Mondogoal.com Goal: To Be the World’s Top Destination for Fantasy Soccer

Written by:
Thomas Somach
Published on:
May/04/2015
Mondogoal.com Goal: To Be the World’s Top Destination for Fantasy Soccer

ISLE OF MAN -- It looks like deja vu for this tiny island off the coast of England that used to be a British territory but is now an independent nation.

A decade ago, some of the biggest online poker sites flocked here to set up shop.

Gambling laws were lax, the location was remote and the semi-air of British authority gave the poker sites a feel of legitimacy.

Now, a decade later, a similar scenario is unfolding, as online fantasy sports have come to The Isle.

Mondogoal ( www.mondogoal.com), like many other European fantasy sports sites, doesn't offer the variety of sports that American fantasy sports sites offer (football, basketball, baseball and hockey)--instead, it offers just one sport: soccer.

But that's enough for a European customer base that wouldn't know a touchdown from a touchback or a balk from a walk, because all that base cares about is soccer, the so-called "beautiful game."

Gambling 911 last week crossed the pond and paid a visit to Mondogoal's main headquarters here and chatted with Chris Mazzone, the company's vice-president for marketing, about how Mondogoal started, where it's going and why it eschews other sports.

Here is a transcript of that interview:

Gambling 911: What is Mondogoal?

Chris Mazzone: Mondogoal is a daily and weekly fantasy site which focuses on short-term mini-leagues that last just one day or one week, instead of the traditional season-long format. We take all the excitement and enjoyment of season-long contests and pack it into a single match day.You can play for free or for thousands in cash prizes every match day and if you win, you get paid out that same day. With our robust real-time scoring system, Mondogoal makes every single play of every match important and exciting.  

G9: How is Mondogoal different from the competition?

CM: The key differentiator for Mondogoal is that we are entirely dedicated to world soccer right now. We were the first daily fantasy company to focus soley on the world's largest sport and be legal for cash play in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland and Brazil, with more to come. Mondogoal is available in six languages and three dialects, with plans to add more in the near future as we continue to work toward being the first truly global daily fantasy sports platform. We are the official daily fantasy football partners of FC Barcelona, Chelsea FC, Manchester City FC, Liverpool FC, West Ham United FC and A.S. Roma. Having the top clubs in all of sport anxious to get involved and work with us just a few months after we launched has been an incredible boost. It brings legitimacy to our new product and has helped us grow quickly. Additionally, our exclusive partnerships with these clubs allow us to award team-signed items, match tickets and priceless VIP experiences that fans could not get elsewhere.

G9: Who is allowed to play at your site and how do you control that?

CM: We use several technology features to locate where a user is playing from and to only allow them to compete in cash games if they are in one of the regions where we are currently legal. That being said, Mondogoal is completely free to join and everyone can play for fun. Our free games are open to everyone worldwide, even if they are not in cash-eligible regions. That way, as we grow into other regions and become legal for cash play, we can just flip the switch so to speak and allow all those users to begin playing for cash as well. Cash play is completely optional and only there for those that wish to try and win money playing our contests.

G9: Why are you legal and not considered gambling?

CM: Each country or state has their own gambling-specific guidelines and laws that we must abide by. For example, in the United States, we have to meet the guidelines of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act and do not need any sort of license to operate cash games. In the United Kingdom, we had to secure our gaming license prior to operating cash games. Our legal team actively reviews all the laws and we make sure to 100 per cent comply with those before activating a country or state for cash play.  

G9: How are you planning to compete against established fantasy sports sites such as DraftKings and FanDuel, and coming sites such as Yahoo and ESPN?

