setup for PlayUp is ingeniously simple – pick the game that you’re watching, and you can either set up a room to chat about the game with your friends, or you can join someone else’s room and interact with other fans around the world.
“I’ve lived in Paris, Singapore, London, Hong Kong, and now New York,” CEO Dennis Lee told me on the phone. “But coming from San Francisco, I’m a 49ers fan. So what the App does is let me open a room every Sunday so I can talk to my dad in Hong Kong and my brothers in San Francisco while the game is going on.”
The next two quarters should be big for the company, which was founded in 2007. Their first iPhone app was released last October, and it’s one of the top free sports apps on iTunes. Now that they’ve proved their concept, Lee tells me that the company is set on apps for Android, Windows 7, and iPad. They’ll also be focusing on the lifeblood of any company – monetization, which they want to be more than just advertising. That will include social gaming and other features.
“We are creating ways to enhance user’s experience around a live sport,” says Lee. ”We’ll be offering an enhanced experience beyond messaging.”
The company is particularly excited about letting its users hang out with NFL stars Johnson and Jackson, who are likewise excited about a new way to connect with fans.
“I am extremely excited to be able to hang out and bond with my fans in the PlayUp app in real-time during the premier event on the sports calendar,” said Johnson in a press release. “I love being able to use social media to relate with my fans in ways never before possible, and the PlayUp app is great in that it lets me connect with them over our shared passion – football. It should be a remarkable game. Hopefully next year football fans will be using PlayUp to praise my team while we’re on our way to a Super Bowl victory!”
Personally, I think that PlayUp is emblematic of a new trend of social media – niche social networks that allow people to connect around common interests. PlayUp is a pioneer in this regard, and I’m interested to see what other types of interest-based social networks will emerge in the near future.