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How to move the online goal posts and become the most downloaded app in 30 countries

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An Australian software startup PlayUp is offering sports and media personalities the opportunity to monetise their social networks.

How? By linking them to premium “pay-per-play” content in the PlayUp iPhone and iPad app that already interweaves sport and social interactivity.

Launched just four months ago, and available for free from Apple Inc’s App Store, the app is now in the top five downloaded apps in 80 countries and number one in 30 countries.

How does PlayUp work?

PlayUp’s slogan is “Where Sports Gets Social”. Its app takes users to virtual rooms to let them follow sports and scores in real time, hang out with friends and send messages.

The company started with Aussie rules football; the story goes that PlayUp’s future founders saw how fans all reached for their mobiles to call friends and celebrate a big goal being scored, and decided to make an app to do the same within social networking .

Realising that the desire to live a game in the company of other people, whether public or private, is common to every sport, PlayUp then extended the app to 50 leagues across the nine biggest sports in the world, including soccer, NBA, NFL, rugby, cricket and more.

Now, PlayUp is opening up its app as an “entirely new revenue platform for sports and social brands”. Third party developers will be able to build applications to run on the PlayUp base and offer premium content and paid hangouts for key players and brands.

PlayUp has moved the money-making goalposts with respect to other sports social media apps, thanks to its ecommerce strategy. It does not rely on advertising or sponsorships, as favoured by its competitors.

It also offers two other sizable differentiators: comprehensive scores and statistics across sports, instead of limiting information to a single game. PlayUp also integrates with Facebook and Twitter that other competitors have so far ignored.

George, sorry, how many live games did you say?

George Tomeski, PlayUp founder and CEO, is unabashed in making application developers’ mouths water with his vision of how PlayUp will develop: “This is just the start in providing a mobile-based platform with live scores and stats, social gaming, interaction and premium content all in the one place.”

The latest version 2.0 now extends to live scores and stats for over 23,000 live games. It also includes the ability to invite friends from many social networks, customise sports preferences, and meet fans and make new friends.

From its headquarters in Melbourne, PlayUp now reaches out over the globe with offices in London, New York, Tokyo, Shanghai, Sao Paulo (Brazil) and Gugaon (India). It has a localisation focus on English, German, Spanish and Italian versions, among others.

And to capitalise on the exploding popularity of its app, PlayUp has also been busy in enlisting the services of sports personalities like former Australian cricket captain, Steve Waugh and Australia’s Olympic swimmer, Ian Thorpe to make them official brand ambassadors for the company.

Roy Slaven and HG Nelson were right, and ahead of their time. This is indeed a case where too much sport is barely enough.

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