ClutchPoints Creates New Interactions for Sports FansBy Albert Zhang
ClutchPoints is a sports engagement tool that is changing the way fans are watching their favorite teams play. Users of the app can earn “ClutchPoints”, add comments, and check stats all in real time while the game is going on. I was able to speak with founder Nish Patel to learn more about ClutchPoints’ story and how it continues to impact engagements in the world of sports.
More Technology, More Distractions
In today’s world where people are constantly distracted by and glued to personal smartphones, sports fans no longer watch their games without interruptions. Teams are noticing a shift of lower engagement when viewers surf social media or other platforms during games. Over 80% of sports fans interact with social media sites while watching games on TV.
Access to social media allows fans and teams to connect 24/7. Instead of watching a game a few times a week, people can now watch news and highlights when they’re at work, at school, or at home. Approximately 34% of fans are accessing sports content on social media daily. It’s important for teams to capitalize on the social media wave as teams and athletes can build enormous followings, and in turn, enormous returns. Stars such as Cristiano Ronaldo or Lebron James have estimated returns per tweet of over $200,000.
ClutchPoints is looking to change all of this through their website and app; fans can use ClutchPoints app as a companion not only during games, but throughout the day.
“The ultimate goal was to create a second screen to watch the game. During games, you go on your phone, but you’re on ClutchPoints, playing games or betting, keeping engagement high.”
—Nish Patel, Founder of ClutchPoints
Building a Company From a Fanpage
Nish Patel is a textbook example of an entrepreneur. As a freshman at UCLA, he already had experience dabbling in the t-shirt printing business while simultaneously creating sports fan pages on Facebook that garnered thousands of followers. Patel noticed that the big sports media companies who catered to fans of the entire nation concentrated on the bigger names while failing to cover the less notable market teams. By focusing on creating fanbases for specific teams, he could provide more detailed media coverage for their fans than ESPN could. Before long, Patel and his small group established the largest fanbases for over 80% of NBA teams, with over 20 million total followers.
Looking to establish his own brand, Patel created clutchpoints.com in 2015. Initially, the company was geared towards pumping out content for fans. The team grew to include writers, editors, and reporters covering teams across the nation. Today, ClutchPoints’ team consists of over 50 full-time contributors who crank out 100-150 pieces of sports content daily.
ClutchPoints users can select which teams they would like to follow, and their experience will be catered in that direction. Instead of receiving general sports news, they get team-specific, unique facts and updates.
Advertisements aren’t the only source of income for ClutchPoints. Because ClutchPoints has these loyal local fanbases, they can leverage them to generate revenue from direct brand relationships. In the past, companies such as Adidas or Nike have reached out to do campaigns with ClutchPoints with content such as videos they’d like to promote. For instance, if a company wants to do a campaign for an athlete, ClutchPoints can help promote the content and “generate hype” by using its established bases for that athlete. The demand for brand campaigns has been on the rise as companies realize the importance of connecting their products with sports teams. Most consumers are motivated to “like” a brand if they show support for their favorite team.
Increasing Engagement through the App
A year and a half ago, ClutchPoints raised a $400k seed round. Thus, the ClutchPoints app was born, as a companion for sports fans as they watched live games. At first look, the interface is clean and easy to use, and offers the most important statistics, news, and reactions for each specific fanbase. The app also displays select highlights and includes a forum for discussion during live games. This way, sports fans can get a better feel for the emotions and dynamic that are happening, and not just simple statistics.
However, a unique aspect of the app is the “ClutchPoints” and “ClutchCoins” System. For example, users can easily earn ClutchPoints by commenting, reading stories, or even just tapping into a live game. ClutchPoints can be converted into ClutchCoins that can be exchanged for real merchandise such as wristbands, posters, jerseys, and even tickets. Fans can bet their ClutchPoints on games against other fans, adding a whole new dimension of harmless yet hooking gambling.
Patel emphasizes this as an important aspect of the app’s “stickiness”.
“If you’re a ClutchPoints user, you’re using the app on average over 200 times a month. It’s a cool ecosystem… we don’t want to bring in just one user, we want to bring in a user and all of their friends.”
—Nish Patel, Founder of ClutchPoints
ClutchPoints vs. Sports Media
Besides providing news and an app, ClutchPoints is also focusing on bringing unique content to fans to establish their own brand. A team of graphics creators and analysts discover unique facts and provide them to fans through eye-catching social media posts. “You see the stuff on Twitter, like ‘that’s an interesting fact.’ We try and come up with our own interesting facts so we’re unique,” Patel said.
Sometimes ClutchPoints does have to compete with sports media giants to provide exciting content to viewers. But because ClutchPoints is still relatively small, it benefits from nimbleness that corporate companies lack. “If we see something working, we double down and go really quick on it.”
ClutchPoints also has the ability to cater to specific fanbases, rather than having to focus on the nation as a whole. ESPN only reports what the average fan wants to see, not team-specific.
Therefore, there is plenty of room for ClutchPoints to expand into the world of sports media. With so many different sports ingrained into the American culture, the sports media market is estimated to reach over $70 billion by 2019. ClutchPoints can look to reel in a portion of this massive consumer base.
“We really focus on the fan. Take RaptorsNation for example. We have a RaptorsNation Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. For the people who really care about those teams in those cities, we create a home base for them where they can get all the news they want directly from ClutchPoints, rather than having to watch Sportscenter.”
—Nish Patel, Founder of ClutchPoints
Future Expectations for ClutchPoints
ClutchPoints hopes to continue growing its brand in the future. While it still has massive followings on popular social media sites, it hopes to begin transferring those followers over to ClutchPoints. The end goal is to continue building an ecosystem where people care about their ClutchPoints, and can share them with friends and fellow fans. The team has plans to promote their app to their vast audience soon, which can drive ClutchPoints to break out and revolutionize the way sports are watched.