Karol Corcoran is the International Marketing Director at FanDuel. It’s an important period for the company with the EPL kicking off this Saturday and the debut of its new product built for the UK’s football fans.
We spoke to Karol about why they set about creating a product from the ground-up, marketing strategy and club partnerships.
SBC: Tell us more about the rebrand and how and why you built the UK product from the ground up? The 11 players, no subs or captains seems to suggest you’re aiming for simplification…
Karol: I joined FanDuel over a year ago amidst a period of extensive customer research in the UK. The verdict was that for a product to resonate and be popular with UK customers it had to target that individual market.
We made the decision to invest the time and resources to build such a product. Whilst we’ve used our experience and learnings from the US, this has been a product which has evolved week on week as we put it in front of testers and tried new things out. We wanted it to be authentic and resonate with UK customers, and we hope that can be seen by all now it’s launched.
Simplification was certainly one of the aims of the game. We wanted to be as accessible as possible and in doing so appeal to as many people as possible, the aim was to build a product to appeal to football fans. We expect football fans that aren’t fantasy aficionados to be able to sign up and easily enjoy and get to grips with FanDuel.
SBC: What’s the marketing plan, will we see a repeat of the FanDuel DraftKings battle in the States? Do you believe the main issue with real money DFS not taking off in the UK is a general lack of knowledge?
Karol: There is certainly some education to be had about the compressed fantasy, that is the one day or one weekend fantasy competitions, and this is something ourselves and other operators in the space need to engage in.
I also think it’s about the right product, the one which makes it more accessible and makes it easier is the one which is best to set up to win in this market. The secret to unlocking the DFS UK market is one which is as accessible as possible, one which appeals to football fans en masse and not just fantasy players.
We wanted FanDuel to be intuitive, and the mobile apps are a major part of that. When we released a Beta product, much of the feedback validated the product decisions that we’d made, especially in relation to the mobile experience. This was in terms of how quickly you get to choosing the eleven players and the overall intuitive nature of it.
In terms of the DraftKings FanDuel battle, I can only comment on ourselves! We want to acquire as many football fans as quickly and efficiently as possible. We’ll test and learn, and then scale our marketing and investment accordingly.
SBC: With operators such as Mondogoal and Oulala establishing club partnerships and media ones too, will you be mimicking this strategy to compete? How do you plan to acquire and retain customers?
Karol: We want to acquire customers in a targeted and efficient way. We’re new to the market and we are targeting football fans via the most efficient channels which are, of course, digital; Facebook, affiliates and partners.
In terms of partnerships we’ve put together an agreement with Fantasy Football Scout. We have one in place with Bleacher Report which is an excellent source that football fans read daily, and we have a couple more that we’ll be announcing shortly.
That’s where our focus is for the moment. We also had an opportunity to work with the Homeless World Cup in Glasgow recently; we sponsored a team which reached the semi-finals.
It’s a competition which has been going on for 14 years, it was co-founded by Mel Young who set up the Big Issue and is a very worthwhile cause. That had the added benefit of helping to raise our profile too.
SBC: How important is mobile to DFS?
Karol: Mobile is the way that more and more football fans are consuming their sport and consuming products, and we definitely expect mobile to be our primary driver.
We’re blessed here at FanDuel with a specialised and skilled mobile team, these are the same guys behind the award winning app in the US so it’s safe to say we have a pretty solid foundation.
SBC: You’ve made it clear you’re focusing on football and the EPL to begin with, but what about further down the line? Which other countries and sports do you have in mind?
Karol: Outside of North America, the sport is football. When you think about which is the most high profile league, the answer is obvious – it’s the Premier League and so this is where we chose to focus our initial efforts.
For us the next steps post-EPL will be football-focused; we’ll add additional leagues and then we’ll take our football product to other countries around the world. There’s a lot more headroom in football before we add any other sports.