Ryan Kerrigan has multiple social platforms available to interact with fans. He can tweet, Facebook, blog, or YouTube.
Now, he can also Grunt.
Started by former NFL players Jeb Terry and Ryan Nece, Gridiron Grunts is a voice-based platform that allows athletes to send voice messages to fans.
Not unlike Chris Cooley’s new venture, SportsBuzz, it’s a way for players like Kerrigan to monetize fan access.
“It’s not meant to replace Twitter,” Terry explained when we chatted with him about it. “We look at this as a media platform that allows athletes to connect to their fans in a new and authentic way.”
Fans with iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches can download the Gridiron Grunts app for free and then subscribe to whichever players they want access to. For the cost of 99 cents a month, Kerrigan subscribers are guaranteed at least five “grunts,” or voice messages, per week directly from Kerrigan.
“With Twitter, you aren’t sure whether a Tweet is actually coming from the athlete themselves,” said Terry. “The grunts are all recorded by the players.”
A valid point, which also means that the “I was hacked” excuse is now off the table.
Unlike Twitter, the interaction with Grunts is only one-way, meaning the sport of begging players for re-Tweets (or re-Grunts) doesn’t apply here. But Terry insists that there can still be some back and forth.
“Fans can tweet their questions and the athlete can answer the questions verbally on Gridiron Grunts,” he suggests.
Kerrigan has recorded multiple Grunts this month, about everything from the lockout to the U.S. Open to the Brad Paisley concert he went to. Most of it has been pretty mild content, but we’ll give the benefit of the doubt and blame the lockout.
“I try to do five or six a week,” Kerrigan told us. “Hopefully the fans have enjoyed them so far.”
It’s still in its early stages, and currently Kerrigan is the only Redskins player involved. But the app allows the added benefit of fans being able to record messages themselves and send them to all of the friends in their network for free. That should bring fantasy football trash talk to a whole new level.
Paying for access to athletes is something a lot of fans won’t agree with, especially with free access available through mainstream and social media, but Terry insists that the app’s content will attract subscribers.
“This is unique content that you can’t get anywhere else,” he says.
Sure, but it’s up to the fans to decide whether Ryan Kerrigan’s thoughts are worth $1.