Spectator aims to change way Iowans follow high school sports

IOWA CITY—It's no secret that in Iowa, high school sports, particularly football, garner some serious attention. But as Jon Myers and some of his University of Iowa classmates found, following your high school alma mater can oftentimes be tricky, with lots of different outlets spreading incomplete or outdated information across the web. So the former

Spectator App
Spectator LogoIOWA CITY—It’s no secret that high school sports like football garner some serious attention in Iowa. But as Jon Myers and some of his University of Iowa classmates found, following your high school alma mater can oftentimes be tricky, with lots of different outlets spreading incomplete or outdated information across the web.

So the former high school athletes decided to take action.

And through the University of Iowa JPEC’s summer Venture School, the group took action and created Spectator, an app that hopes to change the way Iowa parents, students and fans follow high school sports.

Myers, one of the startup’s three co-founders and a junior mechanical engineering student at the University of Iowa, says the goal behind Spectator is to further engage with high schools’ booster clubs and fans to better support local teams.

“We want Spectator to be the place people go because that’s where the information they want is,” Larson said.

Earlier this week he and Mitch Larson, a junior marketing student at the University and member of the Spectator team, spoke at Des Moines’ 1 Million Cups to share what they’ve been working on since the culmination of Venture School. Between the two 4A schools—Iowa City High School and Iowa City West High School—they’ve launched at, Spectator’s free iOS app has had more than 200 downloads.

“It’s really cool to see people signing into our app in the stands,” Myers said. “So I guess that’s a little bit of success so far.”

To fans during at a game, Spectator offers live-scoring for the two high schools as well as a database of full-season stats for individual players and the team as a whole. Other features including game previews, more in-depth stats and an in-app store for schools’ boosters clubs are on the list the team plans to add down the road.

“We want to be the ESPN of high school sports,” Larson said.

Spectator—a 2014 Silicon Prairie Awards finalist for Student Entrepreneur of the Year—received funding through Venture School as well as a grant from the state of Iowa, and is run by a team of current University of Iowa students and recent graduates. Currently the app only caters to football, but in the near future Spectator will expand to other boys, and girls, sports at local high schools.

Next Myers says the team is going to tackle launching an Android version of the app and continuing to develop and explore new revenue options for the app with the goal of eventually spreading the service to high schools across the state of Iowa.

Learn a bit more about how Spectator hopes to change engagement with Iowa’s high school sports:

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