Fanatic Fans: An Insider’s Look at Mobile Applications for Live Events

Brian Holmes, a driving force behind Calibrus' breakthrough Fanatic Fans application

If you ever wanted a good look into the infancy of sports social media, you could get it by taking a look at Calibrus Inc. Fanatic Fans application.

Fanatic Fans debuted at Arizona State University home games last month, and today fewer than a thousand people have it on their smartphone or other mobile device. Yet that’s enough momentum to convince the 26-year-old developer of the application, Brian Holmes, he’s on to something big – a concept that could fundamentally change the fan experience at live sports events and concerts.

“We feel there is a real opportunity to tap into this marketplace to grow a significant brand with large numbers of users,” Holmes told

 Indeed, Fanatic Fans marks one of the most aggressive moves to date by a major college athletic program to mirror sports social media innovations occurring in the NFL, according to The Miami Dolphins are among the leaders in pro pigskin with an application developed by Mobile Roadie LLC, but the college market is wide open. Beyond ASU, Fanatic Fans is now being made available to University of Grand Canyon and University of Denver sports fans. Calibrus also sees Fanatic Fans as potentially a big winner in the live music space, Holmes said.

While ESPN, CBS Sports, SB Nation and numerous others have won big user numbers for mobile sports applications that provide news and buzz, applications that facilitate live event experience are just emerging. Indeed, the implications of mobile sports applications at live events are often misunderstood even by the experts, as evidenced by the South Eastern Conference’s recent decision to revise such impossible-to-enforce social media policies as the prohibition of mobile devices use at games.

For business, Fanatic Fans and other applications are promising because they can be used to provide offers to consumers at the moment they are ready to buy whether that’s before, during or after and event, according to Fast Company.

Available for Android and iPhones, Fanatic Fans works this way: Users download the application, and log in with user name and password whenever they go to a game. At present, check-in at a game qualifies them for prizes. At University of Denver games that includes a seat upgrade, and at ASU games there’s a $500 cash prize. During timeouts, fans are also prompted to respond to scoreboard contests via text. At ASU, that’s currently a contest to name the MVP of the game. Ultimately, applications like Fanatic Fans can be used by fans to interact with other fans when they are tailgating or at the stadium.  

Fanatic Fans took shape quickly, and the speed with which it went from concept to in-game experience underscores how nimble companies and sports teams will need to be in order to capitalize on the growth of sports social media. Fanatic Fans began to take shape in February, when Holmes took the idea to Calibrus management.  At the time, Holmes was working as a project manager on a website called JabberMonkey, which allows people to post questions, videos, pictures and articles that others can respond to via chat, webcam, email or VOIP. Calibrus used its development team in Saudi Arabia to turn the idea into a reality, and quickly won the support of ASU. Its business model is to create an avid user base for Fanatic Fans, and reward affinity marketing points for sports fan participation, Holmes said.


  1. […] the benefits of a souped-up stadium network may just be emerging in features like the ability to communicate with fans at the game, to offer wireless concessions orders, show instant replay video, and maybe just to help with […]

  2. […] a contest: As evidenced by the Fanatic Fans mobile application currently rolling out at Arizona State University, University of Denver and […]

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