SPORTSHUB TECHNOLOGIES CONTINUES EXPANSION IN THE FANTASY SPORTS INDUSTRY WITH TWO MORE ACQUISITIONS.
SportsHub Technologies, LLC has fantasy sports business goals to become the biggest products and services provider for the fan engagement solutions industry after they announced the acquisition of National Fantasy Championships (NFC) and LeagueSafe to their portfolio. SportsHub Founder and CEO, Rob Phythian, chatted today with the Sports Techie community blog about what the deals mean for the future of their real money gaming sites as well as the company mission to level the playing field for daily fantasy sports fans. This sports tech news comes to light the same week as the giant merger between DraftKings and FanDuel was finalized. Sports Hub is targeting the 20 million mid-core, season-long, daily and high-stakes contests players out of the more than 57 million fantasy sport players in North America. Is the DFS pie big enough for DraftKings/FanDuel as a first mover to monopolize the rest of the market or are second movers such as SportsHub poised to become the eventual leaders of fantasy sports here in the United States?
SportsHub Technologies is a new enterprise developing advanced tech solutions to empower fan and brand engagement across sports and eSports media channels. Phythian founded SportsHub in 2015 with some of his team of 15 employees headquartered in Minneapolis. The HQ is strategically located at The Pitch, a tech focused region of the cities northeastern area. Several of the management team are considered insiders to the business while other are experienced developers and marketers. “The startup is on plan,” says Rob.
The NFC assets were bought from STATS LLC, a well know sports statistics, technology, data, and content company located in Illinois. LeagueSafe is also based in Minnesota and was purchased because of their online payment solution used to help leagues and commissioners collect dues, protect the nest egg and pay out winnings.
SportsHub announced the acquisitions earlier this year of CDM Sports, a leading gaming platform, and Sports Technologies LLC the industry’s leading service provider.
SportsHub Core Competencies
SportsHub has traction supporting sports media companies develop strategies, products and innovative solutions while enabling digital customer engagement via interactive games and mobile applications.
· Fan Engagement
· Brand & Sponsorship Solutions
· Proven Technology.
· User-Centered Design
· Rock-Solid Team
· Customer Support
NFL Rush Fantasy
Learn to play fantasy football with this game designed for a younger audience. Pick a lineup each week, learn the math behind your score, and compete with your friends in a safe environment.
NASCAR Fantasy Live
In this salary cap style game, add your favorite drivers to your roster and then track them in real-time on race days. Compete in leagues with your friends, and win prizes as you compete against the rest of the community.
NCAA March Madness
Compete in the official game of NCAA® March Madness®. Keep track of your bracket picks while enjoying the March Madness Live App. Join groups featuring celebrities, experts, and your friends.
PGA Tour Fantasy Golf
Add your favorite golfers to your roster, but be strategic. You can only use a golfer so many times a season. PGA Tour Fantasy Golf is the only fantasy product that uses PGA’s Shot Tracker system, which not only means that your experience is richer, but you can earn fantasy points in ways no other game can match.
“The NFC has revolutionized the world of high-stakes fantasy sports and caters to some of the highest value fantasy sports fans and most loyal users in the world,” said Phythian.
NFC operates the biggest high-stakes events worldwide, in particular the National Fantasy Football Championship, National Fantasy Baseball Championship, and National Fantasy Basketball Championship.
“We started the NFC in 2004 with the vision of creating a new fantasy sports experience for hard core fantasy sports fans who wanted a higher level of competition,” said Greg Ambrosius GM of NFC. “I am excited join forces with SportsHub to advance that vision and to unlock our full potential. I thank STATS for being NFC’s home for the past six years.”
The fantasy niche operator has delivered in excess of $37 million in prize money. They take pride in producing the longest-running high-stakes fantasy sports competitions in the world. Their high-stakes live offerings are hosted in Las Vegas, New York, Chicago and online across the web.
“These high-stakes contests and events reach the high-end fantasy sports participant, adding many new possibilities to our long-term strategy,” added Phythian.
