Adam Cole – Football INDEX – The growing appeal of football trading

Football INDEX is the world’s first football stock market, enabling users to buy and sell real money shares in the world’s top footballers.

Detailing how the site accumulated 100,000 users across the UK, with a number of single trading days in excess of £1 million, as well as analysing future plans for expansion, Adam Cole, Founder and CEO of Football INDEX spoke to SBC.

SBC: Hi Adam, could you reveal more about the appeal of Football INDEX?

Adam Cole: The Football INDEX proposition is simple and appealing – build value in your portfolio (capital appreciation), earn dividends (ROI) based on your football knowledge, and ultimately sell at a profit. We are regulated by the UK Gambling Commission and profits are exempt from Capital Gains.

With Football INDEX, football ‘traders’ can earn dividends based on their football knowledge and the on-pitch performance and media profile of players in their portfolio. They can build a portfolio of players of their choice and aren’t restricted by selecting from a single team.

Powered by Opta data, we have invested over £2.5 million in developing an innovative, proprietary platform and user-friendly app, allowing fans to earn dividends on their football portfolio 365 days a year, with multiple profit opportunities. Since launching in October 2015, the concept has rapidly gained traction.  

SBC: What is the key target market Football INDEX aims to reach?

AC: Football Index fills a vacant space between two massive markets – football sports betting and Fantasy Football – but has advantages over both. Fantasy Football, for example, requires an unflagging weekly commitment and there’s very little financial gain or reward (other than bragging rights).

Football betting is the largest sportsbook activity in the UK. However, betting can be brutal and expensive – it is focused heavily on quick ‘event’ outcomes.

With Football INDEX, we offer extended entertainment value and intellectual stimulation combined with the thrill of a bet. Our value proposition is unrivalled by any other product on the market.

Our users – or ‘football traders’ – are typically smart football fans who find the concept of Football Index more intellectually satisfying and generally more rewarding than regular betting. Football fans in particular those who understand fantasy football and those with a an understanding of markets are a key demographic. Our users are spread across all age groups but are predominantly between the ages of 20 and 45.

SBC: Can you outline some of the key factors that dictate whether a player’s value decreases or increases?

AC: ‘Performance Dividends’ pay out to traders based on footballers’ on-pitch performance. Traders can buy players they consider ‘on form’ as we use Opta data measures – 40 points for scoring a goal to 1 point for a successful pass and minus 5 points for a yellow card.  

As well as trading footballers for profit, customers have the chance of multiple ‘wins’ from a single bet. Football INDEX’s daily Buzz Chart is a UK media monitor which determines the trending footballer in the news each day. Any traders holding futures in the trending footballer receives a dividend payout per future held.  

Payouts are made to the Top Defender (including Goalkeepers), Top Midfielder, Top Forward and Star Footballer, who is the day’s top performing player.  ‘Football traders’ only make a loss if they choose to sell at a loss.

SBC: With coverage of football continually increasing, how important is it that you provide traders with an expansive database to trade from?

Traders can currently buy shares in over 1,000 players from the English Premier League, Spanish La Liga, French Ligue 1, Italian Serie A, German Bundesliga, UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League. We are currently in the process of expanding our product offering to 2,000 tradeable footballers.

SBC: As sportsbooks grow by adding new markets and utilising more data, in what ways can football trading evolve to keep players engaged?

AC: Longer term we have ambition to provide our service globally (where possible) and indeed our platform may be applied to any sport such as American Football, basketball, baseball, ice hockey, cricket, rugby etc. We continue to invest in our technology and have a roadmap packed with new functionality, much of which is focused on delivering our users more data.

SBC: How can football trading satisfy the instant gratification that is wanted by punters?

AC: We offer both instant gratification and long term gains. Instead of the ‘bet’ being on a single outcome (e.g. Manchester United vs Watford), with Football INDEX, traders have the possibility of a micro win every day of the year for three years with our daily Buzz Chart which determines the trending footballer in the news each day. We refer to these micro wins as ‘dividends’ and they provide a yield for ‘instrument’.  

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