SBC News caught up with Markus Jennemyr, CEO and Co-Founder at FanLeague, to discuss the launch of a new football-based social prediction app for the UK market, the intake of players in the first few weeks, and the process of finding ambassadors to promote the product.
SBC: Responsible gambling is a hot topic in the sports betting industry at the moment; can you explain the logic in the weekly deposit cap of £125 for FanLeague?
MJ: FanLeague is not about betting a lot of money, it is a social skill based game to enhance your football experience. It’s a fun weekly game for users to put their opinions on the line against their mates, Sven-Goran Eriksson and our ambassadors, seeing how many results they can correctly get right out of the 13 in total.
For these reasons, we have a cap in order to 1) significantly reduce the possibility of excessive gambling and self-exclusion 2) as you have a higher probability of winning the more you spend, we have evened the playing field somewhat by having a cap.
SBC: You recently announced that you will donate 10% of your turnover to grass roots football; why was it important for FanLeague to support this initiative?
MJ: Because it is the right thing to do. Football can be such a powerful positive influence on young kids and by supporting the next generation of young footballers we hope it will lead to something good. It feels even better when our players can influence which clubs the money will go to by selecting their favourite youth football club in our app. We have high ambitions for our charity effort in the future.
SBC: Regardless of your target market, and your decision to waive TV advertising in favour of ‘influencers’, do you think that social media is now the most important source of marketing?
MJ: We think that people are getting very savvy when it comes to advertising, in particular the millennial generation, and have a filter on disregarding much of the advertising they are exposed to. That goes for social media as well by the way if you are not smart about it. However, when they see their trusted ‘hero’ they follow on social media genuinely integrating a product or a service into their posts, it has a much more powerful reach and effect.
It also helps that FanLeague is an ‘easy’ product to integrate if you are focused on football fans as it is a fun, social and easy way to engage an audience and compete against each other on who is the best pundit. We think it is a win-win for us and our ‘Fanbassadors’. In addition to that, we are seeing a massive migration of people from mainstream TV to social media and podcasts, quite often led by ordinary fans.
We are not a traditional sportsbook so have no immediate plans to compete in the TV advertising war of spends, so our single-minded strategy to live in the digital, influencer and social media space, where we believe our target market exists, is the most important marketing channels we are adopting.
SBC: How do you go about finding these ‘Fanbassadors’, and have you experienced any difficulties with the clubs through people like this unofficially representing their organisations?
MJ: We are working very closely with the Ball Street network on a host of activities including our Fanbassadors campaign and have leveraged their contacts and experience in finding us 10 suitable Fanbassadors.
We run an eight-week campaign to start with and are continuously evaluating their performance. At the end of the eight weeks, we will continue with some and replace others who have not performed. We are also interested in talking to up and coming influencers with a smaller following in the football space to discuss a co-operation.
SBC: You mentioned that the engagement and take-up from the Fanbassador subscribers has exceeded your expectations; can you disclose any of the data around this?
MJ: I think it is too early to discuss specifics but we have in total signed-up over 7,000 players in 2.5 weeks which was above our expectations at such an early stage. We notice a drastic difference towards the end of the week in the velocity of player sign-ups when our Fanbassadors start posting their integrations. The build up to the weekend English Premier League and Championship matches are vitally important for us to be in contact with our player base, thus our Fanbassadors release their weekly content in line with this.