System allows student pictures to be posted on stadium videoboard
Sooners become first college team to use FanChatter
New mobile phone technology is sweeping through the stands at Sooner football games, letting fans gain temporary celebrity status and become larger than life.
A system called FanChatter enables fans to take pictures on their mobile phones and then e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The pictures are reviewed for censorship purposes, and may be shown on the JumboTron or posted online to OU’s FanChatter Web site.
Thanks to OU and Sooner Sports Properties’ new partnership with FanChatter, the mobile sports fan network, every Sooner fan has the chance to see themselves on the scoreboard.
FanChatter co-founder Martin Wetherall has big plans for his young company, which started its stadium division in March 2008, according to a FanChatter press release.
The Sooners are the first college football team his company has partnered with, and OU fans have already sent more than 300 photos from the first two home games, Wetherall said.
“We empower the fans,” Wetherall said, “We let them interact with the event, making it more exciting, social and satisfying.”
Chas Gilmore, entrepreneurship and international business senior, said the Sooners are lucky to become the first football team to receive the new technology.
“I like that we are ahead of the curve,” Gilmore said. “The Sooners are No. 1 in football, so we should be first in everything else too.”
FanChatter provides new incentives for fans to get involved at football games.
They offer scoreboard photo sharing, as well as a medium to vote on player of the game, answer trivia questions and text to win prizes, Wetherall said.
Art senior Melinda Hawkins noticed the advertisement for FanChatter on the scoreboard during a timeout at the last home football game.
“My friend and I took a quick picture and sent it in while we were waiting for the game to start back up,” Hawkins said. “Everyone in the student section was doing it.”
Fans should look at their mobile phone as a game controller they can use to interact and become part of the game instead of just spectators, Wetherall said.
“There is so much room for innovation,” Wetherall said. “We envision a day where user-generated content features like scoreboard photo sharing will replace the old fashioned ‘Fan Cam,’ giving everybody a chance to see themselves on the JumboTron on their own terms.”
Selected fan-sent photos are shown on Oklahoma Memorial Stadium’s new videoboard before the beginning of the fourth quarter at each home game.
“I like FanChatter better because you never know when you will be surprised by the JumboTron camera,” Hawkins said. “At least this way I know what I am sending in instead of being caught on candid fan camera.”
FanChatter’s first client was Minnesota’s Major League Baseball team, the Minnesota Twins. After success on the baseball diamond, FanChatter moved to the football field.
FanChatter’s next move is an ambitious one.
“Total sports world domination,” Wetherall said. “We want to continue growing our business to allow sports fans to connect, create, and communicate, whether that happens among friends everyday on their phones or in a packed ballpark during the big game.”