PlayUp Selected as Fan Engagement Partner for America East, Southern and Sun Belt Conferences for Upcoming Basketball Tournaments
NEW YORK, Feb. 28, 2012 /PRNewswire/ – PlayUp, the first social network app exclusively for sports fans, socializers and gamers, announced today it has partnered with the America East, Southern and Sun Belt Conferences for the upcoming men’s and women’s conference basketball tournaments. This marks the first “Fan Engagement” partnerships in collegiate conference history.
Through PlayUp, for the first time in conference tournament history, fans will be able to break down all of the action with their counterparts from around the world, who all share a common bond over basketball and their fandom of the participating teams. PlayUp provides a unique opportunity for conferences and sports properties alike to extend their reach to fans through its’ distinct mobile platform. While chatting about the tournament action, fans will simultaneously partake in in-app contests where prizes will be awarded based on user participation and distinctive content.
“I am thrilled that PlayUp has been selected as the fan engagement partner during the most exciting time of the year for college basketball – and all of sports. Each of these conference tournaments will showcase high-level basketball, and we are looking forward to bringing the fan experience closer to the court,” said Dennis Lee, PlayUp USA CEO. “These conferences, by partnering with PlayUp, continue to push the envelope to innovate and drive fan engagement through our mobile platform. As social media further integrates itself within the sports world, athletes, teams, conferences and brands will be pursuing opportunities to best reach fans in this capacity, and the America East, Southern and Sun Belt Conferences are leading this trend.”
The America East Conference men’s and women’s tournaments will be held from March 1 – 4 at the University of Hartford’s Chase Arena at Reich Family Pavilion in Hartford, Conn. “This partnership with PlayUp will give our fans the opportunity to interact with their peers over their shared passion, America East basketball,” said America East Conference Commissioner Amy Huchthausen. “With our dedicated fan bases and alumni from our membership all over the world, this partnership offers a platform for everyone to show their pride during the most exciting month in college sports. Our conference features nine great institutions and elite talent on the court, and we are excited to work with PlayUp as our Official Fan Engagement Partner to expand national interest in our championship.”
The Southern Conference tournaments runs from March 2 – 5 and will be played at the Asheville Civic Center and Kimmel Arena in Asheville, N.C., the home of the University of North Carolina -Asheville Bulldogs. “The Southern Conference has one of the most loyal fan bases in the country, and PlayUp will enhance their fandom during our men’s and women’s tournaments,” said Jon Iamarino, Commissioner of the Southern Conference. “PlayUp is a great tool that helps our fans stay connected to their team regardless of any geographical barriers, and we are pleased to name the company as our Official Fan Engagement Partner. Collegiate athletics are centered around passion, pride and community and PlayUp promotes all these values.”
The Summit Arena in Hot Springs, Ark. plays host to the Sun Belt Conference Tournaments from March 3 – 6. “March Madness is one of the most exciting times of the year for college sports fans and we chose to partner with PlayUp because this app makes these games even more exciting than ever before,” said Travis Llewellyn, Assistant Commissioner for Electronic Media at the Sun Belt Conference. “Whether you’re fortunate enough to be in attendance at the Sun Belt Conference Championships, watching the game with friends, or if you’re alone on your couch, PlayUp fosters a way for fans of the Sun Belt Conference to watch the games together all from their mobile device.”
PlayUp reached its first partnership in the college space back in January, becoming the Official Fan Engagement Partner of Fordham University Athletics. This was also the first fan engagement partnership for any university. In addition to PlayUp’s collegiate partnerships, it also teamed up with NFL Stars Steven Jackson of the St. Louis Rams and Stevie Johnson of the Buffalo Bills surrounding Super Bowl XLVI.
PlayUp launched in October 2011 and enables sports fans to follow their choice of more than 30,000 live games while simultaneously discussing the action with fellow fans on their mobile devices. The free app includes real-time scoring and stats, along with the option to create private rooms to discuss the action with friends or join public rooms to interact with fans from around the world – play by play and pitch by pitch for every NFL, college football and basketball, NHL, NBA, MLB, and MLS game, as well as a variety of international leagues from around the globe. A recently launched web-based version allows usage of the platform by laptop and desktop computer users.
PlayUp specializes in building mobile communities around sports. The company was founded by Australian entrepreneurs Luke Bunbury and George Tomeski in 2007 to develop mobile-based sports/social gaming applications. In 2010 PlayUp games were distributed in more than 20 countries in Europe, Asia and Africa. The resulting PlayUp social network is the first real-time, mass-market social gaming platform enabling users globally to interact via their mobile devices during live games. For more information, visit http://www.playup.com.
About the America East Conference:
Since its beginning as a men’s basketball conference in 1979, America East has evolved into one of the most comprehensive NCAA Division I conferences with 20 championship sports serving more than 3,400 student-athletes. Supporting the missions of its nine member institutions – Albany, Binghamton, Boston University, Hartford, Maine, UMBC, New Hampshire, Stony Brook and Vermont – America East is committed to developing champions in academics, athletics and leadership.
About the Southern Conference:
The Southern Conference, entering its 91st season of intercollegiate competition, is a national leader in emphasizing the development of the student-athlete and helping build lifelong leaders and role models. The conference has been on the forefront of innovation and originality in developing creative solutions to address issues facing intercollegiate athletics. From establishing the first conference basketball tournament (1921), tackling the issues of freshman eligibility (1922), developing women’s championships (1984) to becoming the first conference to install the three-point goal in basketball (1980), the Southern Conference has been a pioneer. The Southern Conference is the nation’s fifth-oldest NCAA Division I collegiate athletic association. The conference currently consists of 12 members in five states throughout the southeast and sponsors 19 varsity sports and championships that produce participants for NCAA Division I Championships.
About the Sun Belt Conference:
The Sun Belt was formed in 1976 with six members competing in four men’s sports, and today comprises 12 institutions of higher learning while sponsoring 19 championship sports for men and women. The Sun Belt Conference enters its 35th season in 2010-11 with a proud history of athletic and academic success. The conference sponsors 10 women’s sports (basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, indoor and outdoor track and field, and volleyball) and nine men’s sports (baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, swimming and diving, tennis, and indoor and outdoor track and field). While 31 NCAA conferences sponsor multiple sports, the Sun Belt is one of only 11 to participate in the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) and Football Bowl Subdivision. The Sun Belt Conference is led by Commissioner Wright Waters, who is in his 11th full year as commissioner. Sun Belt Membership: University of Arkansas-Little Rock, Arkansas State University, University of Denver, Florida Atlantic University, Florida International University, University of Louisiana-Lafayette, University of Louisiana-Monroe, Middle Tennessee State University, University of North Texas, University of South Alabama, Troy University, and Western Kentucky University.