Since 2008, LeagueSafe has been the trusted wallet system for 500,000 customers that pay to use their proprietary services for private fantasy league administration and finance management in particular for the collection and protection of fantasy league dues. Their A+ Better Business Bureau rating entitles them the respect of operating as a trusted consumer protection agency for fantasy sports in the U.S. Any commissioner or league can use the technology to charge entry fees online and then entrust the funds will be secure much like a bank, all season long. Winners can also be paid over the Internet automatically almost in real-time at the end of each sport season.
Rob Phythian – Visionary
Rob is a former member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Board of Directors and a current Fantasy Sports Hall of Fame member.
In 1993, Rob left his public accounting job and entered the fantasy sports world. Information was bad for Fantasy Football at that time.
Phythian created Fanball.com to be one of the first-ever, pure play online fantasy sports platforms. He said. “The site was sticky and had massive time spent on it by fantasy players leading to raising a bunch of money.” He later sold it to Liberty Media in 2005 and exited.
His desire to stay in the industry led Phythian back in as a co-founder of SportsData. Phythian’s vision helped to produce software used to compile, sort and deliver sports stats to media outlets, fantasy leagues and social media giants such as Google and Twitter. Phythian was named CEO and helped champion deals with the NFL and NASCAR. The game-changing sports tech company was acquired by SportRadar in 2013.
“With more than 57 million people playing fantasy sports in North America, we have an enormous opportunity to build upon the established technology that LeagueSafe has created and roll out more sophisticated payment technology for both the season long and daily fantasy sports industries. It’s a great fit for our portfolio alongside our season-long, daily and high-stakes contests,” explained Phythian. “On a personal note I look forward to once again working together with LeagueSafe CEO Paul Charchian with whom I co-founded Fanball with in 1993.”
Phythian explained how STATS are focused on B2B, enabling dialog to occur surrounding NEC, resulting in the sale of this B2C asset by STATS. Both acquisitions had solid users, management and cash flow.
Phythian plans to have both the NFC and LeagueSafe continue operating as separate divisions of SportsHub. Ambrosius and Charchian have accepted the same roles in the new divisions and will become a part of the senior management team.
For more information, visit www.SportsHubTech.com.
Sports Techie, I enjoyed meeting Rob for the first time, we are both the same age. My favorite NFL team as a kid was the Minnesota Vikings led by the Purple People Eaters defense and Fran Tarkington at quarterback which took us back to a different era as we discussed the X generation.
Our next generations of millennials and Gen Z are into eSports, making it the next fantasy challenge for the industry. Rob does not play himself but his CTO does and is a good sounding board. Rob see’s eSports as a nine inning baseball game just finishing the first inning. In other words, the sport needs to mature a bit more before gamification happens for the masses. As a whole, it needs to develop more brand awareness and superstar status, then the first movers can come in with fantasy eSports enabling users to play against users. He mentioned publishers like Blizzard Entertainment have games such as Overwatch, the games are on platforms such as Twitch, and there is ELEAGUE by Turner Sports, all as examples of steps in that direction.
My question about drone racing fantasy gaming got a chuckle.
Presently, SportsHub is looking to add premier customer for their high-stakes premium companies and new platforms. These users spend an average of $2,000. The sweet spot they are after is the 45 million private players and the $5 to $10 dollar friend challenges which Phythian considers midcore activation.
His take on FanDuel and DraftKings was enlightening. Rob said, “They were the first mover in the space and salary cap built, wrought with so many friction points and major fights, lawsuits and attorney generals, and activist groups representing casinos and tribes, all associated with lots of costs.”
As a second mover, SportsHub can concentrate on quality.
On thing he is not looking for is another exit strategy. Rob tells me and it is easy to sense, he loves what he is doing. He would like to find a strategic investor and ride it. They will not be expanding overseas anytime in the near future either . Their focus is on serving the market Phythian knows. The challenge with servicing Europe or Asia is the budget it would take and existing sports gaming laws.
The company future seems to be with DFS and high-stakes gaming accomplished by leveraging existing relationships.
Their first stage is now complete at SportsHub, I can’t wait to see what is in store for stage two.
Best of luck with your fantasy football and NFFC stretch run and playoffs, use analytics wherever possible to help make wise decisions.
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