Sports fans have an exciting new avenue for enjoying the top news around the sports world thanks to the iPad app Beyond the Box. The app systematically ranks and analyzes the best sources related to each sports team and league in an effort to bring relevant and interesting content to the fans.
Beyond the Box founder and CEO Shailo Rao took some time to speak with FanSided about what in to making the app and what we can expect from the company in the future. You can check out what Shailo had to say below.
Interview with Shailo Rao, Founder & CEO Beyond the Box
What was the initial thought process that brought about the idea of Beyond the Box?
During our Stanford StartX Accelerator session we realized how a TV broadcast alone did not satisfy sports fans. We observed ourselves and other fans multitasking on iPads, iPhones, and Android equivalents to get more analysis and insights about a sporting event than what HDTVs with high fidelity video and audio could deliver alone. The sports fan viewing experience was incomplete.
Our first goal with Beyond the Box for iPad is to re-imagine sports news on a sports timeline that gives NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and WNBA fans real-time updates about their favorite teams and players from the best sources in once place. Almost 60% of Beyond the Box usage is happening specifically in this second screen use case.
How do you go about choosing the content that you curate for the app?
Beyond the Box systematically ranks and analyzes the best sources related to each sports team and league with the aim of finding the right balance between achieving comprehensiveness and minimizing noise. We’ve seen other feed-based sports apps miss the mark because they keep fans in a walled garden or flood them with too much content from poor quality sources. As big time sports junkies we wanted something better.
What separates Beyond the Box from other content curators and Twitter? What features are most unique and why is this app a must have for sports fans?
In addition to unbiased content curation, Beyond the Box is different than other curators with its heavy emphasis on content created by NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and WNBA players. When we first started thinking through Beyond the Box we noticed a very interesting trend on social media- players often have more followers than their own teams.
For example, San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis @VernonDavis85 has nearly 1.7 Million followers on Twitter compared to the 49ers official account @49ers with 415k. Now living here in the Bay Area, I can assure you that the 49ers are quite popular, but the point is fans are incredibly interested in what their favorite players are thinking and doing year-round. Fans want to hear directly from players. Combining updates from official team sources, local and national media, popular fan blogs, and players is a unique aspect of Beyond the Box that has really resonated with sports fans.
Why should everyone go out and download Beyond the Box?
Beyond the Box is the only iPad app that aggregates the best real-time content from national mainstream media like Sports Illustrated, local outlets like SNY, popular fan sites like FanSided’s 240, and players into a colorful centralized timeline.
Updates from over 1,000 media sources and 2,000 player thoughts come to you while you’re watching a game on TV or whenever you’re browsing for news about your favorite teams and players.
Why did you choose the iPad to launch the app?
The intersection between current iPad usage patterns (living room, second screen) and form factor (large vibrant screen) made it ideal to launch the first version of Beyond the Box exclusively on iPad. With the iPad we have a medium that already fits within sports fan’s natural behavior and gives us a large canvas to build out the ultimate dashboard to add a new dimension to the live viewing experience.
Will it be available for more platforms in the future?
For sure! If you’ve got an iPhone or Android phone/ tablet please sign up and we’ll send you an email as soon as it’s live in the Apple App Store or Google Play.
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How does the app enhance the sports viewing experience?
Let’s say you’re watching an Oakland A’s game on CSN Bay Area. You’ll be treated to superb play-by-play and analysis from Glen Kuiper and Ray Fosse, but what if you want even more high quality live perspectives on the game? Also what if you’re bored of watching the same set of commercials every time there’s a stoppage in play? That’s where Beyond the Box comes in. Use it while you’re watching a game and you’ll be infinitely more knowledgeable and entertained.
What direction will Beyond the Box be going in the future and what can sports fans continue to expect?
Beyond the Box will be expanding its real-time content aggregation to more sports and leagues around the globe. We will also be injecting multimedia into the team and league timelines to make the app more vivid. Longer term, we are pumped up about utilizing big sports data analysis and visualization to give fans real-time insights.
Hailing from StartX in Palo Alto CA, the Beyond the Box team includes Shailo Rao, Vam Makam, Sagar Savant, Varun Jandhyala, Colette Lucas-Conwell, Soham Tikekar, and Nate Parham.
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