As per the publications by FIFA, there are 5 billion football fans around the world. The sport with the biggest fan following.
Digital penetration has been on an upward trajectory for the last 6-8 years in general and FIFA came out with the numbers which show it is the case with football fans as well. 83% of football fans use smartphone while watching television.
Companies have been tapping into this huge sports entertainment market. Sports betting companies and sports fantasy apps have made lot of in roads to reach out to the avid fans. The fantasy app market stands at approximate 20-23 Bn USD. The yearly growth as per various reports show it to be around 6-10% CAGR, which is phenomenal.
One thing the Sports betting companies have been trying to do is bring out the social cause and make it normal to bet / look less ‘taboo’.
In this edition of PAC Talks, I spoke to Alan Loughrey, Founder of Futnut App. Alan founded this football fantasy app start-up four years ago with a key thought in his mind.
“Futnut’s mission is to enable football fans to prove their knowledge in a fun, challenging and safe way. ”
You can listen to this podcast (PAC Talks with VJCV) on Apple, Spotify or watch the interview on YouTube.
Talking about the idea behind the concept of Futnut, Alan mentioned that there is a huge audience out in the market & football is life for them. He added that the fans in UK&I alone are around 22 million , which comprises of 11 million avid fans.
“They are all consuming content, following the teams, going to games, it is a social avenue for people – going to pub watch the game, etc. While doing that they are constantly trading opinions and knowledge, up until now lot of that has been in ether. Who actually knows his football, is it the one who is always yapping or the quiet guy, whereas now you can come in to Futnut , make your predictions and see how you rank against everybody else. So now the talking is over and let us see who actually knows their football. ” – Alan Loughrey.
“Who says that in order to play the odds or probability , you have to risk money. We are just used to that and that can be changed.”concluded Alan in regard with positioning of Futnut
Alan thinks there is a market for a safe & socially inclusive way to prove your football knowledge and the current per user engagement session of Futnut is pointing towards this direction.
One of the things that got my attention is the way in which Futnut is trying to provide a platform which can give the football fan the thrill of showcasing his knowledge , winning against other users and still do not have an impact on the pocket. Yes, there are apps like Fantasy Premier League, ESPN sports fantasy, etc. which are also in similar space but at times the user feels that too much time and energy is required to keep up with the team changes, use of chips, etc. in these apps.
Alan shared the thought on Why Futnut ? :-
The features currently available on the Futnut app includes NAP, Banker predictions, etc. Their website shares a detailed explanation of how it works.
In addition to this, Futnut also allow users to set up private leagues where friends can come together and play. They can also look at putting 5 Euros or 10 Euros and set up a prize for the winners. This can be also used for charity , fund raisers, etc. The money remains among the friends. Alan added that Futnut does not take any money from this and they just take a set up fee for private leagues.
Futnut had touched 1000 users during the Euro Cup and has an average of around 300-500 users now. The per user engaged sessions stood at 26 for the month of April 2022 and Alan is all smiles while saying that this is a real positive sign of things to come in the future.
Futnut was also part of the Enterprise Ireland’s New Frontier Program. Alan mentioned that this helped him to focus more on the app, research, build business plans, get help from experts for marketing , messaging, etc., got introduction to people who can help.
The biggest football extravaganza is around the corner and talking about his plans for the big event , Alan added:- “World Cup is a great example of an event that people can use in the private league side of things. It is already time boxed for 6 weeks. For private leagues, the engagement is more when it is a short time boxed events. It is a big opportunity for clubs to target World Cup to raise funds. Clubs can look at buying lands for pitches, updating gyms, etc. It will be a great opportunity for them to leverage the competition and use Futnut platform to do it successfully.”
The US market is now of the biggest when it comes to fantasy sports app. Alan is keeping an eye at the developments in US and is hopeful that soccer will scale up in the coming years there. He added that MLS has started growing and with the World Cup scheduled to take place in US in 2026, it will be a good market for Futnut in the long run.
Futnut , based of Galway, Ireland, is bootstrapped for now and Alan has started to look for raising seed fund of around 500k Euros now and overall around 1.1 Million Euros in the next couple of years . Alan wants to get investors with similar thought process to come on board and join his journey. His focus is to get a tech lead, marketing head, BDMs, etc. The plan to have a team of around 7 and scale it to 25 in the next three years.
“There are no straps left on my boots now. My boots are falling off. I am looking for investors.”added Alan that he is ready to raise funds now.
It is very well aware to Alan there are many other apps in the market in this segment and he says that it is a testament that they are in the right space.
Premier League will be coming to close this month along with other leagues and championships as well. The next 2 months will be the time for Futnut to make the required tweaks, look at scaling , make more users aware of the app, get associations with football clubs, brands, etc. and create the launch pad to get going from the upcoming season.
Alan and Futnut is a great example of someone following the curiosity path and coming out with solutions. It is very interesting to see how Alan has managed to run the show single handedly till now and will be great to follow the journey of Futnut in the coming years.
You can read more about the App: https://futnut.app/