Press Sports believes the sports industry deserves a social network of its own, and recently raised $1.5 million to build it.
The app, founded by former amateur baseball teammates Conrad Cornell and Drew Williams, offers a TikTok-like feed of clips for fans. For athletes, Press Sports gives players a place to post their highlights throughout their careers. After Cornell finished playing at Division I Mercer University, he said he was disappointed not to have a single, dedicated collection of personal footage.
For active players, Press Sports offers the chance to get noticed, with college coaches (particularly in baseball) using the app as a recruiting tool. Press Sports also pitches athletes on the ability to grow a fan base as amateurs, especially now with college athletes able to monetize their fame.
“There was never an online sports network for us to share our highlights on and connect with others from within our sports community,” Williams said in a statement. “A social platform solely dedicated to sports was a void that we knew we could fill with the right team.”
Former YikYak execs Tyler Droll and Tom Chernetsky joined the Atlanta-based company to lead app development, while former Texas A&M quarterback Branndon Stewart, who previously founded OutboundEngine, was brought on as COO.
“As a former student-athlete, I immediately understood the giant void Press Sports fills with a positive online community for athletes,” Stewart said in a statement. Press Sports’ funding round was led by General Catalyst, who were joined by Overline and Sound Media Ventures.
Press Sports helps connect athletes and coaches, but it’s not looking to solely be a LinkedIn for sports. Instead, it wants to compete with other social networks for fans’ time. Most creators on the app are athletes themselves, though there are some media organizations as well. But most users (and Press Sports currently has more than 200,000) are not creators, instead using the platform to view and interact with clips.
While companies like Overtime have built their brands on mainstream platforms like Instagram and YouTube, Press Sports believes it can carve out a niche alongside the social giants by building sports-specific features like team landing pages. And it’s not alone in that goal. SportsThread puts more focus on creating recruiting profiles, while TeamSnap primarily has event and youth league organizers in mind. Athletes in Recruitment (AIR), meanwhile, pitches itself as a cross between LinkedIn and a dating app, but for college recruiting. But Press Sports’ sights aren’t set on those category peers.
“I think we’ve got a solid lead,” Cornell said in an interview. “In order for us to think as big as we want to think, we have to look at the time spent on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok, and think, How can we get a piece of that?”
(This story was updated to correct the name of Athletes in Recruitment.)