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GetGlue Checking In With Sports Fans

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GetGlue is looking to bring digital check-ins to sports fans at the game or those watching from a bar or their couch.

The mobile app company, which has received funding from Time Warner and several venture capital firms, rewards users who virtually "check in" to favorite TV shows, movies and other entertainment options with virtual items, access to exclusive content and even actual stickers. Until now GetGlue has focused most of its marketing muscle toward TV shows, such as rewarding loyal fans of shows like HBO’s True Blood or Showtime’s Weeds for tuning in regularly.

Now the company wants to do the same for sports lovers. As part of a design refresh, the GetGlue app features a permanent sports check-in button. Plus, GetGlue has inked promotional partnerships with Turner for its current coverage of the men’s NCAA basketball tournament, Fox Sports and several other networks, as well as the National Hockey League and the National Basketball Association’s San Antonio Spurs (though not the league itself).

Fans will receive rewards, such as discounts on team merchandise, when they check in to live games at home, when they watch at sports bars or even when they attend in person.

To better connect sports fans at various locales, GetGlue, which has about 800,000 users, is turning to the leader of the location-based check-in wave. The company has announced a partnership with Foursquare that will provide its 8 million users with the ability to check in to events, not just places—alerting friends about what sports content they are consuming at a given time and ideally facilitating some fan interaction.

“We think this is the future of where check-ins are headed,” said GetGlue founder Alex Iskold. “People used to check into Foursquare in bars where they were watching games, but there was no way for Foursquare to connect that information. When you overlay content on top of place, it becomes much more interesting.”

It's also potentially interesting to sports leagues and fans—and potentially sports advertisers.

Iskold said that while GetGlue’s sports initiative was not launching with any charter sponsors, it is natural for brands that are looking to reach men in particular, such as the Anheuser-Buschs and Red Bulls of the world. “Advertising is definitely coming in a big way,” he said.