Daily Fantasy Meets the Stock Market via Jock MKT

“Set it and forget it” was the frequently repeated tagline for the Ronco Rotisserie & BBQ oven; the rhyming catchphrase is arguably one of the most memorable infomercial taglines ever. A similar mentality is utilized in daily fantasy sports where users draft or select a lineup ahead of a day’s slate of action, set it, and sit back in the hopes that their selections heat up on the field, resulting in more money in their account.

Rather than cursing at the TV when a player has an underwhelming performance or rushing to the waiver wire to pick up a backup if a starter gets injured, Jock MKT offers fantasy players and sports bettors an alternative.

Users can purchase “shares” of a player in real-time—whether it’s three hours before kickoff or late in the game—then have the ability to cash out at any point by selling to another user in-game or by holding on until the end to receive fixed payouts tied to final player rankings and overall fantasy scoring.

The stock market has officially met fantasy sports.

“It’s one of those things where the concept itself—a fantasy sports stock exchange—isn’t necessarily new,” Jock MKT co-founder Tyler Carlin said. “Michael Lewis wrote about it back in 2007 or something like that. It’s been around for a while and there’s been a few iterations on it but none have stuck, so I spent a lot of time trying to identify what issues were with those.”

Jock MKT launched a free-to-play beta in June when the PGA Tour returned to action following suspension at the height of the coronavirus pandemic. The NBA bubble was next for Jock MKT, followed by the 2020-21 NFL season. Available in 34 states via iOS and coming to Android within the next two weeks, Carlin said they wanted to include MLB but were concerned about the league’s uncertainty this season, and is looking into expanding into baseball, tennis, soccer, NASCAR and other sports.

The platform offers users two game formats: market and contest. In the market format, users can purchase “shares” of a player at any time and sell at any time to another user or cash out at the end of the game. In contest, users start with an equal share of virtual chips they use to bid on players during a predetermined auction-style IPO period. Cash prizes are paid out at the end for users’ final chip count.

Jock MKT’s first round of funding which closed in September was led by Will Ventures, Accomplice founding partner Ryan Moore, an early investor and current board member of DraftKings, poker and DFS pro Brandon Adams, Alumni Ventures Group, and local Boston angel Tim McSweeney.

“It’s the ultimate complement to what has been traditional fantasy sports, which is the ultimate engagement,” said Will Ventures founding partner and managing director Isaiah Kacyvenski, who played eight seasons in the NFL. “It’s highly engaging. You can make this as simple as you want to make it or as complex as you want to make it. It all depends on what you want to make of it.”

During Week 6 of the NFL, Jock MKT users spent an average of 90 minutes in the app investing as little as $3 and as much as $2,500. Based on their performances, Minnesota Vikings rookie wide receiver Justin Jefferson and Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry yielded the top two return on investments at +515% and +412%, respectively. Aaron Rodgers proved to be the worst investment with a -83% ROI after throwing for just 160 yards with two interceptions and no touchdowns in a 38-10 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Unsurprisingly, Jimmy Butler’s performance during the NBA Finals proved to be the best return at +59%, though LeBron James was the only player to have a positive return in all six games en route to his fourth NBA championship. Kyle Kuzma, on the other hand, had a negative return in each game at -63% overall for the Finals. Carlin said they saw an average in-app session of 1.5 hours for each NBA Finals game.

“One of the things we know and Tyler 100% knows is this idea of the casual daily fantasy player,” Kacyvenski said. “Instead of the 1% hardcore players in the space, how do you lower that hurdle to engage more people easier? That’s been a bit of a white whale in the DFS and skill-based gaming space. To reach the casual daily fantasy player and casual bettor around that is something that’s been tough to crack, but this is the ultimate entree into that. The hyper engagement numbers are eye-popping.”

The exchange-model betting and in-game markets offered by Jock MKT are seldom seen in the United States simply based on the complexities of legislation which aren’t permitted at the national level, while these models dominate sports betting in Europe which has a history of it.

Jock MKT is slowly gaining traction with thousands of users and tens of thousands of dollars traded per week, according to Carlin. He anticipates The Masters, being played November 12-15 as a result of the pandemic, and NFL playoffs being major events for Jock MKT over the next few months.

“We’ve been doing contests as free-to-play which serve as an intro to the platform to get people comfortable for now,” he said. “I think people are trying to get familiar with it, so maybe they’ll deposit $20 and see how it goes. People who are more comfortable are going heavier. We’re also trying to pull out as much financial terminology as we can making it feel like a DFS game like it is.”

NOTE: First appeared on Forbes SportsMoney

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