An Estonian startup firm is causing a revolution in its field, says the International Basketball Federation (FIBA)
Scorestars, formerly known as Cryplect, started working recently with the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and is offering fans the chance to play the brand new BCL (Basketball Champions League) fantasy league for the new season. Scorestars, which emerged from the Tehnopol Startup Incubator growth programme, attended a meeting of FIBA in Switzerland in early October to share experiences and gain new contacts.
FIBA said that Scorestars is causing a revolution in the way that fans can relate to their favourite clubs. FIBA has its head office, known as the House of Basketball, in the Swiss village of Mies, and Scorestars recently gave a presentation there to international basketball clubs and other attendees on its work and opportunities for partnerships.
There were 32 different clubs represented at the meeting, all of which play in the FIBA Basketball Champions League and can provide an entry point to local markets. Clubs from Italy, Belgium, France, Portugal and Greece were there among others, and they heard about the Scorestars value proposal for the first time, and indicated that the people running basketball in those countries could well be very interested.
“The meetings went well. We managed to talk about our success in the markets where we are already present and encourage the heads of some of the top basketball clubs in Europe to join us on our journey”, said co-founder and marketing director of Scorestars Samuel Vard. He added that sporting organisations can be rather conservative and are quite a closed society, but that the Scorestars team were welcomed very warmly and professionally.
There are two other companies in operation that are in some way or other similar to Scorestars, and both of them were founded in France. Samuel Vard explained though that there were several differences between the products offered by Scorestars and those of their competitors. “We let basketball fans collect both picture cards and video cards of their favourite players, and the digital cards can be used to play the fantasy game. Our strategy is also very favourable for the partners that we cooperate with because they do not have to pay anything to work with us. We are working together to bring European basketball fans to a single digital platform that Scorestars already operates in more than 10 markets”, he said.
The company has had to overcome several obstacles to enter new markets, such as translating the platform from English into Lithuanian, Turkish and Hebrew. As each national league is different, the platform always has to be adapted to meet the expectations of the fans in each country. “When we started working on Scorestars some years ago, we understood immediately that we had to create a technology system with the most dynamic architecture possible, meaning we had to be ready to provide different game logic and fan experiences in different markets and for different types of fans”, explained Mr Vard.
Scorestars is by now an official partner to four large sporting organisations that between them manage over 70 basketball clubs. It plans to expand across Europe in the coming years to cover the majority of the elite basketball landscape in Europe. The main partners that Scorestars has worked with to enter new markets have been the local basketball leagues, but in the coming years it plans to work more with basketball clubs so that it can offer their fans a more personalised user experience.
Scorestars went to Switzerland as part of the Northbound Scaleups (NBSCALE) project. NBSCALE is a joint project run by Tehnopol, the Turku Science Park in Finland and Movexum in Sweden to help companies expand into new markets.