Five Star Fans Lets College Sports Fans Support Prospective Players in a New Way

Five Star Fans Co-Founder and CEO Tina Provost—alongside Co-Founder and Chief Operations Officer Jennifer Barr Dean—set out to create a new kind of college sports experience. A space for fans to crowdsource support for athletes to come to a specific school and reward those athletes upon joining a program. Five Star Fans was born of this idea and launched last July.

Now, it’s changing the way fans engage with college athletics prospects. I touched base with Provost to dig deep into the Fine Star Fans experience.

How Five Star Fans Works

Five Star Fans is founded on a lifelong love for college sports. Tina Provost was a Division I athlete cheering for Ohio State. The product is built on that passion, allowing fans to express their fandom in a new way.

“We built this product for college sports fans,” Provost said. “We created a space where fans can crowdsource athletes to come to a particular university.”

The way it works is delightfully simple. Fans  sign up and purchase “likes.” Likes cost one dollar each. Fans can then send those likes to an athlete and attach the likes to a particular school.

“For example, you might send three likes to an athlete with offers from Michigan, Alabama, and Ohio State. You put your likes in the Michigan bucket, and if the athlete signs with Michigan, the player will receive the value of those likes.

What happens to the likes attached to the other schools? Provost has good news:

“We reinvest a portion of likes in those buckets back into that institution. Say an athlete didn’t choose to go to Iowa, but fans drummed up $50,000 worth of likes for the school. We partner with the school or its collective and say ‘hey, your fans generated this, and we want to renivset some of it into your program.'”

It’s a win-win-win structure. A win for the athletes, a win for the schools, and a win for the fans. Provost said:

“From a fan perspective, unless they’re a large donor or booster, they haven’t always had a great way to come together as a community and impact athletes and their favorite school. Five Star Fans gives them a way to stay engaged.”

Five Star Fans aims to make that engagement as seamless as possible. Provost said the sign-up process takes 45 seconds to a minute. I corroborated this with a sign-up of my own and found her estimate to be high.

Creating an account with existing Google credentials took 10 seconds. I then selected my favorite college team and checked a few boxes to acknowledge the terms and conditions, and I was good to go.

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Working With Athletes

Part of the Five Star Fans ethos is a sense of community. This involves building relationships with athletes and other stakeholders in college sports.

“We work directly with some athletes,” Provost said. “It’s really important for us to understand what the athletes and their parents care about.”

The parents are involved in many cases because the athletes are minors. Provost and the rest of Five Star Fans want to engage everyone involved in the ecosystem, from players to parents to coaches.

Initially, this involved many meetings with players to explain what the program would do for them and how it works. Provost said these meetings yielded excellent feedback that improved the product.

Now, more than 1,000 athletes are on the product. If they ever need help or have questions, Five Star Fans is there to support them. Five Star Fans automatically creates profiles for the top 250 football players and the top 100 men’s and women’s basketball players using AI to scrape public data.

“Those athletes will then claim their profile and verify who they are,” Provost said. “It’s a really easy process. And if you’re number 251 and weren’t on our list, you can create your own profile as an athlete.”

Getting College Fans on Board With the Ohio State Spring Game

During the weekend, Five Star Fans partnered with Ohio State to spread awareness of the program. For 48 hours beginning Friday morning, Five Star Fans gave OSU diehards five bonus likes to send to current players around the spring game. Buying and sending likes is still available up until 10:00 a.m. ET on Sunday, April 12.

The event involved collaboration with The Foundation, the top Ohio State NIL Collective. Here are a few of the in-app screenshots for the product (click to enlarge):

Mobile view of the Five Star Fans app - Player description and send likes option Five Star Fans mobile view of the app - Likes Wallet

Rewarding Loyal Fans

The Five Star Fans roadmap includes features that will enhance the fan experience. Eventually, Provost envisions news and media surrounding specific players. She also mentioned progression systems (rewards, badges, etc.) and, eventually, physical rewards or discounts at local university stores.

A Finger on the Pulse

Five Star Fans is not sports betting, and the company has no plans to dabble in the space. But according to Provost, it’s crucial to keep current with the latest happenings.

“You know, people are very emotional and passionate about sports. They might express that passion  through betting or through now with Five Star Fans in the NIL space. We share some of the same audiences. But there’s still a lot of regulation.  We stay close to the space because we have to understand it. And we have to understand how those users think and behave.”

Along those lines, Five Star Fans has deliberately avoided implementing any player interaction options thus far.

“We did that on purpose,” said Provost. “These athletes are in high school, and fans can be passionate in good ways or not-so-good ways. We need to make sure that any interaction we offer is airtight. We can’t have fans going online and harassing a 17-year-old player. We won’t put up with that.

“So when we build out those types of tools, we plan to use language learning and AI to help us understand how we can control and filter communication in a safe way.”

It’s a savvy approach, especially considering rampant concerns regarding player harassment and college player prop bets.

At the end of the day, Provost wants Five Star Fans to be about community.

“We take a bold stance in supporting the entire system of college athletics,” she said. “There are a ton of stakeholders: coaches, administration, players, parents, and fans. They all make up this great ecosystem.

“We want to support those stakeholders as a unit. We’re in it together. We want people to feel part of a community that aims to unify and support each other.”


About the Author
Cole Rush

Cole Rush

Writer and Contributor
Cole Rush is an industry writer and contributor at Gaming Today. He is a Chicago-based writer in the gambling and media spaces. His work has been showcased in various gaming industry magazines and online columns. Rush also covers pop culture and books for Reactor Mag (formerly and, a sci-fi and fantasy book review site. He has more than eight years of experience writing about gambling and entertainment.

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