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Sports Then and Now

Gridiron Grunts: Giving Football Fans the Inside Scoop

Posted on September 03, 2011 by Joe Gill

Gridiron Grunts is fun and easy to use!

In this age of social media, fans are getting up close and personal with their favorite celebrities and athletes. We all know about Twitter and Facebook, but now NFL fans have their own social media medium. It’s called Gridiron Grunts.

You may ask, what is a grunt? A Grunt is an audio message that lasts 0-45 seconds. Instead of texting or calling your friends, you can send them an audio “grunt” from your smartphone (IPHONE and Android are now available!)

Sounds cool huh?

I was able to chat with co-founders Jeb B. Terry Jr and Ryan Nece, former NFL players and teammates during their time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, about their social medium application that connects you with your friends and favorite NFL personalities like Wes Welker, Philip Rivers and Chris Johnson.

ST&N: How was Gridiron Grunts born?

Gridiron Grunts: GRIDIRON GRUNTS™ started as a conversation over dinner. A colleague of mine and I were talking about business and football and we landed on the idea of selling QB cadences as ringtones. We believed that fans would like to hear their favorite QB saying: “Blue 80, Blue 80, Set Hut, Hut, Hut”, and other variations of course.

The GRIDIRON GRUNTS™ platform transformed from a ringtone marketplace into a fan engagement and sports media network allowing athletes to create and control their own media. Our goal is to help athletes manage their brand and content while connecting with their fans. GRUNTS™ accomplishes that by distributing authentic content without the filter of traditional media, straight from the source in real time. The athletes don’t have to worry about being misquoted or misinterpreted; their content is all on GRIDIRON GRUNTS™ for everyone to listen to.

The network also allows all users to GRUNT back and forth for free. It’s as if you are sending a voice memo or voice text to one or all of your friends at once.

ST&N: Did you both come up with concept while you played together in Tampa?

GG: No, the concept was thought of after we played. I was in the middle of getting my MBA at UNC Kenan Flagler’s business school when we started the business. Ryan and I have been great friends since playing together and we always bounce business ideas off of one another. I approached Ryan to get his thoughts and advice after developing the initial idea. He obviously liked the idea and joined Gridiron Ventures, LLC to help refine and build the business. Our Chief Creative Officer, Joel Cave, also has been involved from the beginning and is an integral part of our company.

ST&N: How did you get all these NFL players involved?

GG: We got the current roster involved by tapping our own personal networks of both players and agents. We also went to every major NFL event and spoke with anyone that would listen. We have had success attracting athletes because it is a no risk proposition for them. We provide them with the means to communicate directly to their fans in an easy and unique way. All an athlete has to do is speak into his phone and press submit. His GRUNT is then pushed to every one of his subscribers immediately. This is an opportunity for players to conduct their own postgame interviews on their own time.

ST&N:For Patriots fans, can you go into detail on how Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez joined Gridiron Grunts?

Wes Welker's "grunts" are off the wall.

GG: We were able to approach Wes and Aaron through their agents at Athletes First. Athletes First saw potential in our business and has been incredibly supportive of our efforts. Both Wes and Aaron wanted the opportunity to connect with Patriots fans in more meaningful way and believed this would be a great avenue to do it.

ST&N: Is GG licensed by the NFL and/or NFLPA?

GG: Yes, GRIDIRON GRUNTS™ is an officially licensed product of the NFLPA.

ST&N: Who is your most popular NFL personality on the network?

GG: Randall Cobb is the most popular player on the network. He has done Q&A sessions with his twitter followers and provides detailed reports about his training camp and game day experiences.

ST&N: Which subscription paid grunt is your most popular?

GG: We recently released a “Subscribe to All” feature that has been very successful. Since its release, it has been the most popular subscription option.

ST&N: When do you plan to launch the platform for the Droid? Any plans for other smartphones?

Send a "grunt" to a friend or download from a NFL star!

GG: We will be releasing the Android version this week but do not plan to go to other operating systems at this time. We will however make the content available via our website in the near future.

We are also releasing an updated version of the application next week with a new feature called the “Huddle”. This allows fans to GRUNT with the players and other subscribers in a private forum that only subscribers and the athlete have access to. Subscribers can ask players questions, comment on recent games, and GRUNT with the other fans.

It is important to note that the application is free to download in the app store and Android Market. Once downloaded, users can GRUNT with their friends for free as well as listen to any free content that the players post.

In the next release we are including a “Reply ALL” feature that allows users to GRUNT with groups of friends at once.

ST&N: Any thoughts about launching into other sports?

GG: Yes, we are pursuing other opportunities as we speak. Stay tuned for the next GRUNTS™ application to be released in the fall.

Thanks to the Gridiron Grunts team for taking out time to speak to me. Be sure to download the FREE application today to hear Wes Welker’s grunts because they are a riot. Trust me! Follow all the Gridiron Grunt news on Facebook and Twitter as well!

(This article originally appeared on Boston Sports Then and Now. Special thanks to the Trifecta Team for their assistance)

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