In more than one way, the newly launched Fan League manager game for iOS and Android experiments with a different approach than most other manager games.
First of all, Fan League is a manager game for mobile devices, which just launched its first league, the Danish handball league. The game was released last week and is developed by the newly founded Danish startup studio, Fan League Aps, with a team consisting of 2 people in Denmark, and a developing team of 8 in India.
The game represents CEO and founder, Thomas Heltborg Juul’s first entrance into the games industry, although he has previously worked as both head of marketing at the Danish newspaper, Børsen, and founded several startups outside of the games industry before.
However, without knowledge about the industry, you will have a hard time getting far, and Juul is aware of this, which is also why the team is currently in dialog with 2 potential co-founders to join the Danish team.
“We are in dialog with 2 potential “co-founders” to join the team in DK as well as we are setting a board of senior executives from the internet and gaming industry.”, Juul says to NordicGameBits.
The flipside of never having worked within the games industry, however, is that you might be able to see a whole in the market that people working within the industry have not yet discovered. A whole that Thomas Heltborg Juul firmly believes that Fan League has found.
“We believe there is a whole in the market for manager games – and we’re aiming to fill that whole out. Many of the existing games target hardcore fans who have lots of time to setup their teams and follow the sport closely. Our game targets those on the run who might be about to watch a game and would like to add an additional dimension to that experience – without spending a lot of time doing so”, Juul explains.
The business model employed by Fan League is very unconventional for the mobile games industry. It is not a premium game, but nor is it based on in-app purchases or traditional banner advertisements. Instead, each league such as the recently launched handball league and the upcoming football league, launch in cooperation with a sponsoring partner. For the handball league, the sponsor was broadcast television company, Boxer, and for the Football league it will be online betting site, Unibet.
From within the app, the point is that both Boxer and Unibet will be able to activate sponsorships and create engagement with their target groups. In return, the two sponsors finance the first few months of development as well the cash prize rewards that players will win if they beat everyone else in the manager game.
“We see the partnerships as a way to get into the market and finance the first critical period.”, Juul says.
Some may wonder how well this business model will scale as the game gets popular and expands to other regions, and Juul emphasizes that the current business model is not the one that Fan League will stick with forever.
“So far its financed by sponsors and affiliate partners but on the longer perspective Fan League will be financed by users in a way we are not able to reveal at the moment.”, he says.
While the game has just launched in Denmark, the goal is to have the app launched in several other regions before the end of the year. In that sense, Denmark can be seen as primarily being a test market for an eventual global expansion.
However, although the goal is to reach as many regions as possible, the expansion will be taken one region at a time, as this will allow the Fan League team to properly setup strategic partnerships in each region before entering the market at full speed.
“Within the next 6-12 we aim to be present in 3-4 of the big sports markets like for instance UK. Right now we are working on preparations for a cross boarder business model. In our case this requires a number of strategic partners.”, Juul concludes.