Web3, blockchain, digital assets. These buzzwords have been ever-present in the world of technology, sports, and entertainment in the last two years, but have often been referred to as future or next-generation technologies that have yet to be mastered.
Yet, with the rise of AI in 2023 and the rapid development of modern technologies, products that are making full use of advanced tech to create an engaging sports fan experience are coming to market. In essence, the future is here.
SimWin Sports is launching its 24/7/365 DFS product, which harnesses “Athletics Performance AI” (AP-AI) to create virtual teams and players, the actions of which will be determined by AI.
There are Hall of Fame team owners such as Magic Johnson, Jerry Rice, Marshall Faulk, Tracy McGrady, LaMelo Ball, while customers are invited to participate by purchasing digital players, who they can then train and develop then experience a DFS product.
Developing AI technology and creating the SimWin experience
David Ortiz, CEO of SimWin Sports, told SBC Americas that the company began developing this technology four years ago to “facilitate easy ownership and transfer of players” and “store AP-AI algorithms and results”.
Ortiz explained: “Web3 tech is foundational to the SimWin experience, but we aren’t chasing an emerging customer, or using it for marketing purposes. Blockchain simply delivers the utility our founders imagined when designing the experience, and we believe utility is the key to long-term success in Web3.”
Though advanced tech, AI, and web3 are central to SimWin’s product and experience, Ortiz played down any speculation of the company being a trailblazer in the space, instead explaining that the transition between web2 and web3 users is inevitable; SimWin just wants to attract users during that transition.
“Trailblazing Blockchain technology isn’t a goal for SimWin, it’s a by-product,” he remarked. “We are building an experience that has never been attempted before, the first truly AAA experience in Web3 gaming.
“We’ll build out this platform with more sports, more fantasy game experiences, and future interactive gaming experiences as well. We are pioneering experiences that will attract Web2 sports fans to Web3.”
Web3 often has connotations of being complex and difficult to use. Digital assets are often linked with a niche group of users. And perhaps this technology is difficult to develop, from a technological and software development perspective, yet SimWin is focused on creating a seamless user experience to soften the transition into new technology platforms.
The 24/7/365 DFS product will follow the typical DFS experience but utilize the AP-AI technology to create a more immersive experience. Projecting this vision, Ortiz explained, will be the key to the success of this product.
“From a consumer standpoint, SimWin’s experience is pretty simple, tune in to watch games and play fantasy sports 24/7/365, but as you get deeper into player ownership, player training, team ownership, the coaching simulation, Athletic Performance AI, sports book partnerships, etc, the complexity can become overwhelming.
“Education is key and is the focal point of our marketing efforts. Fans have to understand and trust the experience and it’s our job to build that trust.”
Building the team and positioning SimWin within the ecosystem
One thing that chimes through when speaking with SimWin is that the company is proud of its approach. A minority-owned business, DEI is the core of its company culture.
Ortiz noted that this, of course, does not impact the consumer experience, but that it is important from a cultural perspective and a positive culture makes for a positive workplace.
“SimWin is a proud minority-owned and led business. Beyond that, most of our owners, advisors, and investors are minorities as well. While these facts have zero impact on the consumer experience, they deeply affect our corporate culture and brand. SimWin is a culture-forward lifestyle brand that highlights minority talents, innovation, and partnerships across sports, gaming, music, fashion, etc. DEI isn’t a department at SimWin, it’s who we are.”
A key trend in the sports gaming industry over the last five years since the repeal of PASPA has been the transition of major DFS platforms into sportsbook giants.
FanDuel and DraftKings leveraged their vast DFS player databases to get a headstart on competitors and are still reaping the benefits to this day as the top two sportsbook operators.
But SimWin knows its position in the ecosystem; it’s ostensibly and unapologetically a DFS platform. Sure, it may partner with sportsbooks by licensing its data, but the platform itself will remain DFS.
“SimWin is not a sportsbook and will never take bets,” Ortiz asserted. “From a regulatory standpoint, we are a digital sports league and can not benefit from the outcome of any games. That said, like the NFL, NBA, EPL, etc, we will license our data and content to outside sports books that create lines and take bets on our games.
“Our data feeds are built just like those from other providers so it’s a pretty straightforward technical process to get sportsbooks involved. We also offer our game content to these partners to host on their platforms, so SimWin games could be viewed and played from within partner digital platforms or streamed into brick-and-mortar sportsbooks.”
As aforementioned, the platform utilizes the services of major sports and entertainment stars. Recently, the group announced that its new team – The Boston Legends – will be owned by Autograph, founded by one of the NFL’s most coveted stars, Tom Brady.
Aside from the authority that comes with having such star-studded team owners within its ranks, SimWin is aiming to reduce some of the “extremely high” customer acquisition costs that are often associated with the gaming industry in the US.
All team ownership groups have been granted affiliate marketing deals to help incentivize the onboarding of new users.
“This allows them to monetize their massive social media followings, engage their fans in new and innovative ways, and give them an outlet for their competitive fire. They invest millions to purchase these teams because it makes financial sense while being a fun and innovative experience for them.”