Outsourced play

Hockey Fan
Photo by shuck

I learned about the idea of outsourcing play from Alex Manu’s book The Imagination Challenge. I’m guilty of outsourcing play from Formula1 to UFC (don’t ask, but it’s cathartic and I feel a little schadenfreude). Evidence of the continued outsourcing of play is the continued meteoric rise of fantasy sports.

“It is estimated that 26 million Americans play some form of fantasy sports league, a fact that has created an industry worth close to $1 billion a year according to the U.S.-based Fantasy Sports Trade Association.

“The average amount that each of these players spends on their hobby might be $500 per year or so, moreover, these figures appear to be growing — even in a down economy — at near-double-digit annual rates.”

If those figures continue at that pace, fantasy will soon overtake reality. Professor Quinn points out that, by comparison, the National Hockey League’s (NHL) total attendance is 25 million per year, bringing in close to $3 billion in the process.” – James Montague, CNN

InGamer SportsThere are a number of new startups attacking this growing market space. There are some changing dynamics with the availability of real-time data that offer a change in the game play that has been the weekly engagement model of traditional fantasy sports pools. There is a Toronto-based startup, InGamer Sports, that is building a new game using the realtime statistics for baseball and hockey to engage players. They launched during Game 1 of the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals with The Hockey News. Nic Sulsky provided metrics about their launch. 

InGamer Numbers from Game 1 (Nic says “small but powerful”)

  • 0$ spent marketing only a link on TheHockeyNews.com
  • 113 Unique Visitors
  • 40:19 Average time on site
  • 52 Games created (46% conversion)
  • 37 Registered Games
  • 18 Unique Taunters
  • 228 Taunts
  • 28 people had their browsers open to the end of the game

I don’t have any ability to judge the metrics, i.e., I’m not an expert at the existing traffic or conversation rates for fantasy sports and The Hockey News. It’s a fun game, you pick 5 players who get points for their performance. You have the option to select new players that change at each period. You can then in real-time taunt and challenge your compatriots. The interaction is currently 100% web-based but it’s not a huge stretch to see the UI move beyond the browser to mobile in particular. Great fun, too bad it’s not Toronto (like the Leafs are making it to the Cup, pipedream) and Calgary I can hear John Bristowe taunting Mark Relph in real-time.

It’s great to see InGamer build an application that extends the impact that leagues and players have with their fans. It’s a great opportunity to build deeper experiences and help get fans to that flow state of engagement while watching their favourite teams. It’s not full baked and they are changing based on customer data.


You can play tonight during Game 3, and the best part the Sutter family will be playing InGamer. Check out http://hockey.ingamersports.com/ or http://playerscup.thehockeynews.com to play.

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