Combine a Super Bowl-winning quarterback with some of the biggest names in the tech industry and you could be looking at the phenomenally lucrative future of sports. Only this time, the biggest winner may be a small Canadian startup that’s got their attention.
Facedrive (TSXV:FD; OTC:FDVRF), a full-scale ESG platform, has already disrupted every tech-heavy segment from ride-sharing and food delivery to COVID contact tracing. Now, it’s preparing to jump into the sports arena - and it’s got some major firepower behind it.
That firepower includes NFL superstar Russell Wilson and investment vehicles belonging to some of the big names in tech. Or, rather—the biggest names in tech: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Alibaba co-founder Joseph Tsai, YouTube founder Chad Hurley.
Here’s how it’s happening:
Facedrive is acquiring an equity interest in a sports celebrity-studded company called Tally Technologies, which is looking to revolutionize engagement between major sports leagues, the teams and their fans.
Tally evolved out of TraceMe, a celebrity-studded content app founded by Wilson with early-in investors from the biggest tech companies in the world. That early funding came from Bezos Expeditions, the Amazon CEO’s investment vehicle, and from two other investments vehicles attached to the Alibaba and YouTube founders. TraceMe was acquired by Nike last year, but Wilson hedged his bets that Tally would be huge, so he held onto it and then went looking for the right partner to build it out. He could have chosen anyone, but he chose Facedrive, which puts the Canadian ESG tech platform on the radar of some very big names.
Now, because the transaction is a share exchange that will see Facedrive inject $1M in cash in Tally and $2M in Facedrive shares, the biggest names in the tech industry will indirectly become shareholders in one of Canada’s most promising ESG tech platforms.
Overnight, it’s a new business for Facedrive on multiple fronts.
And it makes sense for Tally, too: Tally sees a huge opportunity for a massive gamification platform by partnering with Facedrive, and with Facedrive CEO Sayyan Navratnam on the board, they’ll be getting access to lots of new technology and expertise, as well as the potential to bring on new teams and partners.
For the tech industry at large, it’s yet one more piece of undeniable evidence that absolutely everything is turning to tech.
For major-league sports, it’s a new way for fans to participate in major league action in a digital era and amid a pandemic.
For Facedrive, it’s a major new venture that serves as confirmation that it’s tech ecosystem not only works, but it works for all sorts of industries.
For investors interested in both sustainability and the extraordinary growth potential of tech stocks, Facedrive is now a one stop shop for the hottest sectors in this space. And with some of the biggest names coming on board as shareholders through their investment vehicles, the sky could be the limit for this burgeoning startup.
Why Soaring Tech Is the Future of Sports
The tech-heavy NASDAQ just logged its 30th record of the year … and tech stocks are absolutely killing it. That’s because tech has emerged as the future of pretty much every single industry on the planet.
That’s what Facedrive has been saying since 2016, and why it’s developed an entire tech ecosystem that has tentacles in a huge lineup of industry segments. Now, it’s adding sports predictions to the roster in a very big way (think: NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB).
And for the sports industry in the middle of a pandemic, tech could be the element that makes or breaks it.
In fact, an entire industry has emerged of its own - the “sports tech industry”.
Amid the pandemic, the NHL is now back. It resumed its season on Saturday, but without fans and in a limited number of arenas.
The game has changed, and Facedrive and Tally are in a position to pioneer what could prove to be a very popular sports app.
Tally is a new tech platform that seeks to do what sports can no longer do on its own: deepen engagement around live events. With eSports already working to “democratize” major sporting events and make them accessible to a massive global audience, Tally is completely changing the game in a different way.
It’s not just about watching a game anymore - the future is free-to-play and predictive.
How Tally Works: Harnessing the Real Revenue Potential
Gamification and online fan engagement are the key to sports revenue now.
And Tally is the premier tech solution for increasing audience engagement during live sporting events.
Why? The simple answer is “revenue”.
Tally’s technology enables sports teams, venues, and broadcasters to dramatically increase viewer engagement, which has been culled by a pandemic, create new revenue opportunities, and build direct relationships with new and existing customers.
Tally offers a complete, state-of-the-art solution supporting the creation and delivery of partner-branded, free-to-play prediction games for sports fans all around the world.
Robust game authoring and validation
A mobile-first app for fans
Comprehensive analysts for partners
A modular system with a wide range of game formats that is easy to integrate with other apps and eBay to access from multiple devices
Built-in monetization tools with everything from leaderboard prizes, social shares, survey integration, and exclusive sponsor shout-outs to giveaways
And for the fans, that predictive experience is the key to wildly deeper engagement. Via the mobile app, fans can engage on multiple, free-to-play predictive levels:
And the additional revenue that this will naturally lead to comes from the mind-boggling sports gambling industry that has billions in play.
The Tally tech platform is a natural extension to gaming and sports betting, making the growth prospects of this new Facedrive/Tally tie-up even more alluring.
Tally enables large scale ‘streak’ prediction prizing and can mirror traditional game by game Player props, Team props, Intermission score predictions, and Over/Under prop predictions to educate the new user to sports betting. It will activate new and dormant sports betting accounts directly from the platform driving unrivaled lead generation conversion.
