It’s a common problem. The Internet is a big disorganized place and sometimes it’s hard to find what you’re looking for. This was precisely the problem 21-year-old Vicente Fernandez was experiencing in his search for news on his favorite sports teams. He mentioned this challenge to his mother, Aymara Del Aguila, who suggested they start a social sports website.
“This caught me a little off guard because my mom is not a big sports fan,” he says.
Together Del Aguila and Fernandez launched Sportsmanias.com in October of 2012 and followed up with an app in January 2013. The site aggregates the Twitter feeds from the newspaper and magazine sports writers, athletes and the sports teams themselves.
After launching, Aguila says they knew they had to validate the product before approaching anyone for partnerships. But the perfect opportunity came up when Fernandez was awarded the Associated Press Sports Editor’s Scholarship shortly after they launched site. They attended the conference; Fernandez as a student member, Del Aguila as a representative of Sportsmanias.
It was during the APSE conference the two struck up a conversation with Jorge Rojas, the sports editor for the Miami Herald. Rojas became a mentor of sorts for Fernandez and a month ago, the duo met with the other editors at the Herald to pitch a partnership between the paper and Sportsmanias. Today, they’re going public with an official announcement of the partnership, which Del Aguila says is intended to help build a mutual fan base.
“Sportsmanias is all about the sports fan – satisfying their search for team news that is real-time, relevant and professional,” Del Aguila says. “We believe so strongly in the beat writers and the following that the beat writers have, because [their followers] are the true sports fans.”
Sportsmanias doesn’t create or host any content. Instead, Del Aguila says the site acts more as a menu where fans can customize their feed and click through directly to local sports pages. Sportsmanias is essentially driving traffic to the content created by Miami Herald sports journalists who are encouraged to let their fans know that Sportsmania exists.
For now, Fernandez and Del Aguila are focused on validating the model with the Miami Herald, which they say is the perfect partnership, since Miami is their hometown. Between the website and the app, Sportsmanias is currently averaging about 900,000 unique visitors per month and growing at a steady rate of 20-25 percent. Once they cross one-million, they believe they’ll be ready to go nationwide.
“We’re very excited to partner with the Miami Herald in collaborating to grow our mutual fan base,” Del Aguila says. “We look forward to establishing strong relationships with newspapers across the country.”
Photo credit: torbakhopper
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