There was a feeling that Chicago and the fans of the Chicago Cubs hadn’t had in god knows how long: hope.
Tim Wozniak was one of those fans. Then Steve Bartman happened. A foul ball that was almost certainly going to be caught for an out by right fielder Moises Alou nestled into the hands of Bartman, a fan who had no idea the ball was in play. The play was ruled fan interference and the Florida Marlins went on to produce eight runs, not only winning the game and the series, but eventually the World Series as well. A heartbroken Wozniak launched his clenched fist like a missile through his bathroom door.
Being a sports fans is filled with euphoric highs and miserable lows. Often times, fans are without a medium to vent their frustrations on the referee who missed a blatant hold or their star guard who missed the game winning shot. Wozniak and his colleagues Jeff Phillips and Dan Bagelle want to change that with their social media app SportsVenting, a haven where sports fans are free to vent their latest frustrations in the sports world.
The three have been friends since childhood, and all three graduated from Temple University together.
“People break things, yell things, we want to save those people,” Wozniak said. “We want those people to grab their phone and start venting about it.”
SportsVenting is an app where users can interact with each other and discuss the latest in sports. When creating a profile, one not only chooses their favorite sports teams, but the teams they hate as well.
“Hate drives sports a lot of times because there are more of the teams you hate than the teams you love,” Phillips said.
Once done selecting the teams, users have an option to submit a vent to one of the seven feeds within the app. There’s a section for the four major sports leagues, the NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL, as well as college basketball and football. There’s also a general feed where fans can discuss other sports such as golf, tennis and soccer.
The idea for SportsVenting came to Phillips in July of 2015. After being fired from a job in medical sales, his wife Kristin suggested he pursue something he’s passionate in.
“It was 4 o’clock in the morning. I thought of SportsVenting and in order to not forget about it, I picked up my phone and texted the words to myself. The next day I bought the domain name, sportsventing.com,” Phillips said.
While many already discuss sports on Facebook and Twitter, sports talk can be diluted by an abundance of political, entertainment and religious posts. That’s where SportsVenting is different, it’s sole purpose is to serve the sports fans who simply want to talk about sports.
“This is only going to be an app for sports vents. If you’re looking for what’s going on with the Kardashians or what’s going with the midterm election or what’s going on in the world of religion, this app is not for you,” Wozniak said.
Though off-topic discussions are monitored as much as possible, SportsVenting users are able to discuss topics that overlap political and sports issues such as Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protests or the name controversy of the Washington Redskins, as long as it is within the sports world.
On Feb. 1, the app made its debut on the Google Play Store with help from the Peruvian development company Tekton Labs at a fraction of the cost it would have been to develop the app in the United States. The app has yet to debut on the Apple App Store. While they only raised $371, falling well short of their $30,000 Kickstarter goal, the three have decided to raise funds they need to reach out to Apple users themselves.
Wozniak, Bagelle and Phillips attended the first two days of the NFL Draft, spending 15 hours at the event not only eagerly awaiting who their teams would select–Wozniak is a Bears fan, Bagelle a Cowboys fan and Phillips stays true to his hometown Eagles–but also marketing the app.
After failing to raise funds through Kickstarter, the trio has their eyes set on Plan B: get the backing of Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.
“Our main goal is to get on Shark Tank,” Bagelle said. “Mark Cuban vents about the refs, he vents all the time.”
SportsVenting’s brand is already expanding. The SportsVenting Radio Show will debut Friday, Aug. 11 at 6 p.m. on 610 AM ESPN radio in Philadelphia. If they are unable to make it onto the show, the group plans to resort to asking family for funds and taking out a bank loan to make SportsVenting available in the App Store. Bagelle firmly believes that if the app is to be successful and compete with Twitter, they must reach the Apple demographic.