By Andrew Gilstrap
For one of my graduate-level classes, I have been prompted to develop ideas for a digital-based business. So what have I invented? Something basketball based, of course. I envision people jumping on a computer or their phones to look up courts and times to play pickup basketball games with others. I would love for them to use an interactive map where you could not only find the courts near you, but you could hover over each site with your mouse and find out what times the pickup games are and what the general skill level is of players at the court. Here is the process I’d like to see users go through:
My ideas for this project have evolved and expanded over this fall semester. I now see that I should expand the service into other sports — which I’d welcome with open arms — if I’d like to business to scale. My basketball-finding service needs to have other bells and whistles if I want to attract repeat users. Over time, I have found several sites that do pieces of what I’d like to offer — one even does most of what I’m planning to do– but I want to combine those features and basically just do everything better than what I see in those sites.
I would offer links to the latest basketball news and editorial blogs (done by myself or staff) on the front page of the website. I also want the site to be very interactive and social. I would love nothing else than to see my fully realized business to become the ‘Facebook of sports.’ Users would be able to create a profile, and they’d get to “check in” at various basketball courts and post pictures and videos of their best plays. On the homepage of my website, I’d have a column featuring the latest highlights posted to the site.
When using the interactive map, you would be able to click on the desired court to go to a page for that location. Each page for a court would function like a Facebook group page. Players would get to use this page to coordinate times for pickups games, see who’s going to play, talk smack to each other and more.
Tabs to other pages would involve features such as my hand-selected ‘Court of the Week,’ some ‘Can’t Miss Highlights,’ and a forum for basketball minds to converse. The latest feature I’ve been mulling is live broadcasts of pickup games; this mostly goes along with the ‘Court of the Week’ feature, where we’d reward those users by televising their next game on our website. It would also be interesting to allow users an outlet to broadcast any pickup games on our site as long as they have a video cam and an online connection. This would be an especially intriguing feature if I could get the broadcasts up and functioning during this desolate NBA season — in sort of a “by the people, for the people” channel.
Please respond with your thoughts about this proposed business: Would you use this service? What features would you add? Don’t forget that this service would have a significant mobile component, with the basketball-finding map at the forefront there. Let’s get started. Help me get you in the game!