By Alex McIlvaine
Fancred, an avant-garde, sports website and top 50 application for iPhone and Android, keeps fans up to date with their favorite sports and teams with a distinctly personal, social twist.
The website, nearing its third year of existence, functions both as a social network and a source of news. Users can track different sports, including soccer, and subscribe to specific team’s feeds; the experience is highly customizable. These feeds are occupied by content posted by users, such as news, photos, articles, videos, GIFs and simple grumblings related to certain sports and teams. Users follow each other based on similar interests. On your personal profile, your picture and all of your favorite teams are presented, along with a complete history of your activity. Fancred allows users to preserve their favorite sports moments. Their archived profile acts as a digital vault. As your general activity on the network increases, so does your score-a reflection of your “cred” as a fan.
Fancred borrows from both social and journalistic networks, creating its own hybrid one. Similar to Facebook, Fancred allows users to comment, like and share each other’s posts, which appear in various forms (photo, link, expression, etc.) Additionally, Fancred offers the dislike option on posts, spurring the competitive atmosphere sports fans crave. Banter between Barcelona and Madrid fans flourishes. The content is not solely user-generated, as journalists and organizations have joined Fancred. For example, the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) operates a Fancred account. Posts are generally filtered by use of tags, much like Twitter. Fancred is a GIF-friendly site, mirroring Buzzfeed and others’ obsession with the slow motion video repeats. The main, rather obvious, distinction between Fancred and other social media outlets is the way in which it specializes in sports. Instead of filtering through your Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for sports related-content, you can rely on Fancred.
Fansided.com’s Jack Jorgensen described Fancred as a forum where “fans from around the globe can gather to collectively share their thoughts and opinions of their favorite teams on a daily basis”.
Fancred satisfies an emerging interest in more specific, condensed, social media, and follows a developing trend.
“I think it is too early to say that they’re abandoning the larger social networks, but certainly the audience for those networks is now fragmented,” said Shayla Thiel-Stern, a professor of journalism at the University of Minnesota.
Thiel-Stern’s observation explains the popularity of applications such as Snapchat, Vine, Pinterest and WhatsApp. These apps contain their own, defined purpose, unlike the more inclusive Facebook and Twitter. The growing complaint with Facebook is the way in which it has become almost too public of a space. While soccer fans on Facebook scroll past countless pictures of their neighbors’ baby and late-night musings from their grandmothers, they can engage in conversations focused on their team and their sport on Fancred. According to CNN’s Paul Gross, 56% of teens from a 2014 study said that they were active on Facebook, compared to the 76% from the start of the year.
The communal atmosphere of Fancred allows fans to watch live events virtually together. Questions can be answered, excitement can be shared, and disdain can be voiced. With Fancred, the solo-watcher is not alone during the game.
Fancred is changing the way fans experience all sports, but in a more unique way with soccer. With soccer as the world’s most popular and widespread sport, fans from all over the globe interact on Fancred every day. While football fans from Texas and New York are given a chance to interact where there was little before, soccer fans from Munich and Rhode Island are given the same chance where there was even less of one. Fancred allows the global game to truly become global.
While many soccer-focused bloggers and journalists contribute to Fancred, Liverpool FC stands out as a noteworthy member. Last year, the club added Fancred to their official social media strategy. The club’s page is certified by the app as a legitimate, organization-run outlet.
On Fancred, socializing becomes even more a part of the sports experience. Founder and CEO Kash Razzaghi understands the way in which friendship and sports have always paired together.
”The way I integrated myself into the community was through sports,” he said. “I found my network of friends who cared about sports, and those people are still my lifelong friends.”
Razzaghi believes that one should not only follow sports, but unify around them. Users do not just digest news, they share and enjoy it. While Fancred informs, it simultaneously connects.