Champions Round, a fantasy league startup that caters to Gen Z sports fans, today announced that it has raised $7 million in new Series A funding.
The funding round will be used to develop a new “Creator Rooms” feature, which gives sports content creators the opportunity to further engage with young gamers by creating fantastic sports content and games, whether it’s to host a two-week combined NHL and NBA snake draft. , create polls and more.
Series A was co-led by Point72 Ventures and Goodwater Capital, with additional investments from Pipeline Capital, Quest Venture Partners, Mana Ventures, Band of Angels and Gaingels. To date, the company has raised $10 million.
Users, especially Gen Z users, are moving away from traditional fantasy sports, where leagues are tied to entire seasons. Instead, many users opt for daily fantasy sports (DFS), a subcategory of fantasy sports games, where players compete over short periods of time rather than an entire season. The Fantasy Sports & Gaming Association (FSGA) reported that more than 30 million people in the United States participate in DFS, up 12% from 2019.
Champions Round offers a version of it that it dubbed “micro fantasy sports”, which are shorthand games that users can play daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly. For example, users can draft and manage a team around a single event like the NFL Draft, eliminating the need for a season-long commitment.
FanDuel and DraftKings currently dominate the everyday fantasy sports industry. However, the majority of DFS games require money to play. Meanwhile, Champions Round offers two options: free or buy-in.
“Fantasy sports historically require long commitments, rarely reward their players, and can be very difficult and tedious to play,” Champions Round co-founder and CEO Carter Russ said in a statement. “With a rock-solid gameplay loop, we’ve developed short games that invite friends to play with each other over and over again.”
As Champions Round continues to invest in its Gen Z-focused app, it will launch a new Creator Rooms feature in July 2023. The upcoming feature will help creators monetize a wider audience, the company claims.
Champions Round told TechCrunch that it rewards content creators for playing fantasy league games with their subscribers. The company didn’t specify how much influencers earn, but said it was based on engagement and number of signups.
Eventually, Champions Round will automatically pay creators within the platform for “engagement, signups, cosmetic items sold in their rooms, revenue share, and ad revenue,” the company told us.
Some notable first and third-party content creators include Dom2k, Fantasy Football Analyst, Dan Titus, Jeff HasleyTrell Jones, Spencer Aguiar, Steph Petits and more.
“[Gen Z] does not watch full sports matches, but rather consumes sports on social media by following content creators, athletes, teams, personalities and highlights. By creating games that fit this bite-sized serialized sports fandom, we are truly meeting their needs,” the company added.
Champions Round has also received support from professional sportspeople, according to the company. This includes former NBA point guard Baron Davis, Kansas City Chiefs running back Melvin Gordon, New Orleans Saints safety Tyrann Mathieu and basketball player Zaire Wade (the son of the former Kansas City shooting guard). Miami Heat Dwayne Wade), among others.
The recent funding will go towards its content business, which includes social media platforms (Instagram, TwitterTikTok and Discord), podcasts and YouTube channel.
Additionally, it will allow the company to build a new marketing department as well as double the overall size of its team to around 30-60 employees. Recently, former President and COO of Activision Blizzard, Coddy Johnson, joined the board.
Champions Round was founded in 2018 by Russ, an entrepreneur who ruled his fantasy basketball league for over a decade, and Chase Payne, who has over 15 years of experience with game companies like Electronic Arts and Zynga. . Payne was also a founding member of Major League Fantasy, a daily fantasy sports network acquired by Latitude 360 in 2015.
“We wanted to find ways to recreate social moments for sports any time of the year,” Russ told us. “We felt empowered to return to the core that made sports gaming most meaningful: playing with our friends. What used to be an annual cadence, fantasy sports, we felt strongly should be available at any time, regardless of cash prizes.
The app launched to the public in September 2021. In 2022, Champions Round averaged 28% month-over-month growth, which the company said was organic growth. The new marketing department will likely help increase its user base. The average user is 22 years old.
The company also boasted that it has become profitable recently. “We did something that very few fantasy sports operators have ever done: turn a profit,” Russ and Payne noted.
Champions Round features six game modes: “Daily Dozen”, where users can choose from 12 accessories each day; “Boost Ball”, which is the typical snake draft format; “Big Board”, which allows users to snake-draft a selection of incoming leads; “Spicy Slips”, a prediction game; “7 Stakes”, where players answer questions to earn points; and “Sunday’s Best”, a game dedicated to draft players from NFL teams that only play on Sundays.
Users can participate in private competitions with up to 16 friends or be assigned to public leagues with strangers.
Currently, Champions Round primarily features games for the NFL and NBA. It also offers games for Esports fans. By 2024, it will expand to more leagues, like English Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga, Formula 1, League of Legends, Rocket League, Apex Legends, Fortnite and more .
Like sports betting apps, Champions Round users in the US can only play for real money in over 35 states, including Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, ‘Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Oklahoma. , Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Virginia and more.
In addition to cash prizes, Champions Round features in-game memorabilia and digital collectibles like jerseys and helmets, as well as leaderboards, other gamification features and more. As users participate in more leagues, earn points, or make in-app purchases, they will eventually qualify for exclusive leagues that offer bigger cash prizes.
Additionally, Champions Round plans to add more “customization, progression, and metagame achievements” for its game modes.
Champions Round is available worldwide. The app can be downloaded on iOS and Android devices.
Leave a Reply