Mondogoal is one of the largest DFS operators in the world and has partnerships with some of the football greatest clubs from Real Madrid, to Barcelona, Chelsea and Roma.
It recently established deals with SISAL and Lottomatica in Italy, and so the discussion about how DFS operators and bookmakers can complement rather than challenge one another has come to the fore.
We spoke to CEO Shergul Arshad about this and all Mondogoal has going on and coming up ahead of the new domestic season.
Shergul Arshad will be speaking on the topic of ‘How DFS operators can work with bookmakers’ at the two day Betting on Sports Conference (#BIGnBOS) in London this September 15th to 16th at the Grange Tower Bridge.
SBC: Thanks for catching up Shergul. So it’s been all systems go at Mondogoal these past few months, can you take us through an overview of what’s been going on?
Shergul: We’ve been rather busy. Everything has its timing as far as industry cycles go, and the next six months will be the time for daily fantasy sports and sports betting sites teaming up. We’re leading the way with the deals with SISAL and Lottomatica in Italy, and both of these have seen good responses to their initial competitions based on Euro 2016.
The close season ended well; we launched the Mondogoal app, we held numerous big money competitions and there was our Football Manager 2017 competition too thanks to our partnership with Sports Interactive.
Now is the only quiet month in the entirety of the year of course, so we’re gearing up for the new season and will have some more announcements in the near future!
SBC: The deal with SISAL and Lottomatica was something of a landmark. Can you tell us more about how this came about and how much potential, and in what ways, can DFS operators and bookmakers work side by side to help one another?
Shergul: There was a lot of validation which stemmed from our club deals and media deals such as the one with Yahoo. Establishing deals with sports betting operators has been on the agenda at Mondogoal for some time however, and last summer we were in the advanced stages of negotiations of one of the largest UK bookmakers.
Then the turmoil with the legality of DFS in the States kicked in and due to this and some other factors bookies took a step back to ‘wait and see’. We had a deal in Italy with Intralot previously, but Mondogoal was the brand so it was the opposite construct of what we have in place with SISAL and Lottomatica now.
This year’s ICE in London is where the dialogue with SISAL and Lottomatica began. We’ve had a marketing relationship with Ikepono, who themselves have business relationships throughout Italy. This was the introduction point, and it emerged that both SISAL and Lottomatica both wanted to run the same fantasy product under a different brand. This was our first foray into a white label DFS product. They’d been considering other operators but Mondogoal won the contract.
SISAL and Lottomatica now operate two DFS products, SISAL’s is FantaMister and Lottomatica’s is MasterGoal, under different branding but the Mondogoal product is what’s underneath both.
They went live at the beginning of the European Championships, and this was successful but we’re looking ahead to the new domestic seasons to get it alive and kicking. We’re now looking to do more of these deals throughout Europe.
If you’re a sports betting operator you’re always faced with the build, buy or partner decision and right now it seemingly makes sense to partner.
SBC: Is the future of DFS all about personalisation for the individual player? The increasing number of white label club versions from Real Madrid to Villa seems to suggest so?
Shergul: We now have nine club partnerships in place. I think there are two ways that DFS emerges. First there’s the major players of Yahoo, FanDuel and DraftKings and for these massive amounts of capital is required. The best way to become a billion dollar company after all is to start with $100m.
So one strategy is to keep raising large amounts of money, but the US case study is a great example of the dangers of this. The marketing teams at these operators spent ludicrous sums on television advertising, and many of these ads went out in states which have now banned real money DFS. So these were costly, high risk marketing strategies which is not something we wish to engage in.
We’ve gone down the route of focusing on club partnerships as this means strong brand associations, and a high level of credibility too. They don’t necessarily drive high volume however, as a link to Mondogoal on the official club site may not target the typical potential DFS player. These types are generally likelier to go to alternative sources such as an unofficial fan blog for their news, transfer gossip and to keep up to date with what the latest is with Chelsea, Real Madrid or whoever.
The sports betting sites meanwhile, these drive volume. The reason is they’ve done the hard part. They’ve spent money to acquire an established, regulated pool of customers who have registered their details, are interested in sports and wagering and are perhaps looking for something new. A skill game such as the Mondogoal product where they have better odds of winning can fit in perfectly.
This is why we’re adamant that working side by side with sports betting operators is the best possible model for continued expansion. We’re leading the way when it comes to this, Italy is the current testing ground but we have discussions ongoing to launch in the UK market.
We can launch quickly, we’re proven and I’ll be open to discussions at BOS 2016 with any interested parties.
SBC: Will there be any more media deals in the vein of the partnership with Sports Interactive?
Shergul: Sports Interactive is similar to our other club and media deals. Football Manager is one of the most well regarded sports gaming franchises in the world, and the players are typically stats and research obsessed; this is fitting for a successful daily fantasy player.
The winner of our Be In Football Manager 2017 Summer Showdown competition was Ed Brown. He picked the impressive line up of Rui Patricio, Hector, Soares, Sagna, Pogba, Matuidi, Sanches, King, Griezmann, Nani and Muller.
We’re actually looking to kick off two major media deals ahead of the new domestic season in August. These will be revenue share deals and I’ll be able to tell you more about them soon.
SBC: Are you looking forward to Betting on Sports and what’ll you be discussing there?
Shergul: I’m very excited for BOS. I participated in a workshop after ICE with a series of operators and DFS was a buzzword starting to be thrown around. Whilst the larger US sites focused on the US and their own marketing, we’ve emerged as the only robust, scalable, secure and proven platform that integrates into gaming sites and I’m really looking forward to demonstrating the platform and discussing new partnerships.
Our initial focus may be football, but we are open to new fantasy sports being run off our platform as well. Anyone who is interested in meeting up at BOS can ping me on Twitter, I’m @shergul. Thanks and see you in September!
Tickets are available now for BOS 2016