Little league baseball. AYSO soccer. Youth hockey. Youth sports have long been a staple of growing up for many, but coordinating the activities falls on the organizations and then parents, themselves.
Where do my kids have to be this weekend? Which sport are we talking about? Which field? What was I supposed to bring again?
It can feel like a part-time job at times for everyone involved, yet the focus should be on the joy and competition. Filling a void to reduce time spent on keeping track of all the details and logistics that flows from running a youth team, TeamSnap has become the leading sports team management app on the market.
The model is simple: Enable everyone to spend more time playing and less time organizing.
Now building on the success of the core app, TeamSnap is rolling out a unique video highlights platform to its popular game-sharing feature, known as TeamSnap Live!, and hopes to grow the experiences and connections between teammates, coaches, families, and friends even further.
Weekend game warriors! TeamSnap Live! now has video highlights, powered by Fantag. Available on all TeamSnap basic, premium and ultra plans. Install the latest iOS/Android app to get started. Shoutout to @Fantag_Live partner Steve Young for the video! https://t.co/bcuK2sked7 pic.twitter.com/yuI8yYuKUM
— TeamSnap (@teamsnap) August 24, 2018
The Story Behind TeamSnap
Before generating more than 20 million customers across almost 200 countries, the idea for an app like TeamSnap was the all too common story of discovering an inefficiency in the market and addressing it with a solution.
For TeamSnap Founder and CEO Dave DuPont, the inspiration for the company came from personal experience. As an assistant coach for his son’s lacrosse team, DuPont was amazed at how ineffective and inefficient things were managed. Practice would be moved from one day to the next. The news was shared by a blast email to everyone. One by one, each parent would reply to all and spam the entire distribution list with comments like “Sorry, we’re going to be in Paris!”
“There has to be a better way to do this,” remembered DuPont.
Nobody was addressing the core needs around managing youth sports from a technology perspective at the time. Possessing experience in the tech world himself, DuPont set out to find a better solution. With a desire to create a “one-stop shop” for organizing team needs, TeamSnap was born.
The TeamSnap Engines of Ideation
In driving innovation, TeamSnap has some unique competitive advantages. First and foremost, the product is truly meaningful to their customers and end users in a way that not all are.
“The list of things to make TeamSnap better is endless,” noted DuPont, when talking about the ideas that reside in their product backlog. “One of the cool things is how we’re able to engage with customers. It’s a product associated with an activity people care about.”
“A primary investor of ours, who funds hundreds of companies, has never been so invested in a company where product ideas come from so many people.”
Even the idea for the new video functionality in TeamSnap Live!, itself, came from a primary investor and their practical experience.
It’s not the first time such innovation has come from stakeholders.
An unexpected request once came from a string of complaints to customer support. “He can’t access his son’s team anymore — the ex-wife changed the password,” was the feedback. This led to the enhancement of “shared access” as a way for non-amicable couples to each have access to their children’s leagues and teams!
Growth of the product into clubs, league, and associations as a market was spurred by customer comments as well.
“If all teams use TeamSnap, and admins communicated between them…” became the creation of a new business model for the firm. The venture into clubs and leagues has helped the company’s overall expansion. The club and league business has grown at about 90 percent year over year.
“Our (original) team product enables that. It’s (still) a key element of our growth going forward,” noted DuPont.
The other driver of innovation for TeamSnap is their diverse group of employees — especially when it comes to location. As a business strategy for a company based in Boulder, Colo., the company has employed a virtual workforce as a competitive advantage to attract the best talent.
The advantage of having access to talent that it would be impossible to get in a single location has opened doors to perspectives from various markets.
“Our Chief Technology Officer is in Frankenmuth, Michigan. We have folks all over the U.S. including Silicon Valley. We get the best people wherever they are. It’s not just that they’re remote, we try to be very flexible with schedules. We don’t care when they work, we care what they do. It’s a very family friendly work philosophy,” emphasized DuPont.
When it comes to input of design, the company has the advantage of leveraging the experiences of their own employees from soccer moms in North Carolina to hockey dads in Minnesota.
Both of these key drivers have a unique interest and stake in the product’s success and possess valuable expertise from use.
Unique Video Among Apps
In building out its product, TeamSnap has partnered with a number of different companies throughout its history.
When it came to the new video experience for users of the app called TeamSnap Live!, it joined forces with Fantag, a leader in video highlight technology.
“Video is becoming a bigger means of communication and sharing experiences — it was only natural.”
The new functionality allows for parents and users to capture video highlights of performances and share them instantly on the app — even tagging those included in the plays.
DuPont counts himself as a strong believer in leveraging what TeamSnap has.
“We’re great software guys and understand the core technology we offer; video is a new offer for us. We had information around what video solution we wanted, but it was highly technical. We knew we wouldn’t be able to afford to develop a solution ourselves.”
Interestingly enough, an early investor of TeamSnap introduced DuPont to a company that was originally known as Ready Replay and today is known as Fantag over four years ago. The Fantag solution offers something completely different from other services. It is a spectator-focused, simple-to-use video sharing solution that puts users in charge of content creation in real-time.
DuPont sees that as a contrast to the NBA’s use of a company called WSC for post-game automation that pulls individual player highlights from a video feed.
For TeamSnap, the desire was to not wait until after a contest concludes, but to allow sharing of video highlights instantly during the game.
Every parent loves to take video of their kids playing sports. Parents and relatives are taking video of kids’ and friends’ games with their mobile device right then and look to share it as quickly as possible as has been the custom on social media.
The new functionality of TeamSnap Live! Allows for just that with an added bonus.
Parents can also save video and download copy for themselves–including that of others attending the sporting event. Just because you ran out of space on your phone doesn’t mean you won’t be able to take home highlights of your kids’ performance.
The ideation doesn’t end with the announcement of the new video platform for this fall.
TeamSnap wants to continue to improve functionality to allow users to upload video to social media in a streamlined fashion. Similarly, why shouldn’t you have access to video and content from the opposing team’s feed? Maybe they have a better view.
In addition, TeamSnap has partnered with Champion Athleticwear to be the official provider of custom fanwear sold through TeamSnap’s Team Store. The Team Store e-commerce platform gives TeamSnap’s 20 million users direct access to purchase custom branded Champion apparel through the popular app.
This is the first of its kind partnership in the sports management industry to merge team information and on-demand, custom fanwear printing technology. Coaches, players and parents on TeamSnap can now order an array of Champion products, such as t-shirts, hoodies, jackets, sweatpants and accessories, that represent their teams. The Team Store allows teams to easily customize the merchandise to showcase their team colors, name, logo or mascot. Team members can order their branded apparel at any point throughout the season, with no minimums or constraints on when orders can be placed.
Finally, tournament play continues to grow and thrive in youth sports. Expansion of the TeamSnap platform to serve this need is also a key aspect of future growth strategically for the company. As history has proved with TeamSnap, the pipeline for new ideas is rich and carries with it many who voluntarily take on a degree of product ownership regardless of title.
While significant, DuPont emphasized that new video highlight functionality is, at its core, another feature of the app.
“Just one of the many things we’re doing to make TeamSnap a valuable and indispensable tool for all sports and additional activities as well. We’re going to continue to be indispensable.”
DuPont shared the story of how a few weeks ago, a customer shared that when anyone starts up a team in their town, the first thing any parent asks is ‘when are we going to get on TeamSnap!?’
“We want to continue to drive that around the world.”