RealTime IT News

TruFan Swings for Social Media Sports Networks

Facebook pages, Twitter and blogs are just some of the ways sports fans connect and share information about their favorite teams and players. But to paraphrase the name of a famous movie, There's Something About Local that has unique appeal to sports fan.

"We highly recommend all those things like Facebook and Twitter," says Rafe Anderson, CEO of TruMedia Networks.

That recommendation may seem odd coming from a company that sells its own customizable, social media platform to local newspaper, TV and radio stations, but Anderson says these media outlets should do everything they can to promote fan interest.

"The difference is, you can utilize those platforms (like Twitter and Facebook) to generate interest, but there is still a desire for functionality and sticky applications a company wants to control within the walls of their own brand," he said.

That's the value proposition of TruMedia's TruFan platform, which the company announced on Tuesday is available across the U.S. A beta version of the TruFan.com platform was first introduced in Boston in early 2008 with pilot communities Sawxheads.com (Boston Red Sox), Celtsheads.com (Boston Celtics), Blackandgoldheads.com (Boston Bruins), and Patsheads.com (New England Patriots). The company says Sawxheads.com has more than 25,000 active users.

Essentially TruMedia provides clients with a menu of social media features they can implement, including blogging tools, personalized Web pages, voting and survey tools and an online buy-and-sell ticketing application.

The news comes at a time of explosive growth of social media networks like Facebook and micro-blogging services like Twitter. Anderson argues there's a ready market for local social media because the national sites tend to give most local markets "watered down" treatment.

"If I'm a San Diego Chargers fan, I'm not going to get a lot of coverage from the national media," he said.

With Tuesday's announcement, TruMedia Networks is offering to license its TruFan.com platform and technology to sports teams and regional media companies interested in producing their own online fan community. While it's being pitched as a "shrink-wrapped" solution, Anderson emphasizes there are a range of customizable options including the interface.

The company helped create social network sites for media competitors Boston.com, Comcast and the WEEI radio station in the Boston area.