While adults are hitting virtual gyms with platforms like Mirror and Peloton, and Planet Fitness is offering Facebook Live workouts, kids are largely sitting in the sidelines. Most are not used to individual work, even the youngest go to group classes or have travel basketball or soccer or lacrosse. They are right now left to social distancing and playing catch or kicking a ball around with a sibling or someone else in their household. That of course will get old.
So is there an answer/ yes, and it is being provide by a New York company which seems to have gone from startup to big engagement pretty quickly, all by being nimble and seeing a market before one existed. Meet Famer, run by Long Island resident and serial entrepreneur Rich Abend.
What is Famer…think a version of Peloton for youth sports.
It doesn’t charge organizations or teams to use the platform, makes its money from monthly user subscriptions fees. Prices are set for different programs within the app, with coaches dictating their terms for individual training. It has grown its base by offering participants of clubs like Downtown United Soccer Club and Super Soccer Stars the opportunity to utilize the platform for free or at a reduced cost to support their organizations and participants.
Sports right now include lacrosse, soccer, baseball/softball, basketball, hockey and volleyball, and are being ramped up to include football and tennis soon.
While only a week ago the platform had a steady growth heading into spring sports of about 5,000 users, usage has doubled almost every day since late last week; April projections have already been surpassed and there is now interest form every major youth sports organization who were unprepared to engage with athletes remotely; there is a real look that engagement could hit large scale in early spring.
Even as important is that Famer is providing a revenue stream for Youth Sports Organizations and coaches who can now reengage with kids while they are isolated. Content is interactive; youth sports participants upload their video for coaches to critique, and coaches post drills as well for all to use. The user experience is pretty simple, and kids get the opportunity to be more engaged with coaches and their community while being isolated.
“Part of the way we’re thinking about this period is that we want to be a resource for the industry, meaning this isn’t as much about us charging up and making a ton of money,” Abend told Front Office Sports. “We want coaches and trainers to be able to earn their living, and the main goal is just to keep the connection between the organization, the parents and the kids to give everyone something to do and keep them active.”
“We’re working with groups to start offering things for free to kids to keep them moving,” he added. “Mostly around sports – skills, drills, moves – but we’re also going to incorporate just fitness and active lifestyle stuff. That’s not our focus, but with kids stuck in their room or in their houses or if they’re lucky enough to have a backyard or a driveway, we’re really trying to understand the moment.”
Now there is also a logical next step in the business; which could involve elite athletes and coaches with time on their hands creating interactive product. How about getting hitting tips from Gary Sanchez, or a soccer master class from Heather Mitts while they are sitting on the sidelines?
The key right now though is to keep kids engaged and busy with a community they are familiar with, be that in Ridgewood or Ronkonkoma, and Famer has found a way.
First in and being in the right place seems to work, even in challenging times like today.