After quietly acquiring two important sports pool platforms in 2021 called RunYourPool.com and OfficeFootballPool.com, Splash Inc., a flagship sports gaming platform for peer-to-peer contests based in Denver, Colorado, is ready to officially debut its real money gaming platform called Splash Sports next month.
Preparing to enter real money gaming:
The company’s portfolio currently includes two aforementioned websites, RunYourPool.com and OfficeFootballPool.com, which are responsible for organizing survivor competitions, bracket challenges and other pool-style games. Additionally, over the past two years, the company said it has “doubled the combined annual user base to 2.2 million and expanded to a staff of 55 people as it prepares to enter real money gaming starting next month.”
What’s more, in order to fund acquisitions and growth, Splash has assembled “eight-figures” pools from well-known sports team owners, executives and VCs, involving Jonathan Kraft (New England Patriots), Mike Gordon and Sam Kennedy (Fenway Sports), Theo Epstein (MLB), Doc O’Connor (Arctos Sports Partners), Elysian Park Ventures (Los Angeles Dodgers) and Accomplice, a VC firm that was among the first supporters of DraftKings.
The main goal of the company:
The company’s main goal is to develop a healthy gaming business that will be regulated like a fantasy site, but without the huge customer acquisition costs that have plagued famous American sportsbooks such as FanDuel, DraftKings or Caesars, who have spent billions during the last few years on ads, free bets and celebrity sponsorship. In this regard, co-founder Joel Milton said in an interview: “We don’t need to go out and sign Halle Berry, the Manning family or J.B. Smoove. We don’t need Jamie Foxx running though fountains. We have very low customer acquisition costs, which is part of what we love about this business.”
However, Milton refused to comment on the particular size of the funding round, or the price paid to purchase the two aforementioned pool sites. But, he added that “both were profitable at the time of acquisition, and both were valued on EBITDA multiples.”
Independent management of two sports pool websites:
Milton and his co-founder, TJ Ross, who have been at the same golf pool for nearly a decade, were initially attracted to pools as a business because of what they described as strong clients loyalty, aka the desire of customers to return to the same pool every year and their commitment to a certain platforms. In this regard Milton said: “Americans wager an estimated $10 billion in office-style pools each year, and most of that happens offline, via cash payments or money sent through platforms like Venmo. Splash is hoping to draw from that popularity.”
Furthermore, the firm has independently managed RunYourPool and OfficeFootballPools since acquiring them in 2021 and started experimenting with design, function and marketing changes. However, both sites charge commissioners a small fee per attendee (that has been the main source of income up until now), but all pools with entry fees have had to process those payments elsewhere.
Splash Sports official debut:
Looking ahead, RunYourPool and OfficeFootballPool will continue to work as free entertainment-only sites, and a third platform, called Splash Sports, will debut to involve payment processing for entry fees and reward money. Splash Sports’ income will be generated through sponsorship and a cut of the entry fees, which will range depending on the size of the pool.
The aforementioned group also intends to award commissioners with bonuses for holding their pools on Splash Sports, money collected from new users and handle size. For example, a pool with a $20 entry consisting of 25 new users would pay the commissioner $137.50, according to a deck reviewed by Sportico. On a larger scale, however, the group wants “those economics draw interest from people with large social followings, who can serve as more effective marketing leads.”
Splash Sports will officially debut in 29 states, involving the three most populous states in the US such as California, Texas and Florida, none of which have widely available legal sports betting. In this regard, Splash CMO Kyle Christensen, who previously held the same role in PointsBet’s North American business, said: “We’ve really looked at ourselves similar to an Uber or an AirBnB, because we don’t really care who wins, whereas sportsbooks really do have an interest in the outcome of events.”