BY KURT SCHLOSSER on September 21, 2017
Marshawn Lynch may no longer be a Seahawk, but that’s not stopping a Seattle-area wireless carrier from teaming with the NFL star for a new phone service called Beast Mobile.
A hero in Seattle sports history thanks to his six years as a running back for the Seahawks, the partnership is just the latest business venture built around Lynch’s Beast Mode persona.
The idea comes from mobile industry veteran Leigh Hunt, founder and CEO of Kirkland, Wash.-based FreeMo, whose advertising-supported mobile app is aimed at helping customers earn credits to drive down their monthly cell phone bills.
Beast Mobile, which will launch on Sprint’s network, promises customers a no-contract smartphone service with unlimited talk and text and 1GB of data for $24 per month. In order to save money and get more data, users must engage with personalized offers, discounts and suggestions from partners via the accompanying Beast Mobile app.
“We’re giving people the opportunity to get free cellphone service every month by engaging in targeted advertising from their device,” Hunt said. “If someone doesn’t care to engage in advertising that month, they can pay $24 — which still undercuts most pre-paid plans and is significantly lower than big carrier, post-paid plans. The idea is to reward subscribers for doing things they’re already doing on their phone — downloading apps, shopping online, watching videos, etc.”
The activities that users engage in have credit values listed next to them. Once a subscriber engages with an offer or completes an activity, credits are reflected in the account section of the accompanying Beast Mobile App.
Subscribers can then apply their credits to their $24 cellphone bill or redeem them for more data. FreeMo powers the service and manages the content platform.
Screen shots from the Beast Mobile app show how subscribers can earn credits to lower their bill or earn more data. (Beast Mobile Image)
Hunt, who previously founded mobile-related startups like AppsJack and Sionic Media, said that his experience working with mobile virtual network operators inspired him to figure out how to get advertisers to pay for cell phone service — “since they are already making money off our data, preferences, and mobile usage.”
And while 1GB may seem low for today’s data-hungry mobile customers, Hunt said it’s designed to give customers the best possible price.
Marshawn Lynch. (Beast Mobile Photo)
“Our service connects devices automatically to over 4 million hotspots in the U.S., thereby reducing subscribers’ need for data,” Hunt said, pointing out that the average smartphone user uses 1.8GB per month.
As for Lynch, who now runs over people for his hometown Oakland Raiders, he’s a part owner in Beast Mobile and involved in various aspects of the business. And among other things aside from football, he owns Beast Mode apparel and gear shops in Oakland and Seattle; he still promotes the Skittles candy that he threw all over the place at CenturyLink Field; and even Amazon came calling last year to have him drive the Treasure Truck and hand out branded Echo devices.
“I’m a huge Seahawks fan and thought Marshawn Lynch’s demonstrated willingness to go against the grain, fun personality and extensive community involvement made him the perfect partner and face behind the service,” Hunt said.