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Sports fanatics can root together while on the road

September 28, 2008|Josh Noel | Chicago Tribune

Say you're on a business trip in Atlanta and your White Sox are playing a key late-season game.

Or you are visiting your in-laws in Seattle and your beloved Ohio State men's basketball team is battling rival Michigan.

The odds of finding those games on TV are nil, but a new Web site ups the odds that you can find such games and a group of people who have the same rooting interests as you, no matter where you are.

SportsFanLive.com, which launched last month, is designed to allow fans of virtually any team to find a bar or restaurant where the games they care about are being watched.

The Web site is essentially a sports twist on social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace, allowing fans of the same team in the same city to unite.

David Katz, a 36-year-old Internet veteran formerly with CBS and Yahoo!, was struck with the idea when the Baltimore native struggled to find a place in Los Angeles to watch his Baltimore Ravens.

"Technology allows you to solve that problem," he said.

Katz declined to say how many people have registered with www.sportsfanlive.com but added that "for one month in business, it's been exceptionally well received."

The site is a bit thin on destinations -- I searched for bars showing Louisiana State University football games in Chicago and came up empty (though there are several in the Chicago metropolitan area).

But, Katz said, kinks will be ironed out as people join the site (which is free) and start sharing information and forging social networks.

In the meantime, at least Ravens fans in Los Angeles are covered.

"It's been a lot more fun to commiserate a loss with a bunch of Ravens than having Steelers fans in your face," Katz said.

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