All amateur athletes share a common dream to play like professional players. Their reality, however, lacks infrastructure to pursue such dreams. In order to support these amateur athletes, Kang Hyun-wook came up with Bepro, an online service that enables amateur athletes, to keep track of their records, positions, and game scores just as the professional athletes would do.
Kang and other students of the computer programming club in Seoul National University (SNU) established the organization.
“After I returned from my military service, I joined the school’s soccer club and thought that it would be nice to have a program to keep in track of my own records like professional players,” Kang said. Bepro first started their service within SNU’s sports leagues.
“The school had a very well organized sport league of varied kinds with over a thousand people. Many people enjoyed our service and asked us to expand it to leagues outside the school boundary which brought us to what is now Bepro,” he added.
Bepro is currently providing an accurate and systematic recording system without having to go through cumbersome recording procedures by the players themselves. Users can record their performances on the spot through a smart phone application. Through recorded information, Bepro suggests which players to select for the game and compose their positions as well. After the game, players can monitor and share their performances through images and video clips for feedbacks. It also provides a live broadcasting service just as professional leagues’ broadcasting is done.
In fact, amateur league management solution was actually an idea that any sports fan could have once thought of.
“However, players are not interested in data organized in excel files,” Kang said. “Sport is one of the most adequate fields to adopt gamification, a way of introducing gaming factors in other fields. We designed our recording service in a form of online game services so that players can have the fun in managing their scores online.”
Because Kang was jumping into a new form of service, Bepro had to go through some difficulties in its starting stage.
“Unfamiliarity was the biggest obstacle we had to overcome,” Kang said. “We went through failures while gathering potential users and there was a brief time when our contract to start Bepro was cancelled.”
Still, Kang recalls these difficulties as an experience that stimulated them to come up with better services. Besides their online services with over 8,000 users, Bepro holds offline services such as the university Champions Leagues.
“During my university years, I hoped that universities would more actively interchange with one another, like Yonsei and Korea University. This encouraged me to come up with a connection network within universities.” With 16 universities that are chosen based on their performances, the event is held just like the actual Champions League in Europe. Bepro Champions League is sponsored by renowned sports brands and broadcasted at Afreeca TV. Also, Park Won-soon, the mayor of Seoul, participated in the awards ceremony of the final round. With its increasing reputation, Bepro is planning to have four more teams this year.
As Bepro is spearheading a new trend in amateur athletes, Kang hopes that more people could pursue their hobbies more systematically.
“We know how enthusiastic sports fans hope to play like professional players,” Kang said. “Bepro will continuously make efforts to develop and expand our service to a wider range of users.”