DCU based company launches new Fantasy Football app

A new fantasy football app created and developed by a DCU-based company was recently launched to coincide with the start of the new Premier League season. The app entitled, ‘Beat your Manager!’, is the world’s first fantasy football game which allows users to make live substitutions during matches involving their favourite team.

Users are first asked to select their favourite team currently playing in the Premier League. They then select a starting 11 and the mandatory 7 substitutes for the following week’s match. The app then uses an advanced statistical scoring system, to assess and score each player’s performance during the match and predict the score of players who do not play that week. At the end of each match, users will be given an overall score. This in turn will allow them to compare their own managerial performance to that of the real life manager or friends and other fans.

Fantasy football is a rapidly growing industry, with as estimated 5.5 million users in both the UK and Ireland and an estimated market value of €600 million. Mobile gaming is also the fastest growing sector of the gaming market, with a projected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.4% from 2009 to 2014.

The app’s creator, Dr. Padraig Doolan, is a former research scientist at DCU with over 16 years’ experience in the field of bioinformatics and biostatistics. Speaking about the venture, Dr. Doolan said: “This game is actually completely new. It sits somewhere between all the fantasy football leagues in the world and the console versions of football manager. My game is piggy-backing on the experiences of real football fans, where they have one club they follow and they have all the real life limitations that club puts on its manager.”

The company currently operates out of DCU’s on-campus Innovation and Enterprise centre, Invent. According to Dr Doolan: “Invent is focused on turning good ideas into commercial opportunities. Those good ideas could be stemming out of research in the laboratories or it could be just some good idea you have. If you want to talk about how you would bring out a particular product, bring it to market or what skills you need to develop, Invent is the place to be.”

The app currently has 600 active users, despite a limited marketing and promotional campaign to date. Download figures for the game are currently in the region of 3,500. Various internal problems with bugs, however, may have turned some users off. Despite this, with the input of venture capital investment over the next number of months, the company believes a network of between 50,000 and 100,000 users is attainable by the end of the current season.

Unlike any other game on the market, the app will collect a vast amount of fan data, ranging from most popular line-ups, formations and subs’ benches. Then during the live game, data will also be collected regarding which players fans want substituted on and off.

The company will be monetised by the sale of this data to broadcasters, betting companies, clubs, sporting associations, drinks companies and anyone else interested. According to Dr. Doolan: “I’m creating a new market in fan data. My goal is [for the app] to become the premier football fan analytic providing company in the world.” To date, he has built and promoted the game and his company largely from his own resources.

‘Beat Your Manager!’ Fantasy Football is available now and is free to download on iTunes and Google Play. You can find out more information at www.beatyourmanager.com.  You can also follow the game at twitter.com/beatyourmanager or become a fan at facebook.com/beatyourmanager.

Darragh McGrath

Image credit: Padraig Doolan

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