An Irish start-up has just landed a significant deal with Premier League side West Bromich Albion, providing a tailored app for supporters of the club to communicate with each other and play fantasy football games.
The Kilkenny-based Sportego provides fantasy sports apps across both GAA and soccer at the moment, with the West Brom agreement the highest profile yet by the company.
With just four staff members, Sportego has been around for about a year, with the last six months seeing Trevor Keane and his team travelling around the UK and Ireland seeking out partners for what, on first look, seems a pretty cool app.
When you log in you choose your favourite Brom player (James McClean), then you can see all the social media interaction across multiple platforms, predict scores, play fantasy football or get live match updates.
Soccer apps take time
“We spent a lot of time developing our product,” said Keane, chief executive of the company. “We’re very happy with what we think is a very strong product.”
Sportego got backing from Howzat Partners, which helped the company on its way, with the past few months seeing Keane meeting rugby, soccer and GAA clubs on both sides of the Irish Sea, learning about their fan engagement challenges.
“We tailored our app as a solution to that,” said Keane, pointing out that he was “lucky enough” to get to meet West Brom officials face-to-face, convincing them of a partnership.
“They liked how it was a rounded product,” he says.
Available on iOS and Android, the free app doesn’t appear fully polished just yet. A quick browse of the Fantasy Football service – which sees users choose their five players to watch in the upcoming West Brom game (against Chelsea) – showed up a few errors.
Didier Drogba, Oriel Romeu and Felipe Luis, for example, aren’t on Chelsea’s books, while Juan Cuadrado might be surprised to find his doppleganger Juan Guillermo, challenging him for a right-wing slot.
No worries, though, insisted Keane, who says all issues will be sorted by next week, when the official launch happens.
There’s a number of apps, actually. I quickly had a look at the company’s League of Ireland variant and I noticed a few things. Firstly, my same login worked on both this and the West Brom one, which was a nice touch.
Secondly, a heartening ‘This app does not require any special permissions’ is a welcome relief from the usual longl ist of privacy you need to forego to avail of services.
It looks clever, this. I’m going to keep an eye on it for the next while and see if it takes off. There are, of course, several other apps for football fans out there, if this doesn’t tickle your fancy.
Main image via Shutterstock