Wednesday September 14th, 2016

Read about the latest sports tech news, innovations, ideas and products that impact players, fans and the sports industry at SportTechie.com.

Since last season, New Orleans Saints wide receiver Brandin Cooks has celebrated touchdown grabs, first downs and other big plays with a bow-and-arrow motion, a gesture he explained gives glory to God.

The speedster Cooks was at it again Sunday against the Oakland Raiders as he caught a 98-yard touchdown pass from Drew Brees and, true to form, celebrated.

It was an ideal scenario for SportsManias, a fantasy news source aggregator, and the NFL Players Association, as the two organizations kicked off their new partnership of creating real-time emojis for NFL fans by re-creating Cooks’s touchdown.

“During the biggest moments in sports, that’s when people are buzzing the most and that’s when Sportsmanias’ emojis and the Sportsmanias app are being used the most,” said Vicente Fernandez, CEO and co-founder of SportsManias.

Fernandez added that Cooks’s touchdown had NFL fans everywhere talking on social media, so “we knew fans needed his bow-and-arrow celebration in emoji form.” Cooks, a Stockton, Calif., native, then on Monday promoted the emoji on his Instagram.

Sportsmanias launched their fantasy football emoji keyboard last fall and to date, has seen over 14 million sports emojis shared, with noticeable spikes around big sporting events such as the Super Bowl, All-Star games and the World Series. The first time Sportsmanias hit No. 1 in the App Store was Super Bowl 50, when hundreds of thousands of emojis were sent.

Now, fans will have the opportunity to share NFL players, like Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant throwing up his “X” or Antonio Brown of the Pittsburgh Steelers conducting his goal post celebration from 2015. Like with Cooks this past weekend, partnering with the NFLPA and being able to use players’s likenesses gives Sportsmanias the opportunity to create real-time emojis in less than 24 hours following a memorable play.

According to Fernandez, the next step in working with the NFLPA would be to monetize the keyboard by collaborating with existing league partners and bringing brands into the conversation via emoji form.

“We’re definitely looking to replicate what we’re doing with the NFLPA with other sports,” he added. “We think that they were the perfect partner to start with.”

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