Shergul Arshad, founder and CEO of Mondogoal, a Fantasy Football company based on the Isle of Man, talks about the daily game format, outlook for the sector and shares his predictions for this year’s EPL season.
Shergul was Head of Digital at one of Europe’s top football clubs, AS Roma, before founding Mondogoal. He is also a former eBay, Amazon and Time Warner executive.
Mondogoal is an Isle of Man incorporated Fantasy Football platform which offers players a daily format, and a chance to win real cash. I came up with the idea for Mondogoal while I was at AS Roma and saw the incredible rise of daily fantasy sports in the United States with the growth of companies such as FanDuel and DraftKings. I also saw licensing models with clubs as a successful way to grow new game usage and distribution and revenue streams to clubs. In addition, I saw a gap in the UK fantasy sports market.
Although Fantasy Football had been emerging in the UK, there was no global platform addressing the daily format (i.e. contests that last one day instead of players being stuck with one team for an entire season). As such, I was keen on bringing the daily format to football (or soccer as we call it in the US), and put together a founding team that included COO/CFO Daniel Feldman and CTO Eric Savage, and soon thereafter, head of engineering Ryan Jones. Given that FanDuel grew to over $450million in gamed amount since 2011, we are quite optimistic for this game format.
What is Mondogoal’s game format?
Mondogoal gameplay has many similarities to the English Premier League Fantasy Football and Yahoo Fantasy Football compressed across a one-day or one weekend/match day format. Once users have assembled teams of 11 and chosen their formation they can then choose to enter the team for a free roll (free play), or in the UK, Isle of Man, Canada or the United States, users above the age of 18 can play in poker style tournaments or Head to Head for cash. This format enables a user to win daily prize money based on their skill in assembling the right top 11!
Why did we choose the Isle of Man?
We chose to base ourselves in the Isle of Man because of it’s a premier location for regulated online gaming. This includes excellent data hosting facilities, “up time”, connectivity, accounting and banking services and favourable tax law.
Data protection and security for users are our top priority, and the Isle of Man has a framework for a very high standard in player protection (though thankfully fraud is almost impossible as the events in our game are all real life events that are visible to everyone).
Peter Greenhill, CEO of the Isle of Man Government’s eGaming division, said: “Fantasy Football is an exciting sector and has great potential in Europe with a rising number of fantasy sports enthusiasts. The Isle of Man is thrilled to be a part of this booming industry, offering the infrastructure, regulatory framework and access to government to support businesses such as Mondogoal.”
What’s next for the Fantasy Football industry?
As Peter says, there is an upward swing in the growth of the Fantasy Football sector around the globe. However, the industry faces challenges as well. More and more game formats are emerging, and competition in the sector is increasing. The key challenge for Fantasy Football companies lies in creating awareness and new formats that meet consumer demand and offer compelling prizes and pot structures to lure bigger game players. The future of Fantasy Football holds more features, innovation and information. Imagine television shows on fantasy football lineup choices and predictions. Features like on site and on mobile, more injury and fitness news, stats, video and images will become available. The US fantasy sports sites offer a glimpse into the future of the sector.
What is the impact of the big football competitions?
During the World Cup Beta period, we ran daily contests and saw our active players playing an average of 25 times during the tournament – tremendous engagement for a Beta. Not surprisingly, Leo Messi remains popular in all formats, but the player one couldn’t live without at our set Mondogoal pricing was Thomas Muller of Germany.
Obviously, the EPL is the most popular league and as such we have focused our efforts on landing the top two clubs in last year’s EPL standings as partners, Manchester City and Liverpool. The value of those endorsements are that fans of those clubs can enter a branded version of the site and feel like they are playing Manchester City Daily Fantasy Football/ Liverpool Daily Fantasy Football We are working on a few new partnerships and encourage clubs to contact us if interested.
Which team could take home the trophy in this EPL season?
This should be an exciting year. I would love to see a two way tie with Manchester City and Liverpool at the top! And our other team partner, AS Roma, as winners of the Champions League and Serie A. Would that be too much to ask? I see the usual six teams all equipped to take the first six spots. My personal favorite players include Sterling, Gerrard, Jovetic, Yaya Toure, Rooney, Drogba, Oscar and Diego Costa.
Shergul Arshad, Founder and CEO of Mondogoal