Fanbase, a web directory of college and professional teams and athletes, publicly launched today, joining FanFeedr, FanSnap, Yardbarker and a host of other web sites that aim to cover sports in innovative ways. Fanbase’s content is user-driven, similar to Wikipedia and IMDb, so anyone can edit or add photos, articles and videos to an athlete or team profile. The company has received $5 million in funding from Benchmark Capital, the original investor in Epinions, a startup co-founded by Fanbase CEO Nirav Tolia that was shrouded in controversy and legal battles and ultimately acquired by eBay (s ebay).
Fanbase has pages dedicated to over 1.7 million athletes and 20,700 teams across 22 sports so far, but aims to be a directory for both big-name athletes and teams as well as lesser-known college players. The company scoured thousands of college media guides to procure data about former athletes at the schools. For example, if you played men’s volleyball for Stanford in the mid-1990s, there’s most likely a page already set up for you that lists your name and what years you played in college. For instance, Sarah Leary, Fanbase co-founder and VP of Product and Marketing, has a page dedicated to her lacrosse career at Harvard. If you can’t find a page for you or your college team, just create one yourself. You can also use Facebook Connect to help you find friends who have athlete pages on Fanbase. So far, the site has attracted over 500,000 users who have made more than 60,000 contributions to the site, Fanbase said. The company plans to include pages for high school athletes and teams in the future.