MondoGoal Partners With FC Barcelona For Pay Fantasy Sports Games
The Sports Techie community blog spoke by phone this week to Shergul Arshad in Boston, the CEO and founder of Mondogoal, in a Q&A about their fast expanding global fantasy sports platform, marketing tool and business model that just partnered with FC Barcelona as their first La Liga user and promoter for the Isle of Man headquartered sports technology company. This novel sports tech platform is similar to the NFL formats FanDuel and DraftKings pioneered here in the U.S. and is currently used by English Premier League and Italian Series A clubs in Europe via customized, club-branded versions tailored to each team’s loyal fan base around the world. Barca has the largest fandom of all teams in any sport by far; you could add all the social media followers of every NFL teams together and still not total the reach of the clubs 80 million Facebook fans. Be sure to pick up superstar Messi no matter what the salary cap hit.
Mondogoal MatchDay Fantasy Soccer
Mondogoal is licensed to operate globally, making it the only daily fantasy sports site playable for cash play in various major global markets. Mondogoal launched last year for players in the United States, Canada and United Kingdom, Ireland and Brazil, to have the legal opportunity to play for major cash prizes.
Login in or create an account and draft a team, most often using an established salary cap of $100 million. Earn points for each goal, assist, tackles won or lost, shots on goal, passes completed, shutouts and more common stats your players hopefully performs every home and away game. Build your own online soccer squad every match day, manage it exactly as you like just like the team manager, front office executives and owners do, then reap the financial rewards paid out by Mondogoal, it’s that easy.
Match day fantasy football is the newest gaming craze where you pick a specific formation and fill your rosters from the world’s top players and leagues. Next you challenge friends in a head-to-head format play or play against opponents in multi-team tournaments versus others fans who you do not know. Finally, deposit entry fee money and if you win, get paid your winnings in cash while earning props as the fantasy soccer guru.
The FC Barcelona version of Mondogoal, FCB Daily Best XI, is now live at www.mondogoal.com/fcbarcelona.
“Adding FC Barcelona to our stable of team partners is exciting for many reasons. Barça is football, from Cruyff and Maradona on through Ronaldinho, Thierry Henry and of course Messi, Neymar, Xavi and Iniesta,” said Arshad. “More importantly, FC Barcelona isn’t just football. FCB is the largest, most engaged club in the world on social media, with over 80 million Facebook followers, and we know that following will be key to the success of our partnership. Their fans are passionate and involved in all things Barca, and this is a new, fun and innovative way for them to follow and participate with their friends and supporters around the world, in real time.”
Statistics and data analytics are updated live by Perform’s Opta Sports allowing casual and rapid fans alike the same chance to win fantasy soccer cash, while complimenting live game action with a unique second-screen experience if you are inside a stadium, or watching matches on TV or with mobile digital devices while on the go. This online challenge proves each user’s soccer team management skills allowing the cream to rise to the top for the big payday.
Mondogoal operates contests daily or by matchday basis for La Liga, Premier League, Serie A, Bundesliga, Major League Soccer, Ligue 1, the FA Cup, European Championship Qualifiers and the esteemed Champions League and Europa League.
Company investors have backgrounds at Google, eBay, Morgan Stanley, Bingham Dana & Gould, and JBoss while equity advisors have high-profile leadership roles in the eGaming industry in addition to key positions involving business and digital operations at several elite soccer clubs. For more detail go to Mondogoal.
Why is Mondogoal legal?
If you’re looking for specific legalize to read, in 2006 the US Federal Government passed a law called the Unlawful Internet gaming Enforcement Act. The act included a carve out that clarified the legality of fantasy sports. Specifically, it exempted:
“participation in any fantasy or simulation sports game or educational game or contest in which (if the game or contest involves a team or team) no fantasy or simulation team is based on the current membership of an actual team that is a member of an amateur of professional sports organization and meet the following conditions:
All prizes and awards to winning participants are established and made known to the participants in advance of the game or contest and their value is not determined by the number of participants or the amount of any fees paid by participants.
All winning outcomes reflect the relative knowledge and skill of the participants and are determined predominately by accumulated statistical results of the performance of individuals (athletes in the case of sports) in multiple real-world sporting or other events.
No winning outcome is based:
- On the score, point spread, or any performance or performances of any single real world team or any combination of such teams; or
- Solely on any single performance of an individual athlete in any single real-world sporting or other event.”
To start our Q&A, how did this startup all begin. Arshad shared, “While in Las Vegas at a sports book for NBA games, the Warriors and Rockets were a minus 8.5, and I thought how boring and who cares other than Stephen Curry and James Harden having big games so I placed a $20 bet on a phone app.” He said an engineer at Mondogoal has a quote that came to mind, “Fantasy sports is to betting as MMA is to boxing,” which is an analogy I understand well having been around the space for almost thirty years. In other words, playing fantasy sports is that much more involved, fun and popular than placing regular bets, as UFC and other MMA leagues are compared to the fading sport of boxing.
