1. Briefly discuss about "Game Plan" and how the idea came up?
Being a techie and sports fan, I was always looking for ways to connect both of my passions, be that organizing esport tournaments or playing indoor games or outdoor sports. I was always looking for opportunities which could be monetized and something I was passionate about. I am such an avid fan of Manchester United that I spent the entire night watching twitter and youtube interviews of Paul Pogba to find out the hotel he was staying at in New York, which was almost a two hour long ride from my place. I took the early morning's first train to go there and waited there till afternoon to get a photo with him and a signature on the jersey. My love for football and English Premier League grew more from playing the fantasy sports game of English Premier League (FPL) from my school days. That's where the idea came up.
2. What is the motivation behind launching and to what purpose Game plan is being formed?
While I was completing my Masters in Cyber Security from Stevens Institute of Technology in the USA, I was following the news of a potential merger between two of the largest fantasy sport operators in USA. Also, I saw the growth of the fantasy sports ecosystem in India during that time which inspired me a lot to do something similar for Bangladeshi market. I wanted to give our sport loving fans a chance to enjoy a local fantasy sports platform where they would be able to engage more socially, know their local players better and also use their skills to be able to win rewards. So, I came back to Bangladesh and started planning on Game Plan.
3. What is Fantasy sports? How it works, and how one can find it interesting?
Fantasy sports is a game of skill where one gets together with a group of friends or just a bunch of other people whom they meet online who really likes sports. For an upcoming real life match the participants assemble imaginary teams of real world players. So, for a fantasy cricket match between Bangladesh & India, you would have one wicket-keeper, two batsmen, one all-rounder, two bowlers from team Bangladesh and have remaining players from team India. Everyone in the competition creates their own team as per their knowledge, and then the teams compete against each other. So, how do you decide who wins? Well, there is a scoring system based on points for certain actions. For example, a player taking a wicket is 5 points, and a wicket-keeper doing a stumping is 4 points etc. Whichever team has the highest score at the end of the game, wins.
4. Could you tell us how users can participate in it and what procedure one needs to follow to participate?
Our app is available for both iOS and Android platforms. iOS users can download our app directly from the App Store. Unfortunately, Google Play does not allow fantasy sports apps in their store. As a result, our users will have to download the app from our website: http://playgameplan.com. After installing the app, they can start creating their fantasy teams for the matches we offer.
5. How do you plan on developing awareness for Game Plan and fantasy sports in Bangladesh?
There is a difference between game of chance and game of skills and people need to know about that first. Because of the "skill" element, fantasy sports is not gambling. We can call any play a 'game of skill' when a player invests his time learning, practising and honing the skills. In such games, success principally depends upon the superior knowledge, training, experience and adroitness of the player. With games of skill, the player is allowed to influence the outcome by making decisions. There can still be a good amount of luck involved, but as opposed to all games of odds, here it can be affected by the player’s smart moves. Fantasy sport concept is still very new in Bangladesh and we not only need to educate our user base but also need to make this regulated so that there is no further confusion regarding legality of it. Hence, we are trying to reach out to as many people and media as possible to spread the modality of fantasy sports, benefits of the users and government.
6. How the contests get formed and from what type of tournaments or games do you get the best responses so far?
We are a crazy cricket nation and cricket games get the most responses in our platform. Like for the last few months we were covering various T10 cricket tournaments happening around Europe, Taiwan, Afghanistan and many more. On the other hand there were Europa League or Champions League football matches. And guess what? Responses were higher for the cricket games. All they need is a platform where they can follow the game, be it live streaming or commentary or just score updates by which they can analyze the player's past performance to assemble their team.
For any particular game, one can choose to participate in the free contests where if they win they will get rewards in game coins. After collecting enough coins or purchasing directly from us, one can participate in the paid contests where they can win various types of rewards including cash.
7. How this pandemic affects your operation?
8. What were the previous and current challenges faced by Game Plan? How will Game Plan adapt to future challenges? How the participants can be rewarded and what are the procedures to get the cash prize?
One of our main challenges is to make our user base educated about fantasy sports and make it regulated. Apart from that, due to Covid-19 pandemic entertainment is going to be more mobile centric and we want to capitalize this opportunity.
For now we are providing just cash rewards which can be disbursed directly to the user's bKash/Rocket account or mobile recharge.
9. So far, Game Plan focuses on Football and Cricket. Are there plans to add more sports?
Yes, definitely. We want to promote our local sports and sportsperson through our platform. Apart from Cricket and Football, we have plans to add Hockey, Kabadi, Basketball games in future.
10. Let us know if there is any plan to expand your digital platform and what more we can expect from Game Plan? Is there a chance for global expansion?
Fantasy sport is just one vertical of the full ecosystem we are trying to build: one stop place for all the sports and gaming enthusiasts. Right now we are focusing fully on capturing the Bangladesh market first and then we can think about global expansion.