The Sacramento Kings were the first professional sport franchise to accept Bitcoin as a form of payment in March 2014. Since then, sport organizations have been joining the wave of cryptocurrencies with the Dallas Mavericks scheduled to accept Cryptocurrency to purchase tickets in the 2018/19 season.
The Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban isn’t only on the forefront of accepting Cryptocurrency as a form of payment, he has also invested in Unikrn, a startup that has created its own cryptocurrency UnikoinGold, which can be used to bet on eSports games. While betting on sport games isn’t legal in the United States at the moment, fantasy sports fills the gap.
In the United States, Draft King and Fan Duel dominate the daily fantasy market, however, overseas Stryking Entertainment is gearing up to take over the world of daily fantasy soccer by launching their own cryptocurrency, Strykz.
Through my research on sport consumer behaviour and gamification, I got connected to the Stryking team last year at a global startup competition and decided to interview their Chief Marketing Officer Christian Szymanski about their upcoming Initial Coin Offering (ICO).
Stryking is specialized in sport engagement and fan engagement products, and operates a fantasy football (soccer) portal, Football-Stars. They have been nominated as daily fantasy football portal of the year and innovator of the year by the Fantasy Sports Trade Association and have strong partnerships in Germany with the biggest sports website, Kicker, and with the digital tv station, Sport Digital.
Their platform differentiates itself from most daily fantasy operators in the US, which operate with real money; but Football-Stars are using a ‘free-to-play’ model. That means they use virtual currency which the user can get by unlocking achievements, completing challenges, and simply playing the game.
To make the platform more user centric, they are in the process of launching the Strykz crypto token to be implemented in the platform. According to Szymanski, “this will allow users to create their own challenges, write articles about their favorite team, and engage with other fans within the app.” User engagement is then rewarded with tokens that they can use within the platform, with their partners, or convert on a crypto exchange platforms.
So, the main purpose of the Strykz token is to foster that user engagement within the platform. Instead of rewarding users with virtual currency, they will go a step further and integrate a crypto token which will also be used to integrate new partners and to open new markets. Right now, they have partners in Germany, but are taking a closer look to Asia where soccer is a rising sport.
While we see a big growth of soccer in the United States, the American market is currently not their main priority, because the American daily fantasy sport market is already saturated, whereas the Asian market is in an early stage. Nevertheless, adding Major League Soccer or American content to the game is on their agenda in the future.
The token sale will go live before the 2018 FIFA World Cup. But don’t get too excited about the ICO, because the SEC currently prevents US residents from buying Strykz tokens. That means US soccer fans are left with having to earn them on www.Football-Stars.com through their daily challenges. The good news it, they can challenge soccer legend Luis Figo, who is an ambassador for the Stryking team.
Full disclosure: I am an unpaid (no cash, equity, or tokens) advisor for Stryking Entertainment.
Thilo Kunkel (Ph.D.) is an Assistant Professor in Sport Management at Temple University where he researches sport branding, fan engagement, and gamification. Connect with him via Twitter and Linked-In: @thilokunkel.