There is plenty of debate surrounding the potential of DFS offerings in the established UK gambling market. You would think if DraftKings and FanDuel are after UK market share there must be something to gain, but in all honesty, who knows what the future holds. In addition to these giants, there are several smaller DFS companies already taking a stab at success in the UK such as Premier Punt, a DFS offering with a focus on football (soccer).
I decided to speak with Premier Punt’s CEO John Gordon as he’s literally just opened up a second round of crowdfunding on Seedrs and has plenty of enthusiasm for his product. Gordon has high hopes for the popularity of DFS in the UK and is working towards becoming the market leader. Premier Punt also has plans of launching a sports book and other exciting initiatives in 2017 such as a new bonus scheme and a scheme called “Grass. Boots. Football.” which will invest back into local communities in the form of donated equipment for grassroots football teams.
Becky Liggero: Thank you for joining me John and congrats on opening up another crowdfunding round. Tell me what is the main difference between Premier Punt and some of the other UK-facing DFS options such as Mondogoal and Oulala?
John Gordon: We currently have three different game formats – weekly, daily and single. Our app allows the user to check how their weekly and daily teams are performing but it mainly focuses on our single games, which is what we believe sets us apart from our competitors.
The single game format is our brainchild and allows users to pick 6 players from one match as opposed to 11 players from a whole week’s or day’s fixtures. The ease and quickness with which our users can pick a team in the single game is one of our big attractions.
We believe our competitors have failed to bring a noteworthy app to the market because they focus on the 11-a-side game. There are far too many statistics that go along with picking 11 players to squeeze onto a small screen, not to mention the hundreds of players you can choose from and the budget you need to play around with to ensure you get all the players you want. Our single game does not have any budget constraints and the only limitation on team selection is that at least one player must be chosen from each team in any one match and only one of four “star” players can be chosen.
BL: Yes, simplicity is a must when it comes to entertainment via mobile devices. We now know you have something unique to offer, in what other ways do you plan to compete with DFS giants such as DraftKings here in the UK?
JG: I think the question should be: “What do I think DraftKings and Fan Duel will do to dry to try to catch up with Premier Punt”
Over two weekends in the season so far, we have been the number one trending app in the UK app store, far ahead of DraftKings. Part of this comes back to our single game format which they do not have.
We also believe that because we are a British company (as opposed to American like DraftKings) we are more in touch with what the British user likes. Football is the primary sport in the UK and has been for decades so it is taken very seriously here. There are, therefore, certain terms connected with the sport in America which annoy us personally and we know will annoy many British users too, such as “soccer”, “draft” and “salary caps”.
BL: I like your attitude John, for sure its an advantage being a British company. So why have you decided to go the crowdfunding route and what has your experience been like so far? Any tips for us?
JG: Crowdfunding on Seedrs has been a fantastic experience do far! We have raised over £100,000 through them on the first week of our private funding round. We are looking to raise £200,000 in total and with the current trajectory that doesn’t look like it will be a problem to reach that target.
We were in talks with angel investors prior to going down this route, but we found that they tended to want more control than we were willing to give away to any single investor. No doubt they would have brought a lot to the table but we wanted to explore other avenues first.
Crowdfunding, on the other hand, allows us to raise our required sum through many different shareholders as opposed to one large one. This means we still have the power to create our vision of the company. It also means our friends and family can be a part of our success story which is something we are delighted and excited about.
In terms of tips, it’s particularly important to have a good round of private funding before the public funding round. If we go into the public round with a solid base of investment already obtained then this will hopefully cause the campaign to snowball and make others sit up and take notice of us.
BL: Great advice, thank you. What do you see as the future for DFS in the UK and beyond?
JG: DFS is in its infancy here in the UK and Europe compared to the US and Canadian market. Many analysts predict that in the UK we are at the stage the North American market was at in 2011. At this point there were estimated to be 35.9m users playing fantasy sports with it growing to 57.4m in 2016.
In 2012 in the US and Canada, the average spend per season for a daily fantasy sports user was $5 and this has ballooned to $318 in 2016.
In the UK, there are 4m users of the free season-long official fantasy football game and betting is a huge market so it is not unreasonable to believe that DFS could become hugely popular too.
Assuming there is a correlation and a time lag between the UK / Europe market and the US / Canada one then things could properly take off here too. Obviously, there is a larger population over the pond with a wider variety of sports for users to play but there are indicators to suggest the market here will head in the same direction, albeit on a smaller scale.
BL: So you think we’re about five years behind here in the UK, should be an interesting space to watch and I wish you luck in your journey to becoming market leader. Its been a pleasure John, I appreciate your time today, thank you.