In Social Sports, It’s About Camaraderie, Not Competition

  • 2017-07-20
  • The New York Times

On a makeshift kickball field on the National Mall, Jacquelyn Keenan cheered as one of her teammates kicked a rubber ball into the air and sprinted for first base.

She joined this team three years ago, right after moving to Washington. Ms. Keenan, 26, a financial analyst, enjoyed playing sports in college. “It’s how I met a lot of my friends in college,” she said, “so I thought I would try it here.”

Ms. Keenan joined a coed kickball league run by DC Fray and became a participant in the growing business of social sports. DC Fray — the local offshoot of United Fray — is one of dozens of for-profit social sports businesses started across the country over the past decade or so.

These companies organize teams for a wide range of sports. Most of the leagues are coed. Fun, not competition, is the priority, and a trip to a bar afterward is just about mandatory.