He explained further how working for AS Roma for 3 years uncovering revenue, platforms and fan engagement opportunities gave him insight as to where fantasy sports was headed. He said, “A million dollar pay out, there is no shortage of opportunity, it’s a land grab, education is the biggest barrier. FanDuel started daily fantasy for cash so less fan education is necessary, we can begin with customer acquisition tactics while beginning with a European license approach where each country has their own gaming laws. Isle of Man and UK gaming licenses was procured. All other European markets in France, Itay and Germany are being explored via partnerships. In Asia we will use this same direct approach, partnering with established licensors in China, Japan and Korea, Malaysia and Singapore. The Southeast Asian soccer propensity and esports background makes this easier than in South America.”
My second question pertained to Ramsey, Isle of Man; I asked him whether establishing Mondogoal overseas there was the equivalent of incorporating in the state of Delaware here in the U.S. What I learned from his response is that the Isle of Man is considered an egaming capital of the world, it has infrastructure and servers, banking and legal services for these types of businesses and offer friendly taxes, many online poker companies are set up there.
The only European country I have traveled to and visited is Spain so I have followed the politics there and wanted to know if the other languages are being developed, in particular Catalan, the local dialect in the Barcelona region. Arshad answered that languages are catered towards fans in US and UK English speaking, while Spanish speakers and native Barcelonans will have a pay version in Spain sometime soon.
I was intrigued to know how they decided on using formations like the 4-4-2, 4-3-3, 3-5-2 and others. Arshad said, “They looked at the EPL, Yahoo game and the Italian La Gazzetta dello Sport fantasy soccer, most were season long. FanDuel, CBS Sportsline, ESPN and Yahoo scoring formats were not revolutionary, they decided to build a scoring format and algorithms with formation choices. I asked him about why no substitutes. Arshad and his team debated this too and once they scale, the plan is to offer both games, one with a bench and subs and another without.”
I asked whether other sports on the horizon. Arshad responded, “Not for a while. We want to focus on the world’s biggest sport and perhaps keep adding formats and options such as the MLS.”
Since Arshad has already sold two businesses, I queried him about an exit strategy for Mondogoal. Arshad believes, “Exit strategy, one has to prepare for any scenario, I am having fun and a lifelong soccer fan, working with best friends including one who has been 20 years in law, and flying to London to attend games or two is a lifestyle difficult to give up. Our plan is to grow big and one day be a public company, with a contingency. Business is fun, every day is something new. Incorporating in the UK and coming to USA, a contingency with corner stone marketing like online poker and gaming companies such as PokerStars, Paddy Power, William Hill, bwin, Coral, or another casino and poker games business.”
After looking over Arshad’s LinkedIn profile, I asked about the University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business MBA he earned and how that diploma helped his career. The Harvard undergrad degree and Michigan 2-year MBA is deeply ingrained in Mondogoal he says. Investors are former classmates, the former Head of Sports at Morgan Stanley for example. His background with advertising and ad agencies gave him the vision to want to break into online business at an executive level, something Michigan helped him do at Amazon and eBay. His first startup, Sports Loyalty Systems, was sold, and then his second startup, StyleFeeder, was acquired by Time Warner. His next and last job was the Head of Digital at AS Roma. Without earning a MBA, he believes his online and consumer Internet executive level start would not have happened.
Finally, I explained that the sports technology Industry might be as large as a $250 billion market and I gave him credit for his pioneering and entrepreneur spirit. He felt that one key was networking, the cliché, it’s not what you know but who you know, resonated with Arshad. His work background bouncing around small and large companies allowed him to meet lots of people, including several that fit right into Mondogoal.
Mondogoal, incorporated in the Isle of Man with business operations in Boston, Massachusetts USA, has a compelling and unique fantasy sports engagement system to enable fans to have many ways for their players to earn points. With data provided by the world’s leading analytics company, Opta Sports, statistics are updated live, so fans can enjoy a true second screen experience as they watch their favorite matches on TV or at the stadium. While many sites can offer fantasy sports or even fantasy soccer, no one brings the excitement of real-time scoring, multi-league competition and large cash competitions to the global soccer audience the way Mondogoal does.
Sports Techie, The meaning of Mondogoal is two-fold. Mondo means “world” in Italian and goal is of course universal. They were looking for a global soccer name and logo so the shield background design and ball are the color gold, the international color of money, as opposed to green often used here in the states.
Closing a team partner such as Barca is a big deal for any established or up and coming business. FC Barcelona has so much money in reserve they could actually bring this operation in house but that day is in the future as the present is all about working together with Mondogoal to educate the fans while offering fun, easy and lucrative fantasy soccer to their fans worldwide.
The fantasy sports space is forever changed thanks to this cutting edge partnership within the world’s most popular sport.
See y’all later in Seattle and here in Atlanta.
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