Do sports lovers need their own Facebook for?
Favourit thinks so. The sporting site – everything but live TV feeds here – even calls itself the Facebook for sport. And why not?
The brothers Toby and Josh Simmons have come up with a site where you can have your friendly discussions, share gossip and place your real (and virtual) bets, too.
“Favourit is a social network designed for a purpose, to allow fans of sports and entertainment to connect and share the real thrill of events,” Chief Executive Toby Simmons told Anthill in an email interview. “Like Facebook, Favourit allows users to share information in a meaningful way, either by discussion the latest breaking news of a sporting match, the live scores updates as goals are scored, expert commentary or watching replays of matches and analysing the game.”
The Simmons have taken their time sizing up the market, and in coming up with the right mix. Favourit offers live stats, scores, social data, trends, rich media, gamification and, of course, betting. The gamification lets users compete against each other to prove who knows more about sports matches and the outcomes, allowing them to accrue IQ points and win competitions on the coveted Favourit leaderboard.
Three years ago, the two gleaned an opportunity through market research. As Toby says, they discovered two worlds merging – the social evolution of sports online and customer dissatisfaction from traditional sports betting websites.
“We began piloting user experience design into mashing the two together, and quickly realised that if you made it competitive, it was very compelling for users to engage in, whether they be the armchair commentary who watches every game, the fantasy player who picks their team fastidiously, or the sports punter who puts some real cash on the games they love to follow with their mates,” Toby says.
Favourit launched live this June and has won 230,000 fans on Facebook. It has attracted thousands of registered customers who visit the site 3-5 times per week to compete in our leaderboard competitions and get live updates. In the next few months, Favourit expects to release an iOS app, which it consider key given the popularity of iPhones and iPads.
It should not surprise Australians that a site like Favourit has emerged from Down Under, a nation that simply loves sport. But Favourit is not roosting just in its own den. It’s already global with reach, and users, in Asia, Europe and even the United States. So much so, Toby counts managing the site across time zones a challenge.
“Favourit has grown extremely quickly in many countries around the globe. The biggest challenge has been managing our community that is not in our time zone, that is, our European audience who are football fanatics, or U.S. audience who is obsessed with NFL or NBA, and making sure the user experience is localised to reflect their specific needs and requirements,” says Toby, who is traveling to Europe to scout for local partners.
Favourit has received over $2.5 million from founding investors including Martin Dalgleish, the former CEO of New Media for PBL, and Richard Kuo, the CEO of Pier Capital. Dalgleish serves as the company’s chairman and Kuo is on its board. Based in Melbourne, Favourit has a lean staff of eight.