Footbalistic.com is a site for all your football (read: soccer)- related searches. Think of it: with over 3.5 billion fans worldwide (according to FIFA), this truly is a market with great potential. Meet the Silicon Valley startup that is tapping into it.
What Is It? - The Pitch
Footbalistic.com powers a database aggregating all soccer-related information from 1998 to today -- for now. All games, players, actions... everything you could imagine all in one single place. Let's say you're looking for a player's track record or the games played by a certain team, or the number of yellow cards in one certain game. It's all there. Just type in the name of the team or the player and you'll be served with all the information you'll need: statistics and analytics, but also photos and videos. Everything you want to know, back to 1998. That's a total of over 80 000 players in the database and over 25 000 games indexed. For each player, you have a profile, with his full ID, agent name, market value, current club, position, etc. as well as his career history AND the exhaustive list of the games he has played and goals he has scored. Quite impressive. I suggest you check it out. Look at Cristiano Ronaldo's profile page for example.
How Does It Work? - The Game
CEO and co-founder Stephane Delbecque told us the information is aggregated from various public sources. It's analyzed and double-checked before being indexed in the database. The Footbalistic robot crawls those sources and attributes various weightings, according to the credibility of each of them, which also depends on the immediate news background. For instance, during the World Cup, FIFA data would be considered more accurate and would therefore be attributed a higher ranking factor. In case you wonder, it means that if one source says a yellow card was distributed to a given player at a certain time and other sources have it a few seconds earlier or later, Footbalistic cross-checks all those sources and indexes those with the exact timing. Typically, during the World Cup, FIFA was considered an 'authority.'
Why? - Motivation
The company's mission statement, Delbecque says, is for Footbalistic to give every soccer/football fan across the world answers to their every queries, as unexpected as they might be. For instance, Footbalistic analytics can answer something like: "if two players in the same team are friends (or foes) outside the pitch, how will that impact their performance (and their team's) during a specific game?" With such potential, visitors to the site have quickly grasped its great added value.
Footbalistic's Score Card
The startup was launched in January this year, with the World Cup as a short-term focal point, obviously. On May 7th, the company completed its first round of financing, raising $500 000. It has two impressive public figures on its advisory board: Bob Contiguglia, former president of the the U.S. soccer federation, and Daniel Marion, former head of technologies at UEFA. As expected, the World Cup boosted the site's traffic, with people from 163 different countries clicking on Footbalistic.com. Delbecque explained that the clicks were driven by news, i.e. there were logically trending topics according to the games to be or being played. For every goal scored at the time, or every card distributed by a referee, the number of clicks on the concerned players' profile would go through the roof. Actual figures are not available for public knowledge right now. We'll tell you why in a second.
At the moment, Footbalistic functions as a freemium and its revenue stream comes exclusively from advertising. Delbecque said the company will eventually switch to a subscription-based model, with the possibility to access to specific tools. However, he did not provide a time frame. Footbalistic serves query results in six languages: English, French, Spanish, Turkish, Chinese and Brazilian. The next step is to have answers in 20 languages, no less - before probably expanding even further. A site redesign is currently in the works, the indexing algorithms and overall architecture are also being tweaked as we speak to increase search capacities and thereby further enhance user experience. Delbecque said Footbalistic will launch a second round of funding for another $500 000 in early September. The money raised will be used to develop and implement new tools, grow the team and kick start monetization for the site.
Ready To Play In the Big Ads League
Concretely, social media integration is a priority (the company has a Facebook page and a Twitter account, as well as a blog, as you would imagine), he said, especially with Footbalistic's plans to play it big in the advertising arena. In short, Delbecque knows that eventually, the site will leverage its fan base reach to attract companies that advertise around soccer/football to boost their sales and brand awareness. It's not just the obvious sports oriented firms like Nike or Adidas. No, think consumer like Heineken or auto like Ford, just to name two examples. And of course, whoever speaks of brands in soccer/football, means image and therefore players. This is why Delbecque ambitions to enroll professional players to sit on Footbalistic's advisory board. He said talks are ongoing...
So what's next ? Delbecque is already thinking of the third round of financing to launch a full mobile application...
Soccer/football fans, keep your eyes peeled. And good luck to the team, it looks like the potential is great.
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!