End of term report – how did the different platforms do in 2020?

There is a growing breed of football betting platforms that sit outside of the norm. 2020 saw more growth in this sector but it’s not been plain sailing. So, just for fun, if we were going to write an end of term school report for each of them, how would they each have fared?

Football Index: F

Football Index is a kid with loads of potential and several promising years under his belt. We have high hopes for him. But this year has been a different story and his grades have dropped sharply. The high-flyer went off the rails mid-year… we have started to wonder if there was trouble at home? Daddy left in December and there’s a new man of the house but we’re yet to see any improvement in his performance. May need to be tested for deafness also.

Yeah, 2020 has been a rough year for FI traders, after an initially positive start to the year. Well done if you’ve managed to hang on this far (and especially well done if you sold up before it all went tits up with the botched introduction of order books in the autumn). It’s tough to say what next year will bring for the platform but we’re essentially dealing with a whole different beast now and it’s a case of rebuilding from the ground up, with FI urgently needing to restore confidence as they do this. Some big changes will be required to address the issues that have left the platform in such a crocked state.

There’s a long way to go from here but every possibility that things could snap back quite quickly. The yields on some players are ridiculous at the moment, underlining just how far things have dropped. The recently introduction of high profile new players to the platform, such as Gio Reyna, suggests a big advertising push is just around the corner. Perhaps we’ll be back on an even keel by the Euros?

Footstock: B+

Footstock is an increasingly solid performer. He keeps learning and adapting, and is gradually becoming more studious and less distracted by silly games – showing signs of maturity perhaps? Has made friends with one of the popular kids in class, ‘Kammy’ and that seems to have moved him into the ‘in crowd’ in school. Still some concerns about how long he can keep up with everyone else and some issues with consistency yet to be addressed.

Now in the second year of the platform, Footstock has moved past some initial teething troubles and now looks like a solid platform. Changes have been made to address some of the concerns about card circulation, and updates to the website and app have given everything a much slicker feel. In making these changes, some of the more gimmicky aspects – the ‘games’ – have been pushed into the background, which appears to be a deliberate move to push the platform more towards the DFS crowd. There are still issues to address with initial outlay on the platform, with the cost of cards, plus the cost of buying into tournaments being off-putting for some.

The marketing tie-in with Kammy (Chris Kamara) has been accompanied by a big advertising push across social media. Despite the growth in the platform, the team are still very close to the users and quick to respond to feedback. Footstock have every intention of hitting the Euros hard so 2021 could be another year of growth for the platform.

Sportstack Careers: No grade (suspended)

Sportstack Careers only arrived at school towards the end of the year. His brother, ‘Matchday’ has been doing well for sometime. He had a rough start, getting on the wrong side of various people straight away and struggled to make friends, although he was excelling in his IT class. Sadly he had to be suspended for copying someone else’s homework (badly). Unclear yet if he’ll be returning so he’s ‘ungraded’ in the meantime.

Well this is a messy one isn’t it? The sudden arrival of Sportstack Careers in mid-November was a pleasant surprise, even if the initial launch was far from a success. If nothing else, it looked to offer a kick up the backside to Football Index – a bit of healthy competition.

The tech was slick, the scoring matrix was logical and the yields were ok – if you were comfortable sitting on your holds and accruing a few pence every week (although I was never sure how this was actually profitable for Sportstack themselves). All looked to be going well until the platform was suddenly pulled on the 23rd December, following engagement with the Gambling Commission and Financial Conduct Authority and due to uncertainty over the appropriate regulatory regime for the product. What a shame.

Who knows if we’ll see another version of this in the future – perhaps a season-long game that satisfies the needs of the Gambling Commission? Either way, it should be noted that Sportstack did the honourable thing and refunded customers in full, including covering losses and dividends earned.

Sorare: A

Sorare arrived as an exchange student from France and quickly became one of the most popular kids in school. Well travelled, with a global outlook which adds to his maturity – although it’s clear he knows how to have fun too! He can take a little while to get to know and the language barrier can be an issue at times. Is still in the early stages of development with much still to learn but is showing great promise.

It’s hard to argue against 2020 being a breakout year for Sorare. I don’t even think I’d heard of the platform before this year but now it seems to be the word on everyone’s lips. Coming from France, and presented as a ‘fantasy game’, rather than a gambling platform, Sorare seems to have side-stepped the issues with expansion into new territories that other platforms struggle with – underpinning its potential.

It’s not the easiest platform to get into, with the language of crypto to learn alongside the platform rules, some leagues that you might not be familiar with, and a potentially hefty outlay of cash to really get going. But once on board, it’s definitely fun. With over 100 clubs signed up now, including Juventus, PSG, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid, and backing from the likes of Andre Schurrle and Gerard Pique, it looks likely that Sorare will continue to go from strength to strength in 2021.

FiveYards: Yet to be graded

FiveYards is the new kid in school so it’s a bit early to come to any conclusions about his performance. Always smiling but seems a little unfocused in class and a bit of a dreamer. Likely to need some time to find his feet.

I won’t say too much about FiveYards here as I’m about to publish a longer blog about this new platform. Launched at the end of November, FiveYards aims to be the place to prove your expertise as a football scout and, if you want, put your money where your mouth is and buy a share in the players you rate, collecting dividends if they perform. Essentially it sounds like a simpler version of Football Index, with a bit of blogging thrown in. So far, so good.

Like the now defunct Sportstack Careers, FiveYards doesn’t place a time limit on the length of your holding in a player, so you could collect dividends for their entire career if you want. This model looks a bit questionable at the moment, given the problems that Sportstack ran into, so perhaps it’s best to reserve judgement (and money) until this is clarified.

Agree with my grades or do you think I’m wide of the mark? Let me know.

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