BallStreet Trading, Inc. developed a brand new off the shelf game to trade stocks while watching sports. Their peer-to-peer prediction market app allows fans real-time fan engagement in the form of win probability during live events with a decentralized exchange. Price of shares and virtual currency is driven by buyers and sellers in market numbers. By trading sports, they create security around a future, buy the Jets at $22, they play well and sell for $40. It’s not rocket science or is it? The second screen industry is working itself out and company co-Founder, Scott San Emeterio, believes BallStreet’s proprietary application running on iOS, Android and desktop, is the future. The Sports Techie community blog chatted with Scott after connecting via LinkedIn about creating an entertainment and engagement platform for fans while looking for investors. They look at themselves as more similar to ESPN than DraftKings or FanDuel. The team built a real-time tournament style sports stock market enabling players to trade their favorite sports events as they watch live. Soliciting investment capital is next as Scott says they need money to bring in people for additional marketing and further in-house development. By driving content via their game (app) BallStreet has created a true second screen enabling them to partner to live event beyond simple “gaming’.” If you can predict win probability, this SportsCenter meets CNBC is your game.
Entertaining User Experience
Your trading score (P&L) is everything, it essentially shows how you fared while trading against other traders in the market. This format is public win probability and crowd sourcing people for wins.
I asked if this game is for the hedge fund person and high-stakes investor or can the everyday fan win. The fact is, if you know your market and buy low and sell high, anyone can win.
I downloaded the free app, signed in as default user name HesitantCowRoot (lol), quickly changed it to THESportsTechie and immediately began trading in a free Game of Thrones (GoT) opportunity where you pick who is ultimately going to win the Iron Throne. Once I made a big trade for John Snow it was easy to see the new buy price on the right and sell price on the left updated in real-time. It did seem as soon as I made the transaction, all the player values dropped as no one else was active at the moment. How will stock prices change in week two, three or four during the final GoT season if the writers throw in the death of say Daenerys Targaryen, Sensa Stark or even Snow, having already survived 7 grueling seasons? The cream rises to the top therefore an odds underdog like Lord Tyrion Lannister could very well win the Iron Throne paying shareholders big.
The growth takeaways from users has been:
- Different in the best way possible
- They feel a part of the game
- They love the community feel of playing against other people.
- They love the strategy
- Very intuitive once you get on and play
The app is legal to play on all 50 states. Scott has already seen international players coming from the UK, across Europe and Australia.
If you still don’t get it do not fret. Say Seattle Seahawks QB, Russell Wilson, throws an untimely interception to begin the third quarter during a 2020 NFC road game next season here in Atlanta versus the Falcons on October 27 in Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Do you panic and sell your ten shares yesterday if possible, do you stay the course knowing the NFL’s highest paid player will be OK, or, do you buy the Max allowed knowing RW will win it in the end for the big payoff? Go Hawks!
The ongoing NBA Playoffs are another short term focus for San Emeterio and his ownership/management team to help generate more brand awareness and user adoption. This after a revealing run during the NCAA tournament produced social data that scales up to potentially a very large number of repeat players.
BallStreet was ready for The Masters 2019 won by Tiger Woods in historic fashion. Scott said traders were selling Francensco Molinari after hitting only one bogey through three rounds at Augusta National which at first take is strange because he was on fire and seemed in the zone ready to close it out. At this point, if you own 50 shares of Molinari, do you keep them, sell them or perhaps buy more? On Sunday, the Italian teed off on the 12th known as the Golden Bell hole with Tiger lurching two back and the ball sailed into Rae’s Creek. When I watched this live, I had a gut feeling he was going to choke even more, no offense, it could have been anyone on the PGA Tour really because Woods was zeroing in on winning his fifth Green Jacket and 15th major championship with the crowd juiced up ready to help him bring it home. I had a $4 DraftKings dfs play in action resulting in checking that app every few minutes to see the updated scores. The same thing happens with BallStreet.
March Madness Metrics
They ran an NCAA campaign during the men’s college basketball tournament and were astounded by the results. Scott says it only takes 50-100 players for the market to act in a rational way.
Scott said, “We had 1,300 new unique traders compete on our platform with each playing an average of 2 games across the NCAA tournament with each player opening the app for almost 40 mins each game.”
NCAA Finals (Single Game):
- 715 people enter the contest
- 616 Make 1+ Trade
- 358 Make 5+ Trades (58%)
- 220 Make 10+ Trades (36%)
- 8,360 Total Trades
- 420K Shares
- Average Time App was Open: 46 mins 30 secs
“The Sweet 16 and Elite 8 weekend saw a major pop after one of our traders posted about the app on SnapChat and it went viral,” said San Emeterio. He mentioned games involving Duke, North Carolina, Auburn and Michigan State.
