It’s nothing new for famous athletes to take on a lucky fan in video games, but a new mobile app is adding a smart twist: organizing and monetizing the relationship between gamers. The idea, if it gets funded on Kickstarter (click here to pledge your money), will allow users to buy memberships (starting at a pledge of $15 a pop) to log on to the Overdog Mobile App when it launches later this year. Once logged on, users can be randomly selected by the more than 100 athletes participating in the project (including NFL, MLB, MLS players and more) to play against them.
Hunter Hillenmeyer, a former Chicago Bears player and Northwestern Kellogg Business School grad, said he came up with the idea after watching his teammates play video games obsessively in the players’ lounge. “A lot of them jump on Twitter and Facebook and challenge their fans to the games as it is,” he said. “So we’re just building a community and a better, more seamless experience.”
The app, if it launches, fills a surprisingly still-open hole in an increasingly social relationship between athletes and their fans. For fans, it’s a way to be close to their favorite player without spending a boatload of cash for a quick autograph session or clamoring on fences during training camp.
As for the athletes, it’s just getting them to do something they would do anyways–but for money and in a more organized fashion. “These guys go home and play 2-3 hours of video games a night and we’re asking them to do it with a fan and get paid for it,” Hillenmeyer said. “It wasn’t exactly a hard sell.”