Followers and fans of Sofanatics probably got used by now to their virtual stadium chat interface introduced earlier in the spring. Today's announcement can bring that view to a great number of other websites: Sofanatics released their API. This means that from now on anyone can embed Sofanatics' virtual stadium on their own page. To add new matches to the screen, you'd need to add a few lines of code and voilà - you connect supporters during the game on your own website featuring a stadium chat interface. The embedded version does not have activation or other limits so even small clubs can embed Sofanatics' stadium view.
The stadium interface is Sofanatics' unique selling point. It offers an overview of fans' activities from a bird's-eye view, at the same time creating a feeling of genuinely being on a stadium and interacting with other supporters. It is not surprising then that the company is putting a lot of effort into making the chat more open and accessible for more people to join.
With the API Sofanatics' supporters can help further spread the platform and attract a greater number of fans to use it. To encourage this activity, the company offers business opportunities to fans, site owners and supporting clubs that embed Sofanatics' view to their website.
As Sami Kuusela, co-founder and Creative Director, states: 'Anyone embedding our stadium can sell advertising around our client and have all the income from that.' That way Sofanatics get more fans on board at almost no cost and sports fans can engage their own community with the service and make a few bucks on the side. An appealing offer all around.
Sofanatics also recently added virtual goods as an important source of revenue for their service. Items on offer range from traditional fans regalia to mischievous features like a short virtual rain for the opposing team's side of the stadium. Items are priced around 2€ a piece and can be paid for by phone.
Launched in December 2009, Sofanatics gained their first big audience during the FIFA World Cup in summer 2010. People from 130 countries visited the site during the championships. Sofanatics closed a seed funding round the same summer. Today over 10,000 messages are sent to the chat during the busiest matches and the company's partners include Chelsea football club, FC Barcelona and YLE (Finnish Public Broadcasting Company).