Braves Signal Content Play

NEW YORK The Atlanta Braves are getting into the business of creating original content for the Web by allowing one of the teams’ more passionate fans to become a part-time sports reporter.

The organization has partnered with FanSection, a nearly two-year-old company that manages online fan communities and team-specific social media applications on sites like MySpace and Facebook. Starting today, Atlanta native Andrew Roden — one of the more active users of the Braves’ Facebook app — will post online a recent interview he conducted with Braves second baseman Kelly Johnson. The plan is for Roden to conduct a similar interview during each Braves’ homestand this season, asking questions posed by the Braves’ FanSection community, which numbers 80,000 users.

“Our goal with FanSection was to create a community of fans who views the world of sports through the lens of their team,” explained company CEO Kevin Chou. “It’s sort of like a super message board.”

According to Chou, by launching this series of videos, FanSection is aiming to help the Braves connect directly with their most loyal supporters, while also breaking down some of the traditional barriers between fans and players. “With this program, we wanted to find people to step up and become a leader in the community and…a real editorial voice,” he said. “This lets the fans become the shining stars rather than the talking heads on ESPN.”

The Braves are among a growing number of teams in the college and professional sports ranks that are working with FanSection. According to Chou, the company’s collection of 500-plus team apps reaches 17 million fans. Several teams such as the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors have used FanSection apps to boost ticket and merchandise sales, he said.