Fanatix, a mobile first social network for sports fans has launched an app that targets cricket fans, powered by ESPNcricinfo. The company already has an app targeting football fans, which offers match highlights from English football club channels, Serie A, Ligue 1, MLS and Brasileiro. Fanatix monetises with ads, so it is possible that there is a revenue sharing agreement in place between the two.
The cricket app has live commentary from Cricinfo and tweets from teams and news sites. It is an interesting move for ESPN, that’s been trying to include social conversation in its live commentary and live streams at starsports.com. It is a bit strange that Cricinfo is letting Fanatix use their data instead of trying to add social features to its app.
It is stranger that Fanatix, which already has an editorial team in place to cover cricket has tied-up with Cricinfo. It needs to be noted that Star Sports had won the broadcast, internet and mobile rights for cricket events that are organised in India till 2018 and it has in the past sent legal notices to developers over coverage of cricket. It had approached the court on this issue and got an injunction from Supreme Court.
Fanatix has seen a lot of growth for its football app this year as it has grown from 150,000 active users in January to more than four million in September. The app has also proved popular among 13-24 year-olds according to the company.
Does not work (almost)
When we tried out the app, the Cricinfo and Feed tabs displayed the error message ‘Error downloading data’ for about 15 minutes, which is enough time for most people to stop using it forever. Thankfully we stuck around and the data started flowing in. You can select the teams you want to follow by clicking on the ‘tick’ mark on the top right, from where we could select domestic and international teams you like.
You can bring up the navigation panel by swiping from the left, to select between trending, recommended, live scores, results etc. If you navigate to any of these sections you can further select matches that you want to ‘check-in’ to (we had almost forgotten about that word). Once you check-in, you can see a live feed of the match and you’ll also have an option to create a ‘huddle’ which is basically just a group chat for people who are watching the game.
The app uses a lot of tweets in its steam, but there was no option to post to Twitter from within the app or to follow any of the official accounts. Overall, the app tries to be the front and centre for cricket discussion, but does a very average job of it. It might be more interesting after a lot of people start using it, but the way it is right now, it has very limited appeal.