Michael Owen and Mark Webber are reported to be backing a new sport social network called Sportlobster with hard cash.
The ex-professional football player and F1 racing driver are reportedly giving the London-based start-up a cash injection for a minority stake in the business.
“It’s great to have Michael and Mark endorsing the product,” said CEO and co-founder Andy Meikle, in The Telegraph. “We are now seeing more and more celebrities taking an interest in the site and creating profiles, from England international James Haskell to Danny Dyer.”
Sportlobster aims to be a "one-stop shop for sports fans", with news, rumours, photos and videos, events scheduling, predictions and blogs all on a single online platform.
“Fans will never again be forced to visit several sites or download multiple apps to stay connected to the sporting world,” said Meikle. "If you think of a typical day in the life of a sports fan, it usually involves going to the news sites to read the latest on sport, checking Youtube to find footage you missed, maybe looking at photos too, chatting on Twitter or Facebook and perhaps putting a bet on. Sportlobster brings all these elements into one place.”
Members can follow up to 32 different sports, ranging from football and rugby to snooker and angling, via the Sportlobster website or a new iPhone app, which launched on 25 October.
Last year Sportlobster received £500,000 from an angel investor to help get the start-up off the ground and in September 2013 the firm secured an additional £620,000 from Luxembourg-based Wychwood Capital Partners. The firm is said to be negotiating an additional round of funding.
The start-up plans to boost revenues with a number of paid-for services when the social network reaches critical mass. Such services could include video streaming, gamification tools and the sale of merchandise.
Former Liverpool, Real Madrid and Manchester United footballer Owen claims to be a “regular user” and said that the app will enable users to “have their own voice heard by likeminded fans”.
The BT Sport and BBC Match of the Day pundit added: “While other platforms may allow you to have a voice, Sportlobster offers a dedicated space to discuss real topics in sport. As a regular user I understand the value it can offer and the team is committed to delivering something truly unique to the sporting world. My investment shows belief in that commitment.”