Circle Media is one of the leading sports fan intelligence and engagement platform. Through its proprietary software, Circle Media powers the “Fan Graph” for sports properties ranging from universities to leagues to individual teams. Circle Media enables these properties to integrate myriad property-specific and third-party databases and to unlock the value behind this data. This data can then be used to drive highly targeted engagement of sports fans from properties themselves, as well as companies, brands, advertisers and sponsors.
Just as LinkedIn built the “Professional Graph” and Facebook built the “Social Graph,” Circle Media is building the “Fan Graph.” There are 180 million sports fans in the United States alone, most of whom are highly engaged consumers. Sports properties are just beginning to get the “Big Data”-driven value behind their fans, and Circle Media empowers properties to engage fans using this intelligence.
Circle Media is led by CEO and Co-Founder Randy Eccker, who previously founded and built XOS Digital. At its peak, XOS Digital boasted a client base which included an 80% share among BCS schools, the NFL, the NBA, and the NHL. In that venture, XOS was able to raise $50M+ in venture funding. The other core team members have a strong background in digital media, branding, and sports marketing, and have developed exceptional industry relationships as well.
Matt Hanson (GSV Capital); Randy Eccker; John Libro
Circle Media provides two key products to sports properties: 1) Fan Intelligence, 2) Fan Engagement. The Fan Intelligence platform serves as the intelligence layer connecting disparate on-property and third-party databases containing fan-specific information, including demographics, psychographics, behavior and relationships. The Fan Engagement product enables sports properties to utilize the rich data from the Fan Intelligence platform to drive more meaningful engagement with fans, through various channels including social media, traditional media, special engagements, and commerce. By utilizing Circle Media “Big Data” approach to fan intelligence, sports properties are enabled to generate potentially meaningfully higher return-on-investment from their fans
The global sports market is exceptionally large, comprising billions of fans (3.5 billion fans of soccer/football alone) and over $500 billion of annual spend. Circle Media is taking advantage of two very powerful business model trends, the proliferation of “graphs” (Facebook: social, LinkedIn: professional, Twitter: interest) and the “Big Data” approach to using software-powered intelligence to uncover insights and drive better, richer engagement with customers. Circle Media has already partnered with several premier college sports properties and sports marketing brands, and we expect this to be just the beginning of Circle Media’s trajectory.
Internet; Brands; Network Effects; Demographics; Outsourcing; Globalization
Circle Media has the potential to redefine the way sports properties collect, analyze and apply intelligence about their fans in a “Big Data”-driven manner. The “Fan Graph” has the potential to become the de facto network for sports properties and their fans around the globe.
Circle Media’s founding team has extraordinary relationships in the sports marketing and sports properties verticals, which has enabled Circle Media to garner key partnerships early on in the Company’s life cycle. Additionally, Circle Media should become the intelligence and engagement layer that drives every one of a property’s interactions with fans, which creates a very powerful economic moat for Circle Media through true network effects.
Sports properties have historically been slow first-movers with respect to adoption of new technologies, which may hamper the growth of Circle Media in its early days. Additionally, there are several well-capitalized Big Data and social intelligence companies competing in this area. Finally, Circle Media will need to significantly scale its personnel, particularly sales/marketing and development, which will require additional capital and operational acumen.
GSVC percentage figures are based upon the fair value of each holding as of the quarter ended September 30, 2016, or the cost basis of the holding (exclusive of transaction costs) if the investment closed subsequent to September 30, 2016. In either case, these values are divided by the fair value of total portfolio investments of GSV Capital as of September 30, 2016.