Nov 30, 2011 at 02:54 PM
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New Network Wants To Lower Barrier To Entry For Digital Endorsements

Amplify Social, a San Francisco-based digital technology company wants to make brand and athlete connections more seamless for short-term digital campaigns, recently launching what it's calling The Virtual Fan Network. It says it already has exclusive contracts for over 300 active athletes in major sports including MLB's Tim Lincecum, the NFL's Marcedes Lewis, Mike Wallace, Michael Turner, and NFL legend Brett Favre.

The Virtual Fan Network says it offers brands a lower barrier for entry in working with professional athletes on digital campaigns. If that sounds familiar, it's something a company called Brand Affinity Technologies has also been working on.

In a beta campaign, it recently matched Victory Chevrolet with San Francisco Giants pitcher, Tim Lincecum to launch a Digital Baseball Card shared through his social graph and via QR codes.

"There have been limited attempts to provide athletes and the sports industry with a set of tools or a platform that allows them to properly leverage digital media," says Amplify Social Co-Founder and CEO Brian Wilhite. "The attempts we've seen are not innovative in terms of providing something new, they are simply making old models slightly more updated. We want to provide a scalable solution that brands want to use, and that will help them reach their consumers while also providing real value for the athletes."

"Our model allows athletes and fans to engage remotely, wherever they may be in digital media, and brands benefit from that integration," says Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer, Cory Treffiletti. "Brands win with a solution that integrates them into the passion of sports, while driving high levels of engagement with consumers and fans. Fans win because they are able to connect with their favorite athletes across any number of sports. Athletes get more of a local, national and international digital marketing presence and a new source of revenue from the world market. Everybody wins!"

The market for digital media and the market for sports marketing and endorsements are both increasing; with digital media expected to eclipse $77 billion, exceeding TV ad spending, by 2016, according to a recent Forrester study.

"The business opportunity to marry together digital media with sports is potentially a multi-billion dollar endeavor, and an area that has seen little to no innovation to date," adds Mr. Treffiletti.