FFtF: CityLegends gets young people out on the streets with gamification

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FFtF: CityLegends gets young people out on the streets with gamification

CityLegends is the app that connects young urban athletes and artists both offline and online. The entrepreneurs behind CityLegends collect valuable insights with the app, supported by data, with which they advise municipalities, governments, and brands on how to reach this target group. It is clear that Jimmy’s business is ‘fit’. But what about the future? How Fit For the Future is CityLegends?

What was that again? You are Fit for the Future if you are hungry for new technologies and see change as an opportunity. You think strategically about tomorrow and set out the lines. You’re on top of every trend and agile without squeaking. You can read more about it in Vodafone’s Fit For the Future survey.

In 2020, founder Jimmy Hermans (29) launched the CityLegends app into the world together with his two partners. The app now has 25,000 dedicated users, and that number is growing significantly. Not so crazy; the number of young people taking part in outdoor sports is increasing enormously. No less than thirty percent of Dutch young people skate, do freerunning, breakdance, or skateboard.

You got in at a perfect time?

“Yes, it is going hard. You see that young people have an increasing need for freedom and independence, and urban sports and culture embody that. You can exercise whenever, wherever, and with whomever you want. It is a community, just like other sports are, only this group is organized differently than traditional sports clubs and therefore also quite elusive.”

How did the idea come about?

“I’ve been skateboarding all my life, and I understand how street culture works. In addition, I have always been involved with tech and innovation, preferably in combination with social themes. When I started working as a freelancer at InnoBeweegLab two years ago, the ball started rolling. The idea of ​​developing an urban sports app was already on the drawing board. There was even a subsidy for it. Serious game studio Hulan joined, and within the urban sports community, there was an immediate enthusiastic response to the concept. Then we decided to build a business model around it.”

How does the app work, and what can you do with it?

“CityLegends is based on two principles: discover and challenge. With the app, urban athletes can discover new spots, and connect with like-minded people, but also attend training sessions and events. In addition, users are challenged to battle with each other and upload videos. The community acts as a kind of jury; they can rank each other and decide who moves on to the next level.”

Should we see CityLegends as a game?

“It goes beyond that. We integrate physical sports with gamification. Elements that you see in e-sports, such as ranking systems and tagging, are reflected in our platform. Users can tag locations, people, battles, or events in their videos. So you can do a lot more with your video ‘trick clip’ than on Instagram or TikTok.”

And what about those municipalities?

“When we started, we were in the media a number of times, and municipalities and governments knew where to find us in no time. Why? The urban sports culture is growing, and they know it. Only there was a great lack of information about this group of athletes. With our app, we can unlock data that is very relevant for parties such as municipalities.”

What kind of information are you talking about, and what do you do with it?

“Our users review spots – places in public space where they practice their sport. This is based on, for example, safety, quality, and maintenance. It can be all kinds of spots; from bridge to half pipe, or wall where you can grind perfectly with your skates. The community maps everything. Even when the street lighting is useless for a breakdance session or when loitering youths make sports impossible. We map this information, and on that basis, we prepare advisory reports. In this way, we map and strengthen the voice of the community. We empower the urban communities and ensure a fairer playing field.”


Next steps?

“Where we now mainly work with governments, we are also working on binding brands to us. Think of brands that participate at campaign levels, such as a Vans challenge or Ollo tournament. The next stage in our technology is a play-to-earn model. Active users can earn tokens with which they can buy digital objects, unlock NFTs and participate in exclusive events.”

How Fit For the Future is CityLegends?

“Very. With 10 people, we are working hard on the next phase and broader internationalization. We are already active in Barcelona, ​​London, New York, and Boston, but we can do more. By the end of this year, we want to reach 50 thousand users and reach one million users in one year. Where will we be in 5 years? Then CityLegends is the largest platform for urban sports and culture worldwide. Then we will have brought together millions of athletes and let their voices be heard so that even the smallest village can get young people moving.”