CM: As far as I am aware, the ESPNs and Yahoos of the world would not be focusing on soccer or their international audience. So we're excited to have them bring some more legitimacy and awareness to the industry. It should only help us in the long run. Both DraftKings and FanDuel are massive and without them there may not have been a Mondogoal, so we are appreciative of everything they've done and continue to do to grow the industry. We don't really see either as competitors. While it's not impossible, both companies would face quite a few big challenges before they were able expand to a more global audience that Mondogoal is already able to reach. FanDuel doesn't currently offer soccer and is only open for cash play in North America. DraftKings only offers a couple soccer leagues, and also cannot legally operate outside of North America right now. Mondogoal offers Premier League, Champions League, Major League Soccer, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga, French Ligue 1, FA Cup, Europa League, Liga MX and a lot more to come, making us the premier destination for the world soccer fan to play daily fantasy. 
G9: How did you get involved with fantasy sports?

CM: I actually started as an affiliate in the daily fantasy sports industry about four years ago. I earned money by referring people to my favorite site at the time, DraftStreet, and before long I was given an amazing opportunity to come on as a full-time employee there. We were acquired by DraftKings, where I stayed on before I stumbled across Mondogoal. While I knew Draftkings was in a great spot to have success, I felt Mondogoal was also in a strong position and soccer has always been my biggest passion, having played and coached all my life. So I jumped at the chance to be a part of Mondogoal and it's been a fantastic experience so far, with a bright future ahead. If anyone else is looking to get started in a similar manner, our affiliate platform is up and running at www.mondogoal.com/affiliates  and I'm happy to work with anyone who wants to earn some extra money referring people to Mondogoal.
G9: Are you considering any partnerships with online sportsbooks, since your customer bases have lots of similarities?

CM: We're always looking for strategic and creative partnerships that can help us grow our brand and user base.  There are quite a few media outlets and gambling partners that have reached out to us with an interest in getting involved either on an investment level or a partnership level with Mondogoal. Those discussions are constantly ongoing and we encourage anyone interested in working with us to reach out.

G9: Where is your company based?

CM: We like to think we are based everywhere, with registered users in 158 different countries enjoying our games. It's exciting how fast we've begun to reach people all over the world and we're anxious to offer cash play to all of them in the future. We have physical offices on the Isle of Man, our main office, and in the United States, and we'll definitely look to expand as we grow. But for strategic regions, it made sense to start there as the U.K. and U.S. are primary markets and those locations allowed us to easily comply with any legal obligations needed to operate in those countries.

G9: How fast is your company growing?

CM: I think a year from now you'll see massive growth for Mondogoal. Having just launched in August, we are growing fast, and with most of our regions being new to daily fantasy, growth is going to continue to pick up as word continues to spread and we continue to educate the market and offer large cash prizes.

G9: What about affiliates?

CM: We've seen a great response from affiliates already. I think they've witnessed the growth in the U.S. daily fantasy market and wish they had gotten in on the ground level of those companies' affiliate programs, even if it had meant starting at lower earning rates than what they are used to. I was making $20,000 to $30,000 a year as a part-time affiliate and I didn't have a website or a following. I was basically just asking friends and family and anyone I knew to sign up. I had never been an affiliate before and only brought in a small number of cash users, yet still made some good money. The potential for affiliates in this industry is massive, particularly with a company like Mondogoal where we are open to global audiences and not just one region. Mondogoal also provides the chance to offer something new and far more engaging than traditional sports betting. The current casino and poker affiliates are all saturating the market with the same offers over and over from the same companies where most people have accounts already. At Mondogoal, the market is still young and fresh, so it's easier to bring people over in high volume.

G9: Do you plan on making your software available for sale or lease to other companies, a practice known as white labelling?

CM: While we haven't acted yet, we have had discussions about potential white label opportunities and are open to talking to others that may be interested. Currently we offer branded games within Mondogoal. For example, if you sign up through our team partners, the game will be branded with that team's colors and logos, so it has the look and feel of the club, but it's still hosted on Mondogoal.com. 

G9: Is there anything else you'd like to add?

CM: We are proud to be the first daily fantasy site to offer a platform for women's team sports. We will be introducing daily fantasy for the Women's World Cup this summer and are extremely excited about the opportunity to not only provide more exposure to some of the world's best athletes, but to also reach a new audience and introduce our current users to the first game of it's kind. There will be daily contests every match day during the summer competition.

By Tom Somach

Gambling911.com Staff Writer

tomsomach@yahoo.com

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