Far removed from the fantasy games that are built for the major leagues of the world, MyClubtap is built and designed to be an engaging way for grassroots cricket clubs to have their own fantasy game based on players at their own club.
Designed for fun and interactivity, these fantasy games aim to harness the community of each club, yet just as important they become an interesting touchpoint for sponsors and clubs to work together.
MyClubtap’s platform can host thousands of games anywhere in the world and so far over 90 fantasy games for 65 cricket clubs across six Australian states have been played.
In this conversation we talked to Vicky Goyal, the founder of MyClubtap.
I’m interested in knowing why you’ve developed a fantasy gaming platform for grassroots cricketers, please tell me about the development of the idea then the development of the platform.
Vicky Goyal: “Coming from India and being an international student studying in Melbourne I was playing club cricket at Deakin Cricket Club. Being a new member, I barely knew anyone, and this is something that I developed a few seasons down the line when I knew a lot of people around the club but there were newer players who didn’t have that interaction or weren’t yet open to other people. That’s around the time when the idea of building MyClubtap, it was called Club Fantasy Cricket at that time, that’s when the idea started. I never thought it would reach the level it has at this point because I started it as a hobby.
“My club is a small club, just three teams and I just wanted to find a way to connect with everyone so I started doing this on paper. In 2013, I created a small bit of software using Excel, took papers to the club and got everyone to pick their best 11 at that time and just started to go to each individual one-by-one and got their teams and I used to do the stats right through the season. I got really good traction in the first year itself, I got 50 people at the club and extended family of people at the club signed up. That’s what told me that there’s something there after getting traction from people at a small club.
“For the 2014-15 season I improved the process of capturing data and people’s teams and again had about 50 people. Another thing for me was how I could get my family back home to stay connected with me and what I did at the club, especially my mum, I’d get her to pick a team too.
“In the third year I realised if I could do this for one club how about doing it for more. That’s when I reached out to a few other clubs in the association I play in. I ended up getting three clubs immediately who were interested but the catch was they didn’t want to do anything but would be happy for me to do everything for them, so I said yes.I had four clubs and I had 200 players playing the game.”
It started as a bit of fun, it was gaming and engagement within some local clubs but then it changed over time. How have you transitioned to a fun game to a platform that connects people and engages sponsors, it’s a much bigger platform from what you initially envisioned?
VG: “From the point I started doing it when it was all controlled by me but I’ve reached the point where we could open this platform up to where the game can be controlled by the clubs themselves. The platform has grown in the sense where it’s not merely for the clubs or cricket tournaments anymore. Right now the platform only holds cricket as the sport but it is possible for clubs be it juniors, seniors, independent and corporate tournaments, they can all have a fantasy game for themselves and have that engagement through that particular game on the platform.
“The other part is there wasn’t much that clubs could do without me doing everything but now they can sell the branding rights for their game. Local clubs are always looking for new ways to raise funds and generate income so fantasy gaming is a way of doing so, they can charge a small fee and the club can run the game themselves. Secondly, they’ve got the option of raising funds through branding rights and sponsorships and it’s a whole new way of doing club sponsorships which could be sold from the club side.
“From a sponsor’s perspective it’s a new way of reaching a club’s players, their friends and families, they can have very high digital touchpoints rather than static website placements. It can be used in multiple ways because it stays active over the course of a season and if we’re talking about Australia then the cricket season runs for nearly six months.”
Having solved some problems with local club sponsorship and partnership integration, what are some good success stories?
VG: “I’ve got a recent story and it’s recent because this aspect of the platform has only become available this year. It’s the ability to sell sponsorship and branding rights. This year Charlestown District Cricket Club from Newcastle, New South Wales were the first to use that feature and for us that was a huge step forward because they sold the rights to a particular business. The sponsor’s branding features in all of their social media posts they make or any social media posts we make.
“Bayswater-Morley District Cricket Club from Perth raised over 600 dollars from the platform through their fantasy game and Koonung Heights Cricket Club from Melbourne has already raised over 350 dollars through fundraising for their club through their own fantasy game. Yes, these amounts are very small at this stage but we’re at an early stage in the development of this system and understanding how people at each club will use the platform for their benefit.”
Describe the engagement that the platform has encouraged?
VG: “Something I’ve noticed at my club this season as opposed to any time in the past, a lot of people are talking about their data and scores, and positively influencing and encouraging teammates and players. Even if it’s a new player at the club there is still that encouragement that’s been occurring. It’s a way for players from around the club to take an added interest in the performance of each team and player even if they don’t frequently see each other.
“I received feedback from Parkdale Cricket Club from Melbourne, saying it’s ‘a very good tool for their senior players to mentor the juniors.’ That’s the takeaway from their game and the system.”
Do you have plans to expand outside of Australia?
VG: “This platform can be used by anyone and anywhere cricket is played. Even if someone could scribble scores on a piece of paper, they can run a fantasy game on our platform.
“We do have a partner club in New Zealand and we are in talks with a couple entities in India and UK, trying to open the platform in these new markets.
“We’ve had good traction and are starting to reach a point where we are ready to scale this up.”
Now’s the time to ask you, with scaling, what does growth look like to you over the next 12 months?
VG: “I’d like to have a 1000 active games by the start of the next Australian cricket season, that includes games played across the world.
“Again the system is at its early stage of development but the aim is to reach 1000 games and over 40,000 users of the platform and to have consistent users in at least five countries outside of Australia as well as growth inside Australia.
“We’re looking at developing a mobile app which has been requested time and time again.”
You’re building this company on your own, what have you learnt about yourself as you are on your own journey?
VG: “Before I started this I didn’t realise what I was getting into!
“A funny story goes back to right before I started, I told a couple friends my idea of having a platform where hundreds of thousands of games could be running on this singular platform. This platform which is like an ecosystem where every club has their own individual space but they’re hosted in one place. As a user you could flick a button or tap a finger and you have access to every other grassroots fantasy game across the world in a second, that’s how I envisioned it from day one. As I told my friends this, I just got blank stares! Six years later I can see the vision turn into reality, I’ve seen it’s possible and I’ve been able to make it possible.
“My wife Aditi has been a big part in this, so I have to thank her too! She’s been a big support, to go along with both of our parents and siblings.
“Looking back at it all, I wouldn’t change anything. The big thing I’ve learnt is nothing is impossible.”