When French expat Amélie Wisniak relocated to New York City, she found herself in a bind. A fan of French soccer team Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), she noticed it was difficult to locate sports bars playing her favorite team’s games. Wisniak and her friend Tamara Prud’homme, a classmate from graduate school at the European Business School in Paris and a fellow fan of sports bars, came up with a solution together. They decided to create a website where users could find out which sports bars were showing their favorite games on TV.
Et voilà: SportChaser.com was born.
SportChaser is a search engine that connects fans to sports bars broadcasting the games they want to see. Each bar is listed with key details including price range and atmosphere.
“Our website is filling a sports bar niche. It’s interesting because it’s really specific,” said Wisniak. “When you’re talking about restaurants and bars and general– there are a lot of them. A lot of sites help people find bars in general or local bars. We decided to launch a website to help sports communities get together.”
Wisniak said that the site is particularly geared toward expats and people from outside New York City, who may find it harder to locate bars that regularly broadcast the games they want to see. She said that the site has a particularly strong following among fans of French and Mexican teams, as well as college sports enthusiasts.
“Our main focus is on people not from New York, trying to watch their game in a nice environment. Someone who’s from France like me for example, or a fan of college football or basketball,” she said. “It’s about communities and passion and joy.”
Miguel Mendez said that he started using SportChaser based on a friend’s recommendation. A Pittsburgh Steelers fan, Mendez said the site helped him find what quickly became a new favorite bar, Beckett’s Bar & Grill in the Financial District.
“There aren’t a lot of Steelers bars,” said Mendez. “So when I found that one it ended up becoming one of my favorite sports bars in Manhattan.”
Mendez also uses the site to find bars playing World Wrestling Entertainment. He said that he likes the site’s niche focus on sports and interface.
“I think the thing I like the most about SportChaser is the simplicity of it,” he said. “A lot of these sites like Yelp and such have the tools to help you, but they make it so complicated that after a while you don’t want to use it any more.”
Wisniak and Prud’homme are looking for ways to expand the site to make it even more engaging and useful. The two business partners plan to add user reviews of bars, expand to cities beyond New York and possibly build an app (though the site is designed to be responsive, optimized for use on mobile devices).
“What people are asking more and more is for us to build the social aspect of the site,” said Wisniak. “Because what we’re really trying to do with SportChaser is get people together.”