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Pickup Sports App Provides Community For Users – The Varsity

By September 11, 2017January 10th, 2022Sports app

Alicia Luciani receives a pass on the left wing and runs towards me. As I try to steal the ball from her, she passes to her left foot. I can hear the collective sound of exasperated voices behind me. Luciani left, forcing me to chase after her in an attempt to prevent her from scoring.

It’s a Friday morning, just after 9:00 a.m. on the main campus of the University of Toronto, and a group of strangers are playing a 90-minute football game. All thanks to OpenSports, an application that allows users to organize and play pickup sports.

Co-founder and CEO James Gibbons believes OpenSports, launched in June 2016, can better serve people in transition to uncharted territory. It was created after Gibbons graduated from the University of Waterloo, when he and a friend realized they weren’t as physically active as they had been in the past.

“So we started looking around and there was Meetup which was more structured events and there was Facebook which was mostly your friends, and the idea that if you can get an Uber… basically anywhere in the world on demand you should be able to get a soccer game or someone to play tennis with on the go, ”Gibbons told University.

The application can provide users with the feeling of a structured community. Back Campus Fields are one of the primary locations for hosting football matches, the primary sport used by its 5,000 base. users.

“Alicia has led the attention in the demographics of football. We’ve seen soccer is this booming sport, we’ve seen people come to Toronto but they don’t know a lot of other people and soccer is this universal language for people to come together, ”added Gibbons. .

As Chief Marketing Officer and Co-Founder, Luciani employed a multi-channel and multiplatform marketing strategy, balancing the core aspects of interacting with users while gaming and publishing games on various social media platforms.

“We really ran with this idea and built the football community. This has been an important part of the process, then learning from the engagement in the field with the people who use the app and create and join games and play, ”said Luciani, MSc in Kinesiology and exercise science at the U of T.

“We may post links to these games on various channels like Facebook or Kijiji or Reddit or BlogTo, and it brings in people looking for sports. So we kind of reach them right where they’re looking, so we’re always trying to increase our digital marketing efforts, ”she added.

While the next step will be expansion into different regions, the co-founders are still determined to tackle the issue of women’s participation in sports, an issue they have seen illuminated by OpenSports.

“We’re trying to see how we can have more female-only events because there’s this huge drop in female attendance from high school to college,” Gibbons said.

Luciani added: “In general, women are always less represented in the sporting context, and so you can see it in a mixed football match that I organize that I will be the only woman or me and someone else. ‘other and people want to see more women there.

After the game I’m too tired to tackle Luciani’s quick lap or even recount the two embarrassing occasions where I was muscular. Conversations around me unfold as new and old friends discuss previous and future games.

“There was actually this funny story [about] those two guys taking a bike trip from Mexico City to Canada; Toronto was their very last stop, ”says Luciani. “They have driven 3,500 kilometers in a month and I’m out in the field playing a pickup game hosted by OpenSports at the back of campus one night… these two guys are coming to the field and they’re not even wearing proper football gear, but they’re good enough. And so afterwards the lights go out and I hang out with them a bit and I hear about their story and it’s amazing that they got here, their whole journey is about sport, inclusion and diversity and they saw that perfectly manifested over there on the ground at U of T. ”