And, of course, it helps that it was founded by one of the biggest names in American football--Super Bowl-winning quarterback Russell Wilson, and shot through with investor confidence by everyone from Bezos’ investment vehicle to YouTube and Alibaba, all big names who initially invested with Wilson.
The Facedrive ‘Ecosystem’ Blitzkrieg
Or its aggressive acquisition of the Canadian assets of one of the world’s most successful food delivery businesses (also eco-friendly) …
Or its social distancing app HiQ hitting 1 million downloads just 5 weeks after launching…
Or if you missed the launch of its own celebrity-branded clothing line in partnership with Will Smith’s Bel Air athletics …
Or even Facedrive’s contact-tracing coup with TraceScan, the COVID tracking app that positioned itself to have big union and government endorsement…
That’s no matter. The Tally acquisition could potentially be the biggest move this company has made so far, even in a string of rapid-fire acquisitions and partnerships.
When Facedrive publicly launched in 2019 with its initial ride-hailing platform that was the first to offer EVs and a carbon-neutral lift, that was simply the first salvo. Then came long-distance car-pooling to corner every mile with its acquisition of HiRide.
Then, in rapid succession, it launched its food delivery platform--Facedrive Foods--and acquired the Foodora Canada assets of wildly successful international giant Delivery Hero.
And since then, the news flow hasn’t let up. It immediately established itself as one of the leaders in Canada in the COVID contact-tracing field, with the launch of TraceScan in partnership with one of the world’s biggest labor unions (guaranteeing immediate deployment of this unique tech and its convenient wearables) and one of Canada’s top tech institutions.
Its social distance and entertainment app, HiQ, raced to the one million downloads mark just five weeks after launching. Now it is one of the top 5 trivia apps in over 115 countries.
Simultaneously, it worked on branding itself as a lifestyle, not a simple “service”, even launching its own clothing line, exclusively co-branded with Will Smith’s Bel Air athletics.
In the span of less than a year, we’ve seen all of these elements of the Facedrive ecosystem come to life at breakneck speed:
And, now, it’s jumped into the sports tech industry in one of its biggest moves yet, for a touchdown in the most lucrative arena - all with a premium that links back to the biggest names in the global tech industry.
Other companies that have been working to bring sports back to the fans:
Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) has its fingers in just about every pie you can imagine. From its vast advertising network to its growing presence in the renewable energy and electric vehicle space, it’s safe to say that Google is in it to win it. And the sports world is no different.
While it doesn’t itself operate in the sports world, Google is easily the best way to learn about your favorite teams, keep up with your favorite players and even stay on top of the most important news in the business. The Google Store even allows fans to browse different cellular applications or desktop plugins that will help them become more connected with their top teams than ever before.
In addition to being a wealth of information concerning traditional sports, Google’s YouTube platform has given fans a way to experience sports in a different way. From catching highlights from your favorite games of yesteryear, to seeing interviews or analysis that you may have otherwise missed, YouTube is a black-hole of sports content for enthusiasts.
Disney (NYSE:DIS) isn’t necessarily a brand that many associate with the sports world. It is mostly known for its film and television dynasty. But thanks to its acquisition of ESPN in February 1996, it has quietly grown to become the de facto leader in sports broadcasting. This status was really drilled into place in 2019 when Disney acquired the Fox network, including Fox’s massive sports umbrella.
In addition to its massive media empire, however, Disney also opened up its ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida to major league sports including the NBA and MLS. Though the COVID-19 crisis had pressed pause on major league sports, Disney is helping fans get their fix through its secure and clean sports stadiums.
As the world grapples with this crisis, Disney is making all the right moves to expand its online content, and even helping sports fans get back in touch with their favorite teams.
Not only does AT&T (NYSE:T) have its own nationwide sports network with SportsNet, it’s also diving headfirst into the emerging esports trend that has really boomed during lockdown. AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner Inc has launched the telecoms giant squarely into the esports arena. That $85-billion mega merger brought things like ELeague and Rooster Teeth into the AT&T fold. ELeague is part of Turner Sports, a subsidiary of AT&T’s WarnerMedia, which televises its major events.
Nintendo even has a partnership with Eleague to broadcast The Nintendo World Championships on CBS, and Eleague hosts a lineup of other popular competitive games including Rocket League, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Street Fighter V, and Overwatch.
The esports boom is just a part of AT&T’s sporting umbrella, however. Through SportsNet, customers who subscribe to any of its telecom services, satellite providers, or cable services can stream a wide array of regional games to their computers or televisions.
Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA) is a company that’s been able to see positive gains and retain its customers even as traditional sports leagues were forced to postpone their seasons. That’s largely thanks to its EA Sports brand. EA has been at the forefront of the sports video game niche since the 1990s, securing deals with every major sports league to utilize the team names, players and even iconic stadiums to help fans truly emerge themselves in that world.
