Good news, sports fans. There is a new free online social network called eFans that connects sports fans with athletes and team. Think of it as a social media outlet for Sports Fans. The site is home to millions of sports fanatics who can’t wait to get their daily fix of ESPN and Yahoo! Sports. Whether you’re a Kobe Bryant fan who loves to keep track of his latest views on the next NBA season, or a New York Jets fan looking for the latest scoop on quarterback Mark Sanchez, eFans is a good way to discuss your favorite sports with other enthusiasts.
eFans is a fusion between social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter and sports news sites like ESPN and Yahoo! Sports. eFans allows you to create a profile and join a network of your favorite teams. You can also connect both your Facebook and Twitter accounts to your eFans profile. You can also connect to other fans all over the world. In addition to that, there are other great features that are similar to these social networking sites. You can upload, share and watch videos of your favorite teams and players. There is also an option to blog and share your views with the sports community, as well as read other member’s opinions. If you’re pressed for time, you can read the site’s in-depth news section and updates. Given the vast amount of sports related content site all over the web, sports aficionados will definitely find this one-stop web 2.0 site refreshing.
History of eFans
In September 2007, Stephan Maric founded eFans while studying at the University of California, Los Angeles. Mr. Maric asked Branislav Gjorcevski to join him, given the latter’s technical expertise and various experiences in launching startup ventures. Their goal was to create a site that would connect millions of fans around the world with their favorite teams and athletes.
Since then, the site has undergone several layout modifications to improve overall user experience. At present, the site is divided into several sections, an Athletes section and Team section, where users browse profiles for both players and teams. The News section includes up-to-the-minute developments on major sporting events. The site also boasts other sections, including online gaming, a betting portal, user contributed videos and a merchandise shop.
eFans expanded into the European market in 2010. It launched eFans sites in Spain and the United Kingdom. It also hired Jason Morais as President of its Board of Directors. Mr. Morais is the business development officer at Qatar Sports Investments. He has been involved with media and sports business ventures in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. The addition of Mr. Morais means that eFans will be targeting more countries around the globe. eFan’s long-term vision is to become the premiere sports social media outlet worldwide. At present, Mr. Maric lives in Spain and continues to manage eFans as its Chief Executive Officer. Meanwhile, Gjorcevski is Chief Technology Officer and also heads up business development for eFans.
Strong Prospects for Both Social Media and Sports Content
Social media marketing is a big business. Sports entertainment is an even bigger business. When you combine both, you have a formula for success. For example, Facebook has delivered solid results for the last nine quarters from 2010 to 2012. It generated a total of $7.6 billion in revenues and earned $3.6 billion in operating income during that period. This translates to operating margins of around 43%. Average revenue per user grew from $0.94 in 2010 to $1.28 in the second quarter of 2012. This strong profitability profile is attributed to the increasing shift from offline to online social media marketing. More brands and businesses are beginning to realize that social media marketing has a much better return on investment. Facebook has also launched several initiatives to highlight its clients. Users are noticing that sponsored stories are increasingly embedded into news feeds. Meanwhile, there are doubts about whether Twitter has turned its operations around. But there is an article that disputes this claim. According to Business Insider, Twitter has 600 advertisers that spend an average of $50,000 per promoted account. This equates to revenues of $20 million and promoted trends of around $35 million. It then tallied the revenues to $85 million, against its estimated annual expenses of $50 million. This translated to estimated profit of $35 million for the year.
On the other hand, ESPN contributes significantly to Disney’s operating income. ESPN is lumped under its Media Network segment. It contributed $18 billion in revenues for 2011, higher than 2009’s revenues of $16 billion. This translated into operating income of around $6 billion in 2011, also an increase from 2009’s $4.7 billion income. Meanwhile, Yahoo! Sports contributes to Yahoo’s total display revenues. The segment revenues have grown from $1.8 billion in 2009 to $2.16 billion in 2011. Yahoo! Sports has also experienced several changes over the past ten years. It has acquired several news sports site to cover various sports news and developments.
Moving forward, I believe that the sports entertainment will remain stable as fans look for higher quality interactive online content. Sports gaming is a $145 billion industry. It is expected to grow by 3.7% per year from 2010 to 2015. Based on the PwC report, the key drivers include a rebound in TV advertising and a number of major sports events.
While there is no doubt that there is potential for eFans, the key challenge is to get new visitors and members. Based on site analytics, it had 723 monthly visitors in April 2012. This is higher than the 122 monthly visitors seen back in August 2011. The site needs to maintain this momentum in order to survive and remain profitable. Given the high costs of bandwidth from its streaming videos, it needs to ramp up its user base. It also needs to increase user interaction with other users. Its CrunchBase profile suggests that it has raised $50,000 in seed funding in 2007, but has not raised any additional capital. There have been several notable deals in social media recently, notably Salesforce’s $689 million acquisition of Buddy Media. I would not be surprised if eFans merged with a larger sports news website in the near future. Such a move would likely be a strong growth catalyst. For now, I will check eFans for updates on how the new Lakers roster will help them win the next NBA championship.