Beyond the success of its sports teams, Boston is also home to some of the fastest growing sports companies in the nation. From that crowded field, several of them stand out. Narrowing down the list is often the hardest part, but here are a few worthy contenders for the annual 50 on Fire nominations.
For the past several years, CoachUp has continued to grow from a local startup into its more familiar position as the largest private coaching company in the United States. And just in the past year, some of CoachUp’s most prominent faces have experienced tremendous success. Affiliated athletes like Julian Edelman and Stephen Curry won championships, using their expanded platforms to spread the word about private coaching to an even greater audience. Coupled with continued growth both domestically and internationally, CoachUp remains committed to its Boston headquarters.
While no introduction is necessary, it’s still worth a reminder that the daily fantasy juggernaut outstripped companies like Geico and AT&T in advertising earlier in September. That would be an achievement for any company, let alone one founded not even five years ago. Despite the inevitable backlash against the seemingly endless string of Ed Norton-narrated commercials, the strategy has been undeniable effective for DraftKings. Adding over a million and a half new users, the Boston-based company is poised to continue cornering the growing market of daily fantasy.
Already established as a unique sports social media site with an extremely loyal base, Fancred continued to harness the power of its best content in 2015 with a new addition: Make Gameday Everyday. A standalone site, “Make Gameday Everyday” grew an audience of more than half a million readers, all arriving just see the best of Fancred’s user base. It was one of the most effective examples of content marketing, since it basically wasn’t content marketing at all. Creative in its growth, Fancred is not only a company to watch in 2015, but going forward.
New to the Boston stage in 2015, the tennis-startup has nonetheless been a huge success right away. Working with the City of Boston to help make public tennis courts more efficient (and complete) in usage, PlayLocal has been well received. Users are not only able to find other tennis players of their age and skill, but can reserve court times. The concept not only aids the tennis scene, but carries promise for other sports in the future. In the meantime, PlayLocal is already expanding in Boston after less than a year.
If you listened to legal opinion about either of the dominant Boston sports law stories of 2015, it was probably from University of New Hampshire professor Michael McCann. Well spoken and extremely active, McCann made dozens of television and radio appearances, as well as writing prolifically about the major New England intersections between sports and law. Both in his coverage of the Aaron Hernandez trial as well as Tom Brady’s court battle against Roger Goodell, McCann made many complicated legal proceedings easier to understand for a greater audience. He’s even teaching a class about Deflategate.
The Boston Olympic Opposition
In one of the most effective community campaigns in recent Boston history, an extremely well-funded Olympic bid was halted by a grassroots opposition effort that will forever impact the landscape of sports business in Boston. Comprised of multiple organizations, the opposition succeeded in making Boston 2024 the shortest-lived USOC-endorsed U.S. Olympic bid ever. In the process, it galvanized a critical mass of diverse supporters toward a specific goal. Considering the weight of the polls, it was a victory for a Boston majority.
Beyond simply catching the winning touchdown in Super Bowl XLIX, Edelman has continued to provide football fans with the pleasantly surprising image of an offbeat Patriots player. In an era where Bill Belichick maintains that his team stick to strict rules when it comes to their personalities (especially on social media), Edelman has been something different. Whether it was his trip to Israel, or his hilarious recap of being a car salesman, he’s been a driving force in innovative social media usage by a star athlete.