Today we are joined by Dan Healy, the Co-Founder and CEO of Pickup at PlayPickup.com! Dan and Ryan talk about his background, what PickUp is, and then give some other insights to the legalized sports betting landscape in the United States.

 

Show notes from Dan Healy Interview

Ryan Knuppel: Today Dan Healey of PickUp joins us to talk about his new engagement tool that can fit straight into your sports content. [inaudible 00:00:06].

Ryan Knuppel: Everywhere you turn it’s the same old sports talk, the same headlines, the same news, and the same boring information. This podcast is here to change all of that. We bring you hot sports takes, winning sports betting strategy and picks, reliable gaming industry news, and breaking interviews with some of the biggest names in sports business. My name is Ryan Knuppel, and welcome to the Knup Sports Show.

Ryan Knuppel: All right, welcome back to another episode of the Knup Sports Show. I’m your host Ryan Knuppel, here with you each and every time. I have another amazing guest with me today. Today I’m joined by Dan Healey of PickUp. Dan, are you with me?

Dan Healy: Hey Ryan, how are you? Good to connect again.

Ryan Knuppel: I am doing well. Dan, I really appreciate you being here with me. Dan is the co-founder CEO at PickUp. I know you’re all asking, “What is PickUp?” I’d love to hear it right off the bat, Dan. What is PickUp, and just give us a little bit about what you do in this space?

Dan Healy: Yeah, absolutely. So, thanks again for [inaudible 00:01:04], love the podcast. At PickUp what we’re doing is we’re building a community for sports fans. The way that we’ve done that is we built a platform that allows your regular blogger all the way up through your mass market publisher to embed contextually relevant questions directly into the content that they’re creating, and then allowing their readers to share that out in their communities. Whether their communities are direct SMS with one of their friends, a Slack group or to a broader social media presence like a Twitter, a Facebook, an Instagram, et cetera.

Ryan Knuppel: That’s amazing. That’s a really cool idea, and it’s something that’s definitely needed; driving engagement within content. Obviously me being in the content space heavily, we’re creating content all the time., Adding stuff like that; questions and different engagement type things right within that content is super powerful. I think the point is you don’t lose the reader, the reader stays right with that content, and interacts right there. Correct?

Dan Healy: Yeah, that’s exactly right. What we’ve seen, and I think you’ve seen this and I think anybody in the sports media space or media space in general has seen this is, is we’ve got an evolving sports fan. We’ve got someone who used to wake up in the morning, turn on ESPN, read the bottom line, look at the top 10 on Sports Center, going to work, going to class, go to the bar, talk about what they saw.

Dan Healy: That same person is waking up in the morning looking at their phone, they’ve been pushed six pieces of content that are relevant to them, they’re jumping into what’s interesting, they’re forming some sort of opinion, some sort of take, and then they’re sending that out to their buddies. They’re sending that out via Instagram or they’re sending that out via Slack if it’s their work buddies, they’re sending it out in a text message to the guy that they’re going to see later or the girl that they’re going to see later on in the day.

Dan Healy: That behavior is a direct result of an evolving technology landscape and media landscape, and what we’ve built is actually the technology that sits on top of it, and facilitates it.

Ryan Knuppel: Very cool. Where’d the idea come from? Tell me a little bit about your background in the sports betting space or the sports media space, and where this came about.

Dan Healy: Yeah, cool. My background, I actually don’t have a background in sports betting or sports media on the business front, I actually have a background in technology product development. For the last eight years I ran a company called Prolific Interactive, and we built innovation products and mobile products for companies like American Express, for Soul Cycle, for Gap, Abercrombie & Fitch, companies like that. So, large scale consumer facing companies. Out of that, we learned a lot about how you can take user behaviors, and you can take things that already exist, and you can compliment them with technology to create a community in drive conversions.

Dan Healy: That was really our mentality, and the way that this idea surfaced, it was a direct result of who I am, and who my co-founders are as sports fans. I live in Brooklyn, New York, but I was born in San Francisco. I grew up in Seattle as a Sonics fan, and then moved to Connecticut, followed the Red Sox, followed the Patriots, was fortunate to work with the TB12 guys and see that business firsthand. I’ve got all these different allegiances. I went out to Ohio State for undergrad and became a die hard Buckeyes fan, and now I live in Brooklyn, and I’m a die hard Nets fan.

Dan Healy: I’ve got communities of fans and friends across the country, and they’re all different types of sports fans. Whether we’re talking about Ohio State’s signing day, and what that class looks like this year or we’re talking about the future, and the odds around how many games the Patriots are going to win or whether or not Tom comes back next year. We’re all having different types of conversations, and all of these conversations, we have the ability to quantify them.

Dan Healy: We have the ability to quantify them, and get credit for them through props, and those props are essentially quantifiable binary question. Does Tom come back to New England again this year, yes or no? Further down the line will the Patriots win 10 games next year, yes or no? These are things we’re already talking about, but I want credit for them. I want credit for being right earlier than everybody else, and that seems to be relatively consistent across the sports [inaudible 00:05:53].

