Bringing Fantasy Sports to the Bar With MyInteractiveVision

10/3/12Follow @XconomyDET

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a top-rated fantasy receiver because he’s one of quarterback Matt Stafford‘s main targets. (If I’ve already lost you, go here for a better explanation—like most hardcore players, I don’t have much patience when it comes to explaining this stuff to the uninitiated.)

What’s missing from fantasy, Jung and Freeman say, is that it’s not especially conducive to socializing in sports bars.  Fantasy players don’t watch games so much as they watch stats, which is why those ever-present tickers run along the bottom of the screen during football games and why there’s an entire channel, NFL Red Zone, that’s devoted to cycling through all the day’s games and jumping from touchdown to touchdown in real time. But with MyInteractiveVision’s technology, developed at Wayne State University incubator TechTown, Jung and Freeman hope that will soon change.

“The people who like to hang out in sports bars are usually above average socioeconomically,” Jung notes. “But people are starting to stay home so they can watch TV with a laptop and check their fantasy scores. It’s hurting the sports bar industry.”

What MyInteractiveVision offers is a private network for bars, modeled after subscription trivia networks, that uses proprietary software to display a running total of live stats, player by player and position by position. Called MySportsVision, the network’s screen also includes a ticker with breaking sports news and integrated advertising. Every five minutes, a 15-second ad is shown as the content behind it grays out. But when the ad is over, the scrolling content picks up exactly where it left off—something that never happens with the TV stat tickers. (Once a channel cuts to commercial, the tickers stop and start over at the beginning, which sounds insignificant but can be tear-your-hair-out maddening when you’ve been waiting 10 minutes to see how your receivers are doing.)

Jung says that when he and Freeman were developing the software, they decided to test it in a local sports bar. “We just wanted to see the reaction,” he explains. “We found out the software works, that patrons loved being out in the open and not buried in their phones or calling someone else to see how their team’s doing. The bar owners loved it too. We saw people swarming around the screen.”

What also appeals to bar owners, Jung says, is that it allows them to put future events and specials on the screen and change them on the fly. Each screen is not only customizable to the bar, but also to advertisers. “Advertisers can address their ads to suburban locations differently than they would to urban locations,” he adds. “They can also do Spanish-language ads.” Jung says that the emergence of sports bars is a hot trend in China, and MySportsVision can come in a Mandarin version to accommodate that.

MyInteractiveVision plans to monetize its product through placement agreements with bars, though Jung says that cost will be minimal. The company also plans to sell advertising on the screen, and has already had a meeting with one of the Big Three automakers in search of capturing the relatively affluent fantasy demographic. “They told us fantasy players are their target demographic, but they don’t know how to reach them.”

Freeman says MyInterativeVision also plans to make its network interactive. After fantasy players complete a free registration process, the network will pull in their … Next Page »

Sarah Schmid is the editor of Xconomy Detroit. You can reach her at 313-570-9823 or sschmid@xconomy.com. Follow @XconomyDET

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