Ever wished you had an autograph from your favorite athlete? One Seattle company is making it possible, taking baseball autographs high-tech.
The small startup company, Egraphs, is linking fans up with their favorite baseball players -- and getting autographs for them.
It’s the next-generation of autograph signing. Instead of waiting outside ballpark stadiums, or writing to athletes, this company puts you directly in touch with your favorite baseball player, and they send you a personalized digital autograph.
Just over a year ago, Egraphs CEO David Auld left Microsoft to launch his own tech company, envisioning improved communication between pro athletes and their fans.
“This was a new, more involved way for them to communicate and interact with their fans in a really safe, fun manner,” Auld said.
It’s a personalized digital autograph, direct from the player to a fan’s inbox.
The Egraphs website lists about 130 current and retired MLB players. When you buy an autograph, your personal note goes straight to a specially developed Egraph application on each player’s iPad. When they see the message, players write a personalized response and record an audio message.
Auld said the recordings allow the players to showcase their personalities, but on their own time.
“When you run into a player and they’re at dinner, they’re eating dinner with their family and they don’t want to be jerks, but they also don’t want to spend their entire dinner signing autographs.
“You’re able to catch celebrities at a time when they’re happy to be doing what they’re doing, so you really capture their personalities a lot more,” Auld said.
It also gives players a chance to personally connect with real fans, instead of signing bulk autographs that are often resold.
“They love to give things to their true fans, but they hate to be exploited by this autograph market world,” Auld said of the players.
“So we gave an opportunity to really connect straight to their fan base and know that these are real people who really love them and care about them.”
Some sports fans said getting an Egraph beats waiting around for your favorite player to leave the stadium.
Fan Aaron Grimes of Renton, Wash., said, “I think it’s excellent. It’s an excellent tool. To get any sort of sports personality on this application would be great.”
But others would rather hold out hope for that rare star sighting.
Vance Akres said he’d rather meet the player in person. “I think that’s a little better face-to-face … the interaction, face to face, person to person.”
The players have to sign up individually. A couple of the Seattle Mariners are on it. Egraphs is hoping to expand to include NBA and NFL players, even musicians and bands.
The prices for the autographs on a series of photos differ according to a player. Prince Fielder, which is sold out, was going for $75. The price for a less known player was $25.For more information, click here to go to the Egraphs website.