Facial Recognition App "15 Seconds of Fame" Captures Sports Fans’ Moments of Glory

Many enthusiastic sports lovers enjoy seeing their team play in person, but maybe the only thing some fans like more is seeing themselves or friends on the Jumbotron scoreboard during a break in the action.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s dancing, cheering, shooting half court shots, or smooching their date in the kiss-cam, fans can't seem to get enough of these crowd shots on the big boards.
In this age of selfies and social videos the in-house videoboards were in danger of losing relevance to younger fans that could create their own antics and share them so easily on social media with smartphones.
But a New York City-based startup has seized the moment and has created an app capturing a fan’s brief time in the spotlight--signing deals with Major League Baseball and the Big 10 Network among others.
That free app which works with both Android and iOS devices, is called appropriately enough, 15 Seconds of Fame, since in essence that is exactly what it records for posterity and delivers direct to the fans.
The co-founder and CEO Brett Joshpe discussed the app’s growing wave of support among sports teams, and the firm’s outlook, with Open Mobile Media’s Robert Gray.
 
OMM: Where did the idea for 15 Seconds of Fame come from?
 Joshpe: At the end of the day, we have all been sports and live entertainment fans for decades and have personally felt and shared the desire to capture and preserve these moments. When we looked to our left and right at every game, we saw the same thing from the fans around us. We consider this product the Future of Memories and that is exactly what we are providing – memories that can now last a lifetime.
 
How does it work—getting the clip from the fan cam to my smartphone?
Joshpe: You simply take a selfie at registration. Then, when you appear on camera, our technology seamlessly delivers that video, as well as still images, directly to your account. That content can then be shared instantly with the click of a button. The technology will even work if you don’t register ahead of time. If you look up and notice you were just on the scoreboard, don’t worry – just download the app, take the selfie and you will get your clip.
 
OMM: Does the app use facial recognition software or artificial intelligence that can find you?
Joshpe:There are a series of algorithms and processes in our technology stack, including biometrics, that are used to identify people and deliver content to them in real-time.
 
OMM: Are there special features to edit the app? And are you able to download it as well as share?
Joshpe:We have various editing tools that are specific to different venues. Currently, users are able to share their content, but not edit or download it directly.
  
OMM: Since the app is free to use, how does 15 Seconds of Fame make money from it?
Joshpe:The revenue model is a sponsorship model with brands paying to sponsor the content that we deliver. The value of this content is like no other to fans, licensors, brands and us. It doesn’t disappear. It doesn't get dumped when your phone runs out of space. People keep it and share it forever.
 
OMM: Starting this season, 15 Seconds of Fame signed a deal with Major League Baseball Advanced Media (MLBAM) to capture video clips of fans that appear during broadcasts. And starting with the college football season in autumn you're working with the Big 10 Network. How do those deals work?
Joshpe:We will be delivering to users fan moments from all MLB television feeds, as well as videoboard feeds from participating teams. If a fan appears on TV while at a game, he or she would follow the same registration process to receive that video clip. All content that we deliver is sponsorable.
The terms of our deal with MLBAM are confidential, but it is a multi-year agreement.
And the multi-year partnership with the Big Ten Network will deliver fans their TV appearances straight to their mobile device when they attend select (BTN-telecasted) sporting events.
Big Ten fans will upload a “selfie” to receive their personal TV “moments” on their smartphone when they appear on the Big Ten Network. A high resolution digital video clip can then be shared instantly across users’ social networks. 
 
OMM: Is this passive search that finds you whenever you’re on a fan cam or on TV or do you have to search for yourself?
Joshpe:The user does not have to do any searching to receive the content. That all happens automatically through our proprietary technology.
 
OMM: How does 15 Seconds of Fame protect its tech turf from copycats or being squeezed out by venue operators or TV networks?
Joshpe: We have acquired and developed intellectual property, including patents. Moreover, as we have learned through extensive R&D, our processes are complex with multiple technological components, so this isn't just a switch that somebody can turn on. We also present a win-win proposition for venue operators and networks and an opportunity to generate incredible fan engagement with incremental revenue, and so, from a business perspective, a partnership with us is a value-add.
 
OMM: 15 Seconds of Fame has partnered with teams across all the major U.S. professional leagues. Give us a sense of your current client base and where the company sees the greatest growth potential.
Joshpe: We have partnered with multiple teams in all the professional leagues, including the (NBA) World Champion Cleveland Cavaliers and Brooklyn Nets, (NHL) N.Y. Islanders and New Jersey Devils, (MLB) Atlanta Braves and (NFL) Arizona Cardinals and Jacksonville Jaguars also experienced our product this year.
In the NCAA, we have partnered with University of Michigan and Stanford University.
Of course, this spring will be working with MLB at the league level and specific teams, and we will be making announcements on other major partnerships soon.
Virtually any venue is a potential client and there is growth opportunity not just in sports (professional, college, and amateur) but all across the live event space. Concerts, graduations, autograph shows, camps, races, etc. all represent fruitful opportunities for us.
 
OMM: Have you been in talks with any sports leagues or other potential partners outside of the U.S.?
Joshpe:We have been contacted by some of the largest organizations in sports from overseas and there is extensive interest.
 
OMM: So you are looking to ultimately grow the business beyond sports. What other applications in other industries are you considering?
Joshpe: Our focus is on the live event space, the real-time social component that accompanies it, and the incredible demand for this kind of personal content. Our technology absolutely has applications in other industries, but it's not a focus at this time.