In 2009, FanDuel burst onto the scene and changed the fantasy sports world as we knew it. You were no longer stuck drafting a fantasy football team a month before the NFL season started, only to see your top two draft picks go down in Week 1 with nothing you could do about it.
For about three years, FanDuel was the only game in town when it came to daily fantasy sports; not that users were complaining. The concept of daily fantasy sports was immediately excepted and praised by most fantasy players, Millennials in particular.
Most 20-somethings I know, myself included, cannot sit and watch one NFL game for three and half hours. What with all the timeouts and commercials, it's pretty much a Millennial's nightmare.
In 2012, DraftKings launched and became a direct competitor to FanDuel, essentially offering the same daily fantasy sports services. Again, the big winners were Millennial sports fans.
Now, this generation is to get their biggest win yet with the launch of WinView, an app that allows you to participate in multiple propositions during live NFL games.
For instance, you can predict whether or not Eddie Lacy will fumble on a particular drive, or if Aaron Rodgers will complete 10 passes in a particular quarter.
I recently spoke with WinView CEO David Lockton, the man behind the app changing how you'll watch sports for years to come.
In order to get the full understanding of what exactly WinView is, I asked Lockton how he sees this sports game-changer. He said,
WinView is a company that is going to offer synchronized, two-screen games, initially around the major television sports and eSports. It allows viewers of those telecasts to compete against one another, either in the same room or remotely, for prizes.
Basically, your phone or tablet is going to become as integral to your NFL viewing experience as the television screen in front of you. Whether you play with your friends in the same room or someone on the other side of the world will be completely up to you.
The concept of daily fantasy sports has always appealed to me in theory, but I've never been a massive DraftKings or FanDuel addict.
In light of this, I asked Lockton if his app is the future of sports betting, to which he replied,
Well, it's not sports betting. Sports betting is illegal. What we're doing is completely legal. The first iteration is free, so that's obviously legal. Ultimately, we will segway from the free to the games of skill laws, which I helped pioneer. Games of skill have been around since the 1800s; they're legal in 46 states depending on what kind of games they are. We have nothing to do with fantasy. We're not a fantasy game. The laws that apply to us look at us as an entirely different game. We ultimately will utilize the state laws and the federal laws to charge people cash and pay cash because it's a game of skill.
The last part of what Lockton said struck a chord with me immediately. If I play Winview, and presumably win, how exactly am I getting paid if I haven't wagered any money initially?
Lockton told me,
The way we support that is through the sponsorships. We're already talking to major advertisers aimed at our target market who can't [currently] reach them, as well as in-game video. If you play any kind of video game, you're fully aware of the concept of gaining something of value through interaction with some kind of ad. Whether it be a click-through on a display ad or interacting with a video. A combination of viewed videos account for points in the game, and overall sponsorship allows us to subsidize a prize structure, even though it's completely free to play.
The more I spoke with Lockton, the more I could see my friends and I using WinView to spice up what's already become one of the most exciting days of the week during the fall. NFL Sundays are king.
With WinView, you're not only able to interact directly with the game as it's going on, you're actually adding something tangible to the social aspect that already exists.
How often have you been watching a game with friends and said, "You know Tony Romo's going to throw a pick this drive, right?" Well, with WinView, you'll be able to actually cash in on that proposition.
Speaking on this aspect of his application, Lockton said,
...the [existing] daily fantasy league is not a social activity. We're looking at the 50 million seasonal fantasy players who have nothing to do once the game starts, who are all watching with their phones in their hand [while] texting their buddies, checking their stats, trash talking and so forth. We're going to give them something to do with the knowledge they've been gaining in the particular fantasy sport they've been following and playing for years, and allow them to actualize that behavior that already exists.
Another genius aspect of WinView is the app's ability to keep the action going during timeouts. Lockton explained this, saying,
Our game is specifically designed to interact with you at times when the action is dead on the field. We start out before the game, maybe a day before the game, and offer four or five pre-kickoff propositions. Who will win the first quarter? Which quarterback will have the most passing yards? The over and under for that quarter. While you're thinking about those and maybe doing some background research, you're wagering points on that proposition and selecting the yes or no odds that we offer. When there's a timeout, you'll get push notifications if you're out of the app of two or three props during that timeout. That goes on for a quarter, and a game is four quarters. We have four contests and four winners for each football game.
While WinView maybe revolutionary, in terms of how you watch sports, Lockton says there's nothing new about this idea. According to the app's CEO, television has demanded user interaction for years.
Ever screamed at the TV during Jeopardy!? This is the same thing, really, except you're actually able to do something with your correct answer.
According to reports, WinView has raised $6.5 million in funding, a large portion of which is reportedly being used to ensure WinView is fully operational by kickoff of the 2016 NFL season.
Lockton himself guaranteed me WinView will be ready by the start of this season.
At the moment, WinView will only be available for NFL games, but according to Lockton,
Once we get football out and rolling, we're looking at adding sports as the seasons arrive on us. And, at some point, we will add eSports to the mix.
"There's real magic in real time," Lockton told me. After speaking with him, I'm definitely a believer.