We got the chance to speak to Scott San Emeterio from BallStreet about the future of sports betting and their plans for invitation in a post-PASPA world.
BallStreet is a free-to-play real-time peer-to-peer prediction market that allows fans to compete against each other during live events. Currently offering markets across; NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, NBA Free Agency and TV. Based in New York City BallStreet aims to define the second screen experience for fans watching live events. They have recently soft launched during the NCAA Tournament and already are approaching 10K users on the platform in only 3 months. BallStreet is positioning themselves to be a leader in monetizing the fan experience.
About Scott San Emeterio
Scott San Emeterio is CEO of BallStreet Trading. After spending the last 13 years at Credit Suisse working in Fixed Income Trading, specifically MBS Sub Prime during the financial crisis (2007-2010) as well as regulatory oversight post crisis San Emeterio has taken on the role of CEO at BallStreet. He has focused on building up the development team and platform ahead of their most recent soft launch. His background includes several years in the online poker space as well as a deep understanding of the gaming industry.
The BallStreet app has been getting a lot of attention in the context of TV shows like GoT. Do you consider your customer base to be interested in any type of betting or will you be focusing more on sports betting in the future?
San Emeterio: Our focus is creating engaging experiences for our fans to enhance any real-time event. With TV it’s a bit of a challenge given the current way people consume content via binging, streaming or DVRing their favorite shows. Sports is the last real-time experience we all have to enjoy something together at the same time.
With GoT we had a unique opportunity to bring our players along for the ride during the season because everyone was watching live. As those opportunities present themselves we will look to create experiences on BallStreet for fans to watch and compete during them. We think the future of fan engagement will be through second screen experiences and hope to help define what that looks like beyond just sports.
You mentioned in an interview with EGR that the online betting industry needs something new and fresh. How do you see the U.S. sports betting market evolve with new technology and what is BallStreet’s vision for the coming 2-3 years?
San Emeterio: I think the sports betting markets have seen little to no innovation. The reaction from operators in the post PASPA world has been to roll out with the existing sports book model that they have been running for years in Las Vegas or in Europe.
With the rush of new money and brain power into the industry my expectation is over the next 3-5 years we will begin to see much more unique and niche style products for players to use. The idea of the conventional sports book is one that will become exposed with new ideas and technologies that are already on their way.
”Which fan is more happy leaving a Yankee game, the one who stared at the Budweiser sign in right field or the one who won a free beer from Budweiser after truly engaging with the brand all game?”
BallStreet wants to be a compliment to real-time experiences. Our goal is to be as far away from a conventional sports book model as we can. In the post PASPA world we believe the true value will be in creating the fan experience and not a sports book model.
We have begun the framework to partner with brands looking to better engage with customers during live events. Fans get to have a great experience competing against thousands of other fans during a game without any risk and a chance to win prizes.
Brands win because they get to communicate directly with fans in real-time as well as offer true value to those fans through leveraging ad spend as a rewards program.
Which fan is more happy leaving a Yankee game, the one who stared at the Budweiser sign in right field or the one who won a free beer from Budweiser after truly engaging with the brand all game?
Live betting or in-play betting is growing. How does BallStreet plan to capitalize on this trend?
San Emeterio: Its hard to ignore the attraction to in-play gaming but the realities of live betting are very complicated and complex. I think the industry is a good 3-5 years away from a system that gives the player the experience that I think everyone assumes it to be today.
Liquidity in the market is the key to live betting and the current model doesn’t allow for a liquid enough market to truly be real-time so players suffer with bad lines , limits, or even no lines at all for long periods during a live game.
BallStreet is currently free-to-play – do you have plans to transition players to real-money customers in the future? What would that model look like?
San Emeterio: BallStreet is free-to-play and we are focusing on creating a true second screen experience for fans without the hang up of conventional sports betting. Our platform is peer-to-peer and uses our unique software to offer real-time prices in real-time.
As we grow and ideally make strategic partnerships we will likely look to offer a real money system that will look very much like a contest in DFS or poker where players would come in and play a single game for $20+$2 where we would pay out the top 20% $100 each. Our goal would be to pay out a flat and democratic prize structure to pay out more people more money more often.
What are your thoughts on the U.S. sports betting market since May 2018 when sports betting finally became legal again?
San Emeterio: I think after the initial consolidation to leverage licenses and user data bases we are now starting to see the real momentum shift in the space. We are now starting to see non-gaming companies make partnerships and deals to better position themselves into the space. This is the biggest indicator that we are in for major change in the next 3-5 years.
Sports viewership is the true value behind sports gaming and those companies who are able to define a clear path to take advantage of that through technology and fan engagement will be those who define how we all enjoy sports in the next decade.
”The day PASPA was repealed was the day the sports book as we know it died”
The day PASPA was repealed was the day the sports book as we know it died. With the introduction of new technology everyday this is the beginning of a transformation on how Americans consume sports beyond just placing a bet.
The sports betting industry has gone from a one size fits all to what will be come a customized experience for every sports fan. Those companies who see this post PASPA world beyond just gambling, in my opinion, will be rewarded and the true winners in the sports entertainment revolution we are all witnessing in real-time.