The feedback from the NCAA tourney, “Has admittedly been beyond our best case scenario.” according to Scott. Another major milestone during March was their 100% organic growth.
For comparison purposes, they offered a FREE game during March and awarded $2 to the top 20%. San Emeterio feels there are not any other platforms that can offer the same opportunity against the numbers just put up.
Scott is a former Vice President at Credit Suisse in New York City for 13-years before diving in full-time with BallStreet Trading a couple years ago. In 2005, he was at a mortgage desk during the 2005-2007 sub-prime disaster seeing it first-hand. He loves to play online poker and credits it with helping to design a framework that gives him control.
David Pfeffer – CTO: built an FX trading system at DB
Peter Garafano – Lead Engineer: has spent the last decade building scalable databases
Ermolay Romanov – Infrastructure development
The founders wanted to build something unique and different, more of an fan engagement platform for brands and media. Brands wanting to communicate in real-time while offering promotions and other marketing initiatives to a dedicated user base can sign right up.
BallStreet began as an auction, eBay bid off style. Players found it too distracting with too much going on. The team redeveloped the concept for a year to get to the current version.
Their growth so far has been driven by traders and the network effect they have had on getting the word out across social media.
The highest user adoption rates are coming from NYC, financial Manhattan, New Jersey and Connecticut. Also, outside Chicago, Michigan and Maryland, and USC, with data showing a higher concentration of students and fraternity members.
San Emeterio believes their user growth and engagement are reasons why a savvy investor will want to invest in his company.
Twitter is considered a real-time events competitor. Facebook is a competitor too but more of foundational piece they plan to work more closely with after fund raising.
Scott sees their technology as a broader platform that could work alongside corporate partnerships at StubHub or SeatGeek. The idea of having a contest combining a QR code to win a Yankees hat for users is inviting.
In terms of additional features, the priority is to to ask visitors not to leave the app. Adding in analytics, chats, and more while broadcast’s are on is doable. They want to turn free into money players.
The GoT is always open for trading. The NBA Playoffs are poised to help grow Ballstreet’s user base right now. Each NBA playoff game begins with a 6 am start day of the game and then open market changes occur every 30 minutes after the algorithms refresh, ramping up to every minute as tip off gets closer.
Soccer is a hot sport globally and Scott has many friends that like the MLS, Premier League and La Liga, plus Champions League and the World Cup, so look for those down the development road. Another popular request is tennis.
He chuckled when I asked about WWE because his friends just asked about key events like a Wrestlemania. Same with MMA and the UFC.
The team loves the eSports space and plans to hire an export that can help with growth through associating with video games like League of Legends, Overwatch and NBA2K.
Scott says they plan to identify products and make it a turnkey product using creativity and access to an engaged user base.
They use AWS technologies for hosting. As mentioned, it runs on iOS, Google Play and there is a website version.
Second screen companies in the content industry are starting to pop up. WinView has high profile investors and raised $26 million, yet their experience is much different than BallStreet’s platform. Scott cites what he calls, “the boring factor,” which occurs when players get tired of the simple and diluted formats.
The exit strategy is more of a goal to build out the platform, and perhaps partner with a larger entity in a developmental role. ESPN comes to the top of the list.
Scott added, “We’re excited to execute our strategy over the next couple of months with NBA Playoffs, PGA Majors, Game of Thrones and MLB with a focus on Week 1 NFL.”
Sports Techie, I found Scott to be smart, driven and personable, traits investors like. I asked him about his personal social media use and was surprised to hear he is not a fan of it but we can all understand why. He says LinkedIn has been incredible. I told him to join more LinkedIn groups.
In two weeks, they plan to invite 50-100 traders to trade live and film the experience in a document format. Look for a release later in the year.
Sports gaming and sportsbooks are focused on gaming and gambling, Click Here For More, while the shift is happening towards more entertainment. In steps BallStreet to meet the new consumer need. ESPN could do it with all their amazing content and tech but they haven’t. Scott reached out to CNBC but has not heard back yet.
These guys are flying well below the sports tech radar. At the same time, the concept is well thought out, the vision is created, the technology is developed, and the team is executing while boot-strapping a trading game that makes me instantly think of Wall Street. I highly doubt they will be searching for funds very long as Scott has it all together in this innovative sports tech startup venture, imo.
He mentioned on a LinkedIn post, “Every single issue that faces a post PASPA world was one that the pre PASPA world faced too.”
As live betting matures Scott feels players will be trading against bots, they will define the price.
Play BallStreet Traders and win peer-to-peer, bots are not invited.
See ya later sportstechie in Seattle, Atlanta and around the world!
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