Irish start-up aims to revamp fantasy sports industry

20 Apr 2010

A new Irish-based online platform that combines community-based betting with social media is kicking off just in time for the FIFA 2010 World Cup.

Start-up (U Bet Ya!), which has just been released in Beta test mode, allows users to play fantasy sports and sports prediction games against friends and colleagues for fun or for real money. Its official launch will coincide with the FIFA 2010 World Cup in June.

“ is designed with the next generation of sports fans in mind and based on the principle of the any time, anywhere, any place consumption of media and entertainment,” said CEO Paul Cooling.

Fantasy football, for example, involves picking a team of players and comparing your team’s performance, based on statistical analysis of real-life games, with those of your opponents, who, given the same option may have chosen alternative players. The concept, which rewards the most knowledgeable and passionate of participants, has proven a powerful draw to fans, said.’s work on fantasy sports gaming said it feels it has built something more sophisticated, social and exciting for fantasy sports players, who, said, had been missing out on innovation with respect to the fantasy sports market in Europe. also plans to address problems with fantasy sports: managing community-based bets and the time commitment involved – in fantasy games, players have to play for the entire season. The firm is introducing social media to fantasy football, striving to make the game a more engaging experience. The platform also aims to provide a solution for community-based betting, taking the hassle out of this off-line activity.’s solution also provides immediacy for users to play fantasy football weekly, monthly or for the whole season. has signed up Setanta Sports Ireland as its sports media partner and as a commercial partner for its World Cup Fantasy Football competition. The deal is part of a major promotional push for surrounding the FIFA World Cup.

Trevor Twamley, Setanta Sports head of advertising sales, said: “As the world’s largest football event nears, it is crucial for Setanta to engage with real fans and to share their passion for football. The fantasy football linkup with Ubecha is perfect for us.”

“It’s a very interesting space to be in now with the explosion of social gaming,” Cooling said. “The popularity of fantasy sports shows no sign of waning with strong growth over the last number of years globally and this is predicted to continue.”

Fantasy sports facts

The American market alone has in excess of 27m fantasy sports players and the market is valued in excess of $2.5bn. In the UK, the Barclays Premier League alone has 2.3m players and the site has grown year on year by more than 20pc since its inception.

“Our strategy is to shake up the fantasy sports market with a new approach and ultimately provide a superior fantasy gaming experience to what currently exists in the marketplace. Ireland is very much our test market and post-World Cup we will be rolling Ubecha out to more territories and will have exciting developments in terms of the sports we offer and new features,” Cooling added.