May 02, 2017
Imagine you're sitting in your seat at Citizens Bank Park, perhaps enjoying some Crab Fries or a Dollar Dog, when suddenly everyone around you begins to rise with outstretched arms. The crack of the bat clues you into what's going on, but by the time you process it, you're unable to safely put your food down and still make a play on the ball.
So you do what any good fan would.
Holding your food in one hand, you jump from your seat and use your remaining hand to reach up and grab the home run ball as those sitting around you begin to cheer.
You're a hero. Everyone is trying to give you high fives and your phone is blowing up with people saying that they saw you on TV. Maybe you celebrate it by pouring your Crab Fries over your head. Or perhaps a polite bow is more your style.
Either way, you're going to want to see that again.
When you get home, however, you realize you can't. For one reason or another – you didn't record the game, you can't find a replay, whatever – you can't find that clip anywhere.
I think we can all agree that would suck. But thanks to a company called 15 Seconds of Fame, you'll never have to worry about finding yourself in that situation ever again, one not too dissimilar from something the company's CEO, Brett Joshpe, experienced over a decade ago.
“I was at a Mets game, probably about 12 years ago, and somebody hit a foul ball," he recalled during a recent interview with PhillyVoice. "I just watched the arc of the ball and I watched it come down and literally hit off my brother’s chest. He was at the same game, just in a different section. That was the closest moment for me, where I just said, ‘Boy, I wish I had that clip.’”
Founded in 2014, 15 Seconds of Fame (15SOF) now has partnerships with teams in all four major professional sports leagues (and some colleges as well). They'll also be expanding to other live events, such as concerts and music festivals, including Shaky Knees Music Festival in Atlanta later this month.
The free app, which is available for free on iPhone and Android devices, allows fans to check into games they are attending and upload a headshot (or "selfie" for all you millennials out there). Then, through their own facial recognition software and other propriety IP, delivers any clips in which you appear ... right to your phone.
And now, thanks to a multi-year deal with MLB Advanced Media, 15SOF will have access to the TV broadcast feeds for all 30 teams.
“We know how much people want that content," said Joshpe, a lawyer-turned-entrepreneur. "You see, at games, people always trying to get their phones out of their pocket in time to try to get get a picture of the video board. Or being at a game and having a friend text message you saying they just saw you on TV. People want that content, and there’s never been a way to effectively deliver that to people other than if you TiVo a game and take a video of your television.
"So we kind of figured out a way to leverage modern technology – it’s not an easy solve, there’s a lot of processes and algorithms that go into what we do, but we figure out a way to do it and deliver this great content to fans and deliver something that they’ve always wanted but have never been able to receive before.”
Their team-by-team deals across the various leagues give 15SOF access to the scoreboard video feed in participating parks. So if you and your significant other wind up on Kiss Cam or your mom decided to totally embarrass you in front of all your friends, you can now save them forever (although I'm not sure why you'd want the latter).
MLB, however, is the first (and, so far, only) partner that allows 15SOF to deliver clips from the actual TV broadcast – they will also be offering footage from special "jewel" events, including the MLB All-Star Game and postseason games.
"We've always wanted to expand our content offering to TV," Joshpe said. "It's funny, I've heard people banter back and forth about which is cooler, being on the video board or being on TV. They're kind of different. You know, anybody who is on camera in one of those mediums understands the thrill, but they're different in a way because when you're on a video board, you can typically see yourself and see your reaction. When you're on TV, which is kind of the 'money shot' – I mean, everybody loves the idea of being on TV and being seen by a lot of people outside of that particular venue – you don't necessarily know you're on TV. So as the company has grown, we've looked to increasingly do deals like we did with MLB Advanced Media, where we are getting a lot of content on a daily basis, a lot of television content.
"And a lot of what we're doing is still introducing fans to the product. A lot of fans are still just learning about it and may not even know that they're on television. We want to make sure as many people as possible know that if they go to the game, they should get the app because they may have been on TV and no even realize it."
For an example – you can see more in their Hall of Fame – 15SOF sent over a clip of a great grab made on a foul ball during the Phillies' 17-3 win over the Nationals back on April 8.
First, here's what the clip looked like during the live broadcast on CSN:
And here's what that fan would've had delivered to his phone, via 15SOF:
Unfortunately, he had not yet signed up for the app, so there was no way for video to be delivered.
But, random Phillies fan, if you're reading this – or if anyone reading this knows who he is, please tell him – it's not too late. You're also able to check into past games (from this season, when the technology was implemented) and any relevant clips will still be delivered, even if it was from last month.
Currently, the other sports are limited to the in-stadium video board feed. But according to Joshpe, that will change moving forward.
"We have deals in all the professional leagues with the individual teams," Joshpe said. "We continue to grow that roster of partners on a pretty regular basis. We do have some other deals in the works that we will be announcing similar to the Major League Baseball deal, where we'll be taking in broadcast footage and delivering that as well.
"About a month-month and a half ago, we actually just announced a deal with the BIG10 Network, so we'll be delivering TV footage from football games starting in the fall."
The expansion to the BIG10 makes sense. Prior to debuting during the 2016 NBA Finals, the company beta-tested their technology at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor thanks to the school's former athletic director, Dave Brandon, who is a friend of 15SOF board member (and Emmy-winning broadcaster) Armen Keteyian.
It also means that if you're a Penn State fan, you might want to download the app before heading up to Beaver Stadium for a game next season.
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