‘Virtual stock market’ will allow users to buy shares in players and teams based on expected performance
Paddy Power, the son of the bookmaker’s founder , is to launch a new fantasy sports betting company called American SportZ Exchange (ASX).
The startup, which will allow users to buy or sell ‘shares’ based on how they believe a player or team will perform, is being described as “the world’s first sports trading exchange”.
It will offer live ‘share prices’ of individual players and teams based on expected performance.
With its ASX.ai site currently accepting beta player requests, the startup will be run from Ireland but will mainly target the US market.
Mr Power, who separately works as a brand ambassador for Paddy Power Betfair, says that he has already entered “exclusive” partnership discussions with US professional sports teams and broadcasters.
These include the Philadelphia Phillies and Toronto Blue Jays baseball teams, Las Vegas’s Golden Knights ice hockey team, the online sports subscription video streaming service DAZN and the US broadcasting and telecoms group, Sinclair Media. Canada’s Rogers Media is also in discussions with the startup.
Mr Power says that he is currently the main investor in the fledgling business and does not expect to have to raise a “serious” funding round for at least a year.
He is launching a €500,000 crowdfunding campaign, based on a €4.5m valuation, on the Dublin-based Spark Crowdfunding platform to support the startup.
“It’s like a virtual stock market for players and teams,” Mr Power told the Irish Independent.
“We’re basically allowing sports fans to speculate on player or team performance.”
He said that ASX is looking at several models, including a standalone exchange for fans and a ‘white label’ solution for major sports teams or media operators.
“There are opportunities for teams and clubs to own their fans’ engagement in this type of activity,” he said. “They’d like to keep [the fans] on their own site rather than see them going elsewhere to do all that online activity.”
Mr Power has recruited the Racing Post’s commercial director, Mike Griffin, to be the new company’s CEO. The former Banco Santander electronic foreign exchange technology lead, Conall Flood, has also joined. Other early recruits include former JP Morgan and Paddy Power employees and executives.
“I’ve been working on this myself for the last couple of years, but it has gotten to the stage now where I have to hand over the keys to the grown ups,” he said of his new executive team.
Mr Power said that he will remain as a ‘brand ambassador’ for Paddy Power Betfair, which trades on the stock market as Flutter.
Asked whether he thought the two roles might clash, he said that ASX is currently “tiny” compared to the long-established betting giant.
The US market is the startup’s primary target, he said.
“The size of the gambling market there is bonkers big and getting even bigger,” he said. “But even though it’s mainly a US sports vision at the moment, there’s no reason why it won’t work in other sports and markets.”
He said his name has been an asset “opening doors”.