Fans can participate in practically any sport thanks to the company’s numerous titles, including the FIFA, Madden NFL, UFC, MLB, NHL, NBA, and even PGA brands. And within each video game, fans can rediscover their favorite teams and players in an entirely new way. The games often even allow gamers to manage their teams and engage in the ‘business’ side of things.
And the best part is that fans can engage with one another without ever leaving home. Electronic Arts’ games are all online, allowing gamers to face off against one another at any time of day, even if they’re thousands of miles apart.
When it comes to wireless network real estate, there are few bigger companies than Verizon (NYSE:VZ). This giant has a market cap of $244 billion and is engaged in all aspects of communications, information and wireless services. And all of that matters as sports re-find their feet in the middle of a pandemic.
Verizon is a veteran in the live sports game, with deals to stream virtually every imaginable match broadcast on ESPN, ACC Network, NBC Sports Network, NFL Network, NBA TV, NHL Network, MLB Network, Fox Sports 1 and 2, Big Ten Network, SEC Network, CBS Sports Network, Sports Net, Golf, Tennis, NASCAR and more. All through its high-speed, high-definition fiberoptic network.
Not only can Verizon Fios subscribers stream their favorite teams on their big screen, they can even engage in online watching parties by simply logging on via their computer. This freedom has been a key growth segment for its streaming packages. Additionally, it is looking into even more customizable packages to let fans follow only the teams they care about.
Canadian companies are on board as well:
Stars Group Inc (TSX:TSGI) is a world leader in the online and mobile gaming industry. With a focus on maintaining high regulatory standards while simultaneously offering a wide range of products across multiple platforms, Stars has solidified its place among the gaming hierarchy.
In December, Stars Group secured a major partnership with the National Basketball Association in order to use data and league marks across their digital sports betting offerings.
Scott Kaufman-Ross, Head of Fantasy & Gaming, NBA explained, "This dynamic partnership will be another way to create authentic fan engagement with league logos and official NBA betting data, while leveraging Stars' global expertise to further optimize the fan experience.
ePlay Digital Inc. (CSE:EPY) creates technology that helps TV networks, esports teams and leagues and even venues cut through the noise to reach their target audience. The company brings together multiple platforms to create engagement across social media, traditional media, streaming, and more. With a team built from sports, esports, and gaming experts, ePlay knows the video game industry inside and out. That’s why they’ve secured partnerships with companies including Time Warner Cable, ESPN, Sony Pictures, AXS TV, Intel, AXN, Fiat, CBS, Cineplex, and others.
Shaw Communications Inc. (TSX:SJR) is major player in the Canadian telecoms sector. It owns a ton of infrastructure throughout Canada and its cloud services and open-source projects look to address some of the biggest issues that its customers might face before the customers even face them.
As online gaming depends on solid internet connections, Shaw will likely become a backdoor benefactor in increased online activity.
Telus Corporation (TSX:T) is Canada’s second largest internet provider, serving over 8 million Canadians from coast to coast. Though it’s not producing its own content, it is carving out its own path in the industry thanks to its innovative approach to technology and investments across multiple sectors.
Like Shaw, Telus will be another company to watch as gamers, and the general population, turn to their phones and computers for entertainment.
Pollard Banknote Ltd. (TSX:PBL)
Pollard Banknote is one of the world’s largest instant scratch-off lottery suppliers for over 30 years, distributing tickets to over 60 lottery and charitable gaming organizations across the globe. With top-tier marketing, new design developments and other innovative measures, Pollard has solidified its position as one of the greats.
One way that Pollard sets itself apart from the competition is its social media presence. Pollard has worked hard to leverage new media outlets including Facebook and Twitter to really up its marketing game…and its efforts show.
By. Caroline Davey
**IMPORTANT! BY READING OUR CONTENT YOU EXPLICITLY AGREE TO THE FOLLOWING. PLEASE READ CAREFULLY**
This publication contains forward-looking information which is subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or results to differ from those projected in the forward-looking statements. Forward looking statements in this publication include that the demand for ride sharing services will grow; that the Tally app will become popular and start generating substantial revenues; that the Tally app will fit with Facedrive’s other brands; that the sports predictive app will lead to online sports betting; that Facedrive will be able to fund its capital requirements in the near term and long term; and that Facedrive will be able to carry out its business plans. These forward-looking statements are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking information. Risks that could change or prevent these statements from coming to fruition include that the Tally app may not become popular, may not lead to revenues from gaming and that competitors may offer better or cheaper alternatives; changing governmental laws and policies; the company’s ability to obtain and retain necessary licensing in each geographical area in which it operates; the success of the company’s expansion activities and whether markets justify additional expansion; the ability of the company to attract a sufficient number of drivers to meet the demands of customer riders; the ability of the company to attract drivers who have electric vehicles and hybrid cars; and the ability of Facedrive to attract providers of good and services for partnerships on terms acceptable to both parties, and on profitable terms for Facedrive; that the products co-branded by Facedrive may not be as merchantable as expected. The forward-looking information contained herein is given as of the date hereof and we assume no responsibility to update or revise such information to reflect new events or circumstances, except as required by law.
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