Cricket is a big focus area for us and is the first port of call: Yannick Colaco, FanCode

July 7, 2022

Co-Founder shares India tour of the West Indies is the first big-ticket event to stream on the platform, which will offer multiple targeting options to brands for advertising

Dream Sports-owned FanCode is betting big on cricket to scale up the product which has amassed 50 million+ unique users and 25 million+ app downloads in the last three years since its launch in March 2019. Exactly a year ago, FanCode had raised $50 million from its parent company Dream Sports’ investment arm.

In an interaction with exchange4media, FanCode Co-Founder Yannick Colaco said cricket is a big focus area for the platform. Apart from cricket, FanCode also sees a lot of potential in football, basketball, kabaddi, and other sports. To date, FanCode has streamed more than 300+ events covering 9,000+ matches and over 42,000 hours of live content.

FanCode will be live streaming the India tour of the West Indies which is the first big-ticket cricket event on the platform. It has set an ambitious target of 100 million users for the series. The bilateral series, which will be played from 22nd July to 7th August, will feature 3 ODIs and 5 T20Is. The matches will be streamed at prime time in India with T20Is scheduled to start at 8 pm and ODIs at 7 pm.

“For the India tour of the West Indies, we are expecting close to 100 million users to come only for this event. We are scaling up our product to handle so many users,” Colaco asserted.

He believes that the bilateral series will allow the platform to retain existing users and acquire new users. “It’s a good opportunity to open the funnel for acquisition and give fans a chance to sample FanCode. This is more tactical rather than something that we want to regularly do. We are not in the business of Evert P and L’s.”

Innovations for the India-WI series

Being a high-stakes event, FanCode is leaving nothing to chance as far as the fan experience for the bilateral series is concerned. “This will be the first big cricket event that will have a digital-first experience including the surround content. Basically, everything around the content and the experience will be built primarily to cater to the younger, digital-first cricket audience,” Colaco said.

Some of the features that FanCode will provide to users include, 1) On-demand real-time highlight: Users can choose the highlight they want to watch during a live game; 2) Real-time stats like scores, heat map, wagon wheel, performance monitor, career graph overlayed on the feed and accessible to users as and when they want to access it; and 3) Besides choosing language feeds, users can also decide which commentator they want to listen to.

Monetisation for India-WI series

The India-West Indies series of 100 million users. The platform has launched a Tour Pass which will allow users to watch the series without any ads. The Tour Pass will be priced affordably to garner maximum subscribers.

“We believe that the Tour Pass will help increase the base of users who pay for sports content by reducing the entry price and giving them the choice to limit their commitment to a series. We are confident that once users experience FanCode, they will be happy to engage with the services throughout the year,” Colaco noted.

On the advertising front, the platform will offer multiple targeting options to brands. The platform is in talks with prospective advertisers for the series. “For India vs West Indies series, we have just started going to the market. The timings for the series are great from the Indian audience’s perspective since the ODIs will be played at 7 pm India time and T20 at 8 pm India time,” he said.

Genesis of FanCode

Speaking about the genesis of FanCode, Colaco said that the platform was launched with the objective of solving two major problems that sports fans face 1) fans had limited access to sports content outside of Tier 1 Sports events, and 2) the fan experience was linear and uni-dimensional. The three key products offered by the platform includes live stream/video-on-demand content, news/reviews, and merchandise.

“We have focussed on building a product for the under-served sports fans in India. We will also continue to expand the product to include the community element where sports fans can engage with other fans within the same ecosystem,” he elaborated.

According to Colaco, FanCode is a tech company that is focused on solving sports fans’ problems. It boasts of a 130-member team with a large chunk of them coming from tech and product backgrounds. “Most of our team are in tech and product. I know that we have some of the most talented professionals in the country in our FanCode team and they are tremendously passionate about the vision that we are collectively trying to achieve,” Colaco said.

Content acquisition

FanCode has forged exclusive partnerships with the West Indies, Afghanistan, Ireland, and Zimbabwe cricket boards beside the Bangladesh board for the Bangladesh Premier League. It also has a four-year deal with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) for The Hundred. The platform has also secured rights to showcase the ICC Pathway Events.

Colaco informed that most of the properties acquired by FanCode are on a long-term basis. “We acquire rights on a long-term basis. We ideally want to do long-term deals so that we can invest in the properties and grow the fan base.”

Queried about FanCode’s strategy for the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) media rights e-auction, Colaco sidestepped the question by stating that the platform “evaluates all properties as a principle”. FanCode has bought the tender document for IPL media rights e-auction which will commence on 12th June.

Revenue model

FanCode has two key monetisation models – direct to consumer (premium subscriptions, tour passes, buying merchandise) and advertising. “In the DTC business, security of our user data is very important. The second part is personalisation. Users give us a lot of data, we use that data to offer a curated customised experience,” Colaco stated.

He also mentioned that FanCode is building its own ad-tech platform. “We are building an in-house ad tech service to serve ads to users during regularly scheduled breaks of sports events. We believe that advertising will allow us to make content more affordable and even free in some cases to our users.”