Michael Grotticelli /
05.14.2010 08:51 AM
Spitter.com overlays social media on sports

Spitter.com is a new social media website that aggregates sports data, allowing sports fans to see all the information about their favorite sports team in one place.

The site, in beta since last August, allows users to leave messages about their favorite teams and players from all the big four sports, college sports, golf, motorsports and soccer.

What separates the site from a normal startup is its creators. Co-creators David Eckoff and his partner, Peter Gruman, were part of the team that brought Rivals.com to the limelight before it was sold to Yahoo.

Eckoff said the idea formed when Gruman said that he really didn't care about the personal tweets Eckoff was including on his Twitter account. "He told me he didn't care that I was grilling salmon in my back yard," Eckoff said. "We asked, 'What if there was a place where sports fans can find all the news about their sports teams without seeing all the stuff about what people had for lunch?'"

The site also serves another purpose. "For me, it saved time. I have like seven teams I follow, and I go to so many websites and so many places to get information," Eckoff said. "We can put this all together. We're overwhelmed with information, so what we're doing is helping makes sense of the information."

The duo has a decade of experience in sports media. After their time at rivals, Gruman went on to be involved with Scout.com, and Eckoff became involved in Real Networks and Turner Broadcasting.

The name came about by accident during a brainstorming session, when one person said "sports" and another person said "Twitter." The words were combined and the name was chosen. "We all laughed, but it grew on us," Eckoff said. "We bought the domain name from a dentist, believe it or not."

Future improvements to the site will focus on paring down the information that flows to a team's page. "For example, if you're a fan of the Boston College Eagles, you don't want to see articles about a bird, or the rock group or the Philadelphia Eagles," Eckoff said. "We're improving the filtering, so it's more relevant to you and avoiding the other stuff."

The duo have learned some lessons from their time at Rivals.com that they are applying to their new venture, which is being run by much of the same team that worked on Rivals.com. For starters, they say the focus must remain on the team, not the site.

For those who think it's crazy for two guys to take on a sports giant like ESPN and social media pioneers like Facebook and Twitter, Eckoff has a quick answer. "The lesson from Rivals, which competed against ESPN, is: We've banded together an army of Davids and we've got great technology, or slingshots, to take on the Goliaths of the world — just like Twitter came out to take on Facebook."

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