By GREGORY ZELLER // In the land of earned-run averages, yards per game and double-doubles, there’s only one thing fans like more than sports. Statistics.
Make that two things: A good rivalry can also outshine the sport itself, whether it’s Yankees/Red Sox, Michigan/Ohio State or two best buddies locked in a $5 Nassau.
A new app aims to bring the statistical glory usually reserved for the top 1 percent of humanity’s elite athletes to the everyman, while promoting sports’ natural socialization aspects.
There are currently hundreds of TV networks, websites and mobile programs providing pro stats and a dozen connectivity options preloaded into every smartphone. SemiPro wants to combine all that in a user-friendly platform that tracks amateur performances in a social-media setting.
Officially launched in 2014, SemiPro is the brainchild of rookie entrepreneurs Jason Le Goff, who serves as president, and Bilal Muhammed, the Manorville company’s chief mobile officer. Along with marketing specialist Colleen Le Goff, Jason’s sister, the three-person team – and a subcontracted bullpen of software developers in India – is “trying to create a social atmosphere among intramural athletes,” according to Le Goff.
“We’re trying to make this super-social,” Le Goff said. “If you’re at a match, you can post a picture and anyone who’s not at the match can see it and comment. If my grandmother in Florida wants to see how my hockey match is going today, she can just pop on.”
The cofounder, an avid amateur athlete, said he came up with the idea of a social media-infused amateur stat-tracker while reviewing the many hockey, lacrosse and golf matches he’s engaged in through the years.
“I was thinking about how cool it would be to look back and see what I’ve done,” he said. “But you can’t do that unless you go to all these different websites and see this is what I did here, this is what I did here – and that’s only if that information is available.
“It’s very confusing and not always aligned,” Le Goff added. “You need something more centralized.”
Enter SemiPro, which will start off slow when it hits the virtual shelves in October, a free iPhone app first, with an Android version to follow. While the debut version is technically capable of receiving and tracking statistics from any points-based contest – a Sunday softball game, a one-on-one skins game at the pitch-and-putt, etc. – the app will primarily serve as a “match creator” to start, Le Goff noted.
“You can create a match against a friend and other friends can log in and see who’s in the match, who’s winning, who won,” he said.
The “bigger picture down the road,” Le Goff added, is to track amateur statistics and add them to the social-networking mix. While the app can do that right off the bat, SemiPro’s founders realize that most amateurs aren’t going to take the time to individually enter their statistics into the system to be stored and collated – so the plan is to land different recreation leagues as clients and have them handle the data entry.
Many leagues already offer some kind of online scheduler/stat-tracker and most of those will be slow to change, Le Goff noted. But convincing them to switch over to the SemiPro app will be easier when many league participants already have SemiPro profiles – which is why Le Goff and Co. are promoting the scheduling functions first, along with search features that let users track other weekend warriors in their SemiPro network.
“All of a sudden, you’ll have all these users that have career profiles,” he said. “It will be a much easier transition if they go to their leagues and say, ‘Hey, you should switch to SemiPro, look at all these features.’ So we’re focusing on the match-creator function first and building a following.”
Eventually luring entire leagues away from their existing stat-tracking and scheduling programs “also means being able to download their existing stats,” Le Goff added, not a minor technological challenge.
“I don’t know if we’re going to be able to do that easily,” he said. “But it’s something we’re definitely going to be able to do.”
With a few final features being added and a few bugs being corrected by the programmers in India, Le Goff estimated that it’s cost about $15,000 to develop the app to this point. While you “never know until it’s in the user’s hands,” the SemiPro president – an industrial designer at Hauppauge manufacturer Intelligent Product Solutions, where Muhammed is a software developer – feels “very confident” about SemiPro’s chances.
“Everybody I talk to likes it a lot,” Le Goff said. “This is a fun way of scheduling matches and keeping track of your performance, whether it’s that league you play in or horseshoes in the yard or you want to look back and say, ‘I definitely beat you in that golf match three years ago.’
“Sometimes you just want to know how your friend did in his game last night,” he added. “We’re just trying to provide that, and to bring a social atmosphere to the intramural sports world.”
What’s It? Mobile app for scheduling amateur athletic events and tracking statistics
Brought To You By: Cofounders Jason Le Goff and Bilal Muhammed
All In: $15,000 for software development, funded mostly by Le Goff but with a few spot investments
Status: Taking the field in October