By the Fans, For the Fans: New Website Aims to Give Fans Big Voice in Teams' Decisions
- Whether it's team relocation, ticket pricing, stadium funding or more, FansUnited.org aims to give fans a more powerful voice in the decision-making process of their favorite sports teams.
Pat Healy, longtime Cleveland sports fan and founder of FansUnited, can still recall the sting of nearly losing his beloved Browns to the relocation controversy of the late 90s. He believes that a platform like the one he’s created in FansUnited is the key to preventing this sort of devastating heartbreak for fans.
FansUnited is a dual-platform fan advocacy site that looks to provide both a unified voice for disenfranchised fans across North America, as well as a place online for these fan bases to gather, discuss, debate, and celebrate everything about their favorite teams.
Healy saw the potential for building strong local, online communities as far back as the early days of AOL, remembering that signing up in those days would then link users to local forums based on their city. Out of this concept of localized, online social networks and his personal history of sports heartbreak, FansUnited was born.
At fansunited.org, users can sign up to join any of its 42 chapters—one chapter for each city in North America with a major sports franchise. Each chapter appoints a mayor for their respective sports city, and the mayors make up a national organization of all 42 chapters across North America known as the Sports Policy Institute.
“They each represent their local community,” Healy explained. “[The mayors] work closely with the teams and media within the chapter to further the local fan agenda, [and] participate with the Sport Policy Institute in establishing fan-driven sports policies at the national level.”
Once officially members of a chapter, fans will be given the opportunity to vote on whichever issues they like, including ticket pricing, stadium funding, team relocation, and more. FansUnited won’t be as immersive as Arena football, where coaches poll Twitter to get fans’ opinions on play calling, but it does hope to have an impact on the ground level with things like the price of beer at the ballpark and parking permits outside.
Healy believes that the type of organized front FansUnited is trying to build will provide typical sports fans with a way to finally have their voices heard and needs met.
Ernie.com, the second leg of the FansUnited operation, will serve as more of a fun, interactive meeting place for fans. It’s a localized social media forum for each of the chapters, providing fans with a place to find all of the news for their local teams, debate and discuss with other fans, and celebrate their favorite franchises all in one place.
The site launched Monday, July 31, and Healy and the rest of his FansUnited team hope it will be the first step in revolutionizing the way fans enjoy and interact with the sports world they so love.