Locker Room Labs

Locker Room Labs Sports Technology Spotlight: Mark Szandzik

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Welcome to the sixteenth edition of the Locker Room Labs Sports Technology Spotlight. In this series, we sit down with industry partners and experts to discuss the evolving world of sports tech including the incredible innovations being developed in the space. The next professional we interviewed is Mark Szandzik, Owner and Founder of Bettor Together. Mark discusses his perspective on topics that are trending in sports betting, technology, and more.

How do you see the rise of peer-to-peer fantasy platforms, like Bettor Together, influencing the traditional model of sportsbook and fantasy apps?

The rise of P2P platforms, like most other innovations, is due to unmet user needs. Some of the larger operators are slower to innovate, for a multitude of reasons, but this opens the door for platforms like Bettor Together to enter the fray. We started Bettor Together to address a void in the market, as there is no formal/legal way to play DFS cooperatively. You can co-manage a season-long fantasy team, but not in DFS. Speaking more broadly, I see Bettor Together, like other P2P platforms acting in a complementary manner. Giving users more choice, different games and formats to increase enjoyment of their favorite sporting events, but also bringing in new players that may have been hesitant to participate before, as they can now do so with a friend. 

Using golf as an example, I don’t play in a scramble every time, but I really enjoy playing in that format when I can, so I’m glad that option exists. I don’t think Bettor Together will be an exclusive platform for all users, but when people are looking for a different way to play fantasy or want to play with their friends, we will be there.  

What were the critical aspects of your decision when deciding to develop your app onshore, in the U.S.?

As a non-technical founder, finding someone with experience in the space was the most crucial element. In our search, we met with candidates both onshore and offshore, to get a sense of both their technical capabilities and their knowledge in the space. Some we met had little to no knowledge about daily fantasy or sports in general, and that was important when we were trimming down our consideration set. Additionally, there are cultural, time-zone, and language barriers to overcome when deciding to work with an offshore team, and while there can be a cost saving in doing so, as a first-time founder I didn’t see the potential risks from those barriers outweighing the benefits of a capable onshore team. 

In your opinion, what are the key considerations when developing user-friendly interfaces for fantasy sports apps to ensure a positive user experience?

This has been a major focus for us throughout development and early testing. The blueprint is out there from the established daily fantasy apps, in terms of a general layout, contest home screen and navigation menu, and we’ve leaned on that so it will have a familiar feeling for most users. We have also drawn on other types of platforms for inspiration. Given the social focus of our application, we looked to social media applications for our chat and notification functionality. Using familiar icons and functionality will help ease new users into our platform and shorten the learning curve. We’ve also discussed using some features from dating sites to swipe left or right on a potential friend/partner. We are leaning into what differentiates us from other platforms in the DFS space by focusing on the social aspects, and hoping the familiar app behaviors, icons, and navigation menu will lead to a seamless adoption of a new application.

We’ve added a first-time user guide that appears when someone logs in for the first time, to help with the on-boarding experience, as well as created some tutorial videos to address some feedback we’ve received during testing.

Mark Szandzik - Owner & Founder | Bettor Together - Cooperative DFS

Can you share your perspective on the current trends and innovations in sports technology that you find most exciting?

Personally, I think immersive technologies like AR and VR are the most exciting innovations that can impact sports technology. I know these are still in early stages of development, with some barriers to overcome before full adoption, but the possibilities are endless. I have a first-generation Meta quest and friends with even older technology, so I’ve seen the advancements in a relatively short period of time, and the future looks very bright with many potential applications. 

From an athlete’s perspective, AR/VR can be used for training and practice, to simulate in-game experiences, provide real time feedback and data to expedite learning. From a fan’s perspective AR/VR can create a more immersive viewing experience, giving the viewer more control and flexibility of what to watch. This may include an overlay of personally relevant statistics for the viewer’s fantasy players and even provide a common space for viewers to connect and watch together, just to name a few possibilities. 

How do you see the intersection of sports technology and fan engagement evolving in the coming years?

Piggybacking on the AR/VR comments I made from the innovations in sports technology question, I think this will be a major opportunity zone for the intersection of sports technology and fan engagement. Not to put all my eggs in just one basket, but this is an area I’ll be closely monitoring and think there is a lot of potential for Bettor Together to operate in this space down the road. 

Beyond this, technological advancements in stadiums has the potential to improve fan engagement, reducing friction of the in-stadium experience can make for a more enjoyable time for all such as, contactless payment, improved WIFI, in-seat food and drink ordering, in stadium navigation, and even AR or hologram projection watch parties when your team is playing an away game. 

About Mark Szandzik

Mark is the Owner and Founder of Bettor Together. Bettor Together is a Cooperative Daily Fantasy Sports Platform. On the Bettor Together app, users can join forces, conquer player prop contests, and dominate the competition in a brand-new arena! Mark has experience in digital research, analysis, marketing, advertising, reporting, strategic planning, and project management. If you would like to get in contact with Mark, you can email him here.

About Locker Room Labs

We are a US-based, and software engineer-owned, development team specializing in sports, betting, fantasy, and iGaming. From UX Design and MVP Development to Custom App Development and Fractional CTO services, we are tailored to bring sports software to life. A testament to our innovation is “The Playbook,” a proprietary sports platform-as-a-service that accelerates development time and saves clients on build costs. To reach us, you can visit our website here.

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