By Nancy Dahlberg
It would certainly seem that a tech startup focused on delivering live soccer would be suffering right now. But for Fanatiz – which calls itself “the world’s largest soccer stadium” – business has been surprisingly stable during the COVID-19 crisis, and the Miami-based venture has been quite busy rolling out new features and refreshing its brand.
“Fortunately, our base of clients has remained with us,” said Matias Rivera, founder and CEO, in an interview with Refresh Miami. “We haven’t been growing as much, but with the return of live sports [Spanish, Turkish and Portuguese leagues are already starting up, albeit without fans], we are excited to be reigniting our growth rocket.”
In January, Fanatiz announced it had raised $10 million in a Series A round, and the CEO has been putting the money to work improving the technology and content offering as well as for marketing.
During the pandemic, Fanatiz has been serving up historical games and other content to try to keep soccer fans happy. And it has been busy behind the scenes aiming to make the customer experience better when live sports return. There have been lessons learned, Rivera said, and “COVID has led us to place more emphasis on helping people find and navigate our content.”
To that end, last week Fanatiz announced:
- An upcoming unveiling a new brand identity;
- A revamp of its web platform, enhancing features for sports enthusiasts;
- The launch its first Freemium offering, with a wide variety of soccer channels complete with highlights, interviews, documentaries and more;
- The availability of Fanatiz on Android TV, adding to other platforms already available including Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast and Roku.
“Our work never sleeps and we’re excited to share this new platform for fans eager to restart the soccer season with a bang,” said Rivera.
As an avid soccer fan, Rivera said he experienced first-hand the difficulties of following his beloved South American teams while traveling before launching Fanatiz. Rivera previously helped start four other ventures, including the accelerator Startup Chile and a Chilean crowdfunding site. He participated in Batch 1 of 500 Startups Miami’s Growth Accelerator in 2018 as well as TheVentureCity’s program.
Fanatiz launched its service publicly in 2017. Its team of about 40 is spread all over, but most are in Chile. The company has customers in 70 countries, but doesn’t disclose subscriber counts.
“Pre-Covid we had been growing strongly – seeing double digit month over month growth — and we expect that to resume with live sports coming back,” said Rivera, who is based in Miami. “Now it is about rolling up our sleeves and taking advantage of the return of live sports …. Growth is the name of the game, so that’s the big challenge for us up ahead.”
Fanatiz says it is the only platform that customizes the entire online customer experience, allowing viewers to select their favorite teams and receive direct access to their games, as well as ongoing news and data. Viewers can access Fanatiz by logging onto www.fanatiz.com on a PC, by downloading the app on iOS and Android smartphones or on TV by streaming from Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, Apple TV and now Android TV.
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