To Fan the Passion For Sports

04/12/2012 11:04 GMT | Updated 01/02/2013 10:12 GMT

Have you ever wondered about the origin of the word "fan"? We are not talking about ceiling fans or table fans or pedestal fans. We are talking about fans whose hearts go "thuk, thuk" on seeing the celebrity they hero-worship.

If you were to be told that you are a fanatic, you would protest. In the popular mind fanaticism is associated with religion, jihad, terror, 9/11, 26/11 and so on. It is just as well that some wordsmith, gods knows when, shortened the ugly word and made it into a mellow-sounding fan, which most of us are. If there were no fans, celebrities would stop being celebrities. Musicians would stop playing music, singers would stop singing, actors would find some other job and sports persons would not be motivated to take their chosen discipline to Olympian heights. But when we get carried away, the line between fan and fanatic gets blurred.

In the last decade, social networking has given birth to a new breed of fans. They tweet short messages and build a huge following themselves. They make friends and enemies on Facebook, Orkut, Google and so many other online social interaction sites. However, there wasn't any online forum which allowed sports fanatics to discuss their favorite icons or game. The god of the virtual world seems to have partly heard their complaint. is exclusively for those who are passionate about sports and sports persons. However, it needs a lot of work to make it cool or hot or whatever is the new coinage for popular sites among netizens. As of today its appeal is largely limited to fans in America, and maybe Canada.

eFans has elements of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter and sports news sites like ESPN and Yahoo Sports. All you have to do is create a profile and join a network of your favourite teams. However, it does not seek to replace Facebook or Twitter. In fact you can link your eFans account to your social networking sites' accounts.

In September 2007, Stephan Maric founded the site while studying at the University of California, Los Angeles. He asked Branislav Gjorcevski, who had experience in launching start-ups, to join him. Their goal was to create a site that would connect millions of fans around the world with their favourite teams and athletes.

The site has undergone several modifications to improve user experience. In its present form it has an Athletes section and Team section, where users browse profiles for both players and teams. The News section includes up-to-the-minute developments on major sporting events. The site also boasts other sections, including online gaming, a betting portal, user contributed videos and a merchandise shop.

EFans can be turned into a golden goose by shrewd online entrepreneurs in the Indian sub-continent. At present it has small footprints in the UK and Spain. What eFans managers need to be told is that India has perhaps one of the largest and aggressively active online social network communities in the virtual world. However, in its present form the site does not include games which are hugely popular in the India and the sub-continent.

An exclusive Indian site would provide a forum to the country's countless cricket crazy fans. Of course, the Indian site should not merely concentrate on cricket. Chess, Badminton, Tennis, Boxing and field games and sports can also be included given Indian sports persons' recent and continuing success in these disciplines at the international level.