Could PogoSeat funding be the start of a sports app boom?

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 11.59.31 PMUnlike many of the app startups funded these days, ticket-upgrade enabler PogoSeat isn’t a social media thing with a goal to attract billions of users. Instead, it’s a fairly straightforward utility application, one that most likely will end up being a feature in some other bigger app, like a team or league app. So why could its reported $2.3 million in funding be the start of a much bigger boom? Because there’s lots of room for improvement in the fan experience, and we think — like PogoSeat’s investors — that simple, targeted apps that do one thing well have a pretty attractive future.

At the recent SEAT Conference in Miami, the folks from PogoSeat and the Golden State Warriors gave a brief outline of some of the results from early trials of the PogoSeat app at Warriors games last season. While the numbers weren’t Instagram-like in nature — one of the playoff games between the Warriors and the Clippers saw 52 upgrades using the app — if you start to extrapolate to the large numbers of teams and every-day nature of events, you start to see the lure of the PogoSeat power. More importantly — as a utility with a great amount of potential worth to a fan, it gives people a reason to download and actually use a team app in the first place — often one of the hardest types of customer acquisition around.

Where are there other pain points in the live fan experience that simple apps might solve? We’ve already explored the idea of a parking app, and we’ll have some more profiles coming soon, including one called AudioAir which is pursuing the relatively simple idea of using your mobile phone to listen to the audio broadcast from a nearby public TV, like in a sports bar or at a stadium. No funding stories yet for these sports apps, but with all the cash floating around in VC land, maybe we’ll have more headlines like this story’s in the near future.

Warriors Fans Keep Booing — Online

After letting their displeasure be heard Monday night, fans of the Golden State Warriors are reverberating their booing online, filling up comments sections on the team’s Facebook page as well as on newspaper websites.

If you didn’t hear the news, Warriors fans disrupted a ceremony meant to honor former star Chris Mullin by booing loud and long when new owner Joe Lacob took over the microphone. Whether or not the fans were expressing anger over the Warriors’ recent trade of star player Monta Ellis, or over the team’s flirtation with moving to San Francisco, or with years of terrible front-office moves, is still open for debate. And that debate is healthy and ongoing, both on the Warriors’ Facebook page as well as on the San Francisco Chronicle website.

While some fans on both sites are expressing dismay for the negative outpour at Mullin’s jersey-retirement ceremony, many others are taking umbrage at Chronicle columnist Bruce Jenkins, whose column Wednesday was headlined “Fans’ faux pas might not be all about Ellis” and started off with a line that said “It was inexcusably rude for the Warriors’ fans to ruin Chris Mullin’s halftime ceremony with such relentless booing.”

As commenter Galacticmule said, “Bruce, if you’ve been abused as much as Warrior fans have been for the past 35 years, would you be courteous? Instead of being up in arms about booing, how about listening to the message behind the boos? This is the most fiercely loyal fan base in the league. And the only thing you can take away from fans, FINALLY, fighting back is that they are rude? Where have you been, man, where have you been?” As of 11 a.m. Pacific Time the post had 68 comments, with no signs of slowing down soon.

Over on the team’s Facebook page there is the usual you-suck type of comment battles but there is also some evidence of longtime fans continuing to vent their wrath at a new ownership that isn’t living up to its boastful promises. A post with Chris Mullin highlights has 233 comments and another post about Monday’s game has 402 comments, many of which are about the booing.

So far, the team doesn’t seem to be doing any editing or censoring of bad news or profane comments, but is instead letting its fans — who have filled Oracle Arena for years even though the team is a perennial dud — have their say. We’ve highlighted how the Warriors have used social media well to promote feel-good things like fan shootarounds and access to interviews with the players. Let’s see if Golden State can use social media to turn the tide of emotion now swelling against the ownership.