Building the Stock Market for Sports with Tyler Carlin
Co-Founder of Jock MKT
Jock MKT is where daily fantasy sports becomes the stock exchange.
At the intersection of accelerated trends in fan engagement and casual trading, Jock MKT is creating a new category within the in-play betting market. By utilizing a betting exchange model, their app facilitates a market in which users can buy and sell shares of professional athletes, for cash. At the same time, they allow fans to “stay in the game”, by trading with other users based on real-time performance.
Since launching in September of 2020, Jock MKT is live in 34 states and has already surpassed $2 million in user trades. Tyler Carlin, Co-Founder of Jock MKT, joins us to discuss how they are innovating within the in-play market, the consumer trends at the intersection of the “stock market for sports” proposition, and their plan to cater to the accelerated shifts in fan engagement.
Tell us about the current state of the in-play betting landscape, and where Jock MKT is building within this space?
Tyler Carlin: To start with context, Europe has a more mature sports betting marketplace. They have a very sophisticated in-play betting marketplace that accounts for around 70% of their overall betting volume.
It’s so new in the U.S. and it has historically been untapped due to legislation, so we don’t have the same types of trends that they’ve developed over time. But now, it’s a big opportunity. U.S. in-play betting is a $14 billion annual market size for the US going forward, and it continues to grow as additional states enact sports betting legislation.
The exchange model in sports betting hasn’t been possible yet because of the Wire Act. At Jock MKT, we’re working on the exchange model from a Daily Fantasy Sports perspective and carrying a lot of learnings from what they’ve done in Europe.
Jock MKT is where “Daily Fantasy sports becomes a stock exchange”. Can you elaborate on this proposition, and what this looks like in action?
TC: Within the player empowerment era, players aren’t attached to teams as much as they were in the past. This is a good thing from a player perspective, but with a lot more movement, fans are less attached to specific teams and more likely to follow their favorite players.
At Jock MKT, users get a share of player performance by buying exposure to how they do on a given night. It’s similar to what people do with their stock portfolios, from a trading perspective. People like to tell you they got in super early on Apple before they took off, and it’s the same kind of deal with players. Overall, this behavior we’re tapping into helps drive engagement, and we’ve definitely seen that within the numbers so far.
Since launching in the fall we’ve seen a return to professional sports that has ushered in a new wave of fan engagement. As a founder at the forefront of this space, what’s your perspective on how these trends are accelerating?
TC: During COVID, it’s been a double-edged sword because on a night to night basis, you never know what will happen with games. But at the same time, it means people are home more and actually tuned in while watching. From an engagement perspective, that’s been good for us. For example, users watching an NBA broadcast are spending over an hour and a half in the app. Given that a typical broadcast is about three hours, that’s obviously a significant chunk of time.
While launching a sports app during the global pandemic may not seem like the best time, these shifts have been reflected in our engagement so far.
As a group of analysts, traders, and sports bettors, your team is creating an experience that you’d love to play yourselves. How has that collective insight allowed you to continually refine the product since launch?
TC: What we’re building touches on a lot of our combined interests. Growing up, I got into stocks through my parents, got my first few shares when I was 10, and used to love tracking. I’ve also always played sports too. So both of those things have carried over throughout my life.
The stock market for sports isn’t necessarily a new concept, but it’s something that hasn’t worked out yet, and we’re working to incorporate those learnings into what we’re doing today.
One thing that we’ve borrowed from Daily Fantasy that has resonated with our users, is the shorter feedback loop of these contests that happen on a nightly basis. When you play on Jock MKT, by the end of the night you know the results. People enjoy seeing how the share prices move around, and given that it’s in a condensed time frame, the prices move around much more frequently and it makes for great trading opportunities. A lot of Daily Fantasy apps are a “set it and forget it” model, where you choose your lineup, and then you just watch. But given that you can trade in real-time on Jock MKT, it’s an aspect of our app that keeps people tuned in and engaged throughout the game.
Since launching in September, Jock MKT is now live in 34 states and has already surpassed the $2 million mark for user dollars traded in the app. Looking ahead, what excites you about the opportunity for Jock MKT to bring the stock market experience to sports?
TC: Over the past year or two there has been a significant increase in younger consumers investing in the stock market. A piece of feedback we received early on is that the stock market can be intimidating, and it may frighten people from giving it a shot. There’s been an increasing trend of engaging and educating young consumers in the stock market, and we’re looking to translate some of those concepts to make our product more relatable to the average sports fan.
From September to December, it took a little bit under four months for us to hit that $1 million mark. After that, it took 26 days to hit $2 million. Things are accelerating into 2021. As we add new sports, expand the platform, make it more user-friendly, and build an influencer community, it leads to big things that our users should enjoy and it’ll put us in a great spot ahead of next NFL season.