Ryan Knuppel: That’s very cool. That’s very cool. Explain to me a little bit about your audience, and how you’re getting PickUp out there. A lot of the listeners to this show may be business people in the sports betting space, or at least in the iGaming space, may own websites, may have different content platforms out there. Who are you looking to get PickUp into, and how would somebody go about using PickUp? Explain to me a little bit about that distribution of PickUp into a content platform.

Dan Healy: Yeah, absolutely. That kind of goes back to our roots. Our roots are in product and in technology, and what we knew very early on was that if we’re going to be able to distribute this tool, we need to build very simple technology that allows any platform, whether you’re built on WordPress or Drupal or if you’ve got a homegrown system, to be able to embed these questions. And then to be able to spin up questions that are relevant to the content you’re creating in a very simple and user friendly way, and so we are platform agnostic.

Dan Healy: We’re continuing to add plugins to different platforms all the time, and with publishers that have homegrown systems, we’re very simply working with them so that they can drop this line of code in, and they’re able to embed these, questions and start to create a community engagement, and this opportunity for user generated articles syndication today. What’s so interesting about what we’ve seen so far is, you can land on someone’s phone, right?

Dan Healy: It’s hard enough to get your app on someone’s phone, we all know that, but you can send a push notification to someone about, let’s say when Kyrie is going to come back if they’re a Nets fan, but if you can get that person to then take that article and send it out in an engaging way to their 10 Nets fans or even to the guy that they go to Nets games with on a regular basis, then all of a sudden you have the ability to put your article, your publication, your piece of content in someone’s text message. The power behind that in the highly competitive world of sports media today is pretty interesting, and pretty exciting.

Ryan Knuppel: It is. Is there a cost to this to publishers? How does a publisher get access to PickUp or work with you to start using this?

Dan Healy: Yeah. The costs right now is small licensing fee or else we just figure out a way to work together through some revenue share opportunities. What’s really interesting is, brands are also very excited about something like this. Brand spend, as you know, tons of money on sponsoring sports, and putting money behind sports rights. They’re really excited about using this as an engagement tool as well. Right now as we continue to grow, it’s important that we prioritize the user and the user behavior, and so we’re looking for the people that produced the best content, the most interesting content. We have the fortunate situation right now that we can invest in working with them as well.

Ryan Knuppel: Yeah, that’s amazing. Definitely I encourage everybody listening to get ahold of Dan. How do they get ahold of you Dan, if they want to talk about possibly using this platform or getting with you guys?

Ryan Knuppel: Hey, what’s up Knup Sports listeners? This is Ryan. I wanted to interrupt this show real quickly to let you know about a few opportunities we have available to you on this show. First, we’re looking for some great sponsors. Anyone that wants to be featured in our shows, please reach out to us. Secondly, we’re always looking for great guests. If you want to be joined by Ryan on our show, please holler, let us know. We’ll feature whatever you’re doing in the iGaming industry. Please reach out, we look forward to working with you. Now, back to the show.

Dan Healy: Yeah, you can just email me directly. You can go with dan@playpickup.com, that works. I’m definitely interested in having some exciting conversations.

Ryan Knuppel: Dan@playpickup.com, we’ll also put that in the show notes as well. Hey, I’m not going to let you off the hook yet, but we’re going to transition this talk into something a little bit different. The sports betting landscape in the United States, I know you’re not a sports betting guy through and through, as far as didn’t grow up in the industry and all of that, but we’re seeing State by State come on board. We’re seeing all sorts of news every day.

Ryan Knuppel: What are some of your predictions? And I’ll put you on the spot here. Just give me a prediction on where a New York’s going, because I know you live there, you have a lot of interest in New York. We know right now they’re struggling, they have a model that’s in place, but they’re not allowing mobile betting, kind of have a mess with DFS going on right now. Give me some of your maybe insight or knowledge on what’s going on in New York, and maybe what you see happening over the next couple of years with New York?

Dan Healy: Yeah, New York’s in a really interesting situation. The DFS stuff that popped up over the last week, we’ll see how far that goes or how relevant that truly is. The hope for anybody in this space is that New York decides to legalize sports betting. I’ll give you a great example of the opportunity that’s being missed. This weekend, myself and I think probably at least half of the people that were at that XFL game over at MetLife came in from the city, and were placing bets on anything we could while in New Jersey. Oscar’s bests, whatever it might be, we were over there trying to get as many bets in as we can before we crossed the bridge went through the tunnel back to the city.

Dan Healy: And that is just consistent, you see it as someone on the ground here not only as a sports fan, but as somebody in the eSports space. You see it constantly as people are going over to New Jersey to place bets, to go to the bars there, to watch the games, to give money to that State when there is just a massive opportunity to do it here in the State of New York. I think one of the… Go ahead, sorry.

Ryan Knuppel: No, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt. Keep going.

Dan Healy: I was just going to say, I think one of the exciting things that’s on the horizon that we’ll see over the next 18 months is Chicago, and what happens in Illinois. I think that them being a top five market for sports betting in the country should put more pressure on cities and States like New York to legalize. I think we’re missing a really big opportunity because not only is the market so large, but there’s a ton of innovation happening in the city around the space, and we need access to it in order to capitalize on that.

Ryan Knuppel: It just blows my mind. We’re all united, one nation, but we have to drive two miles to do something. It’s legal here, not legal here. I just can’t quite wrap my head around how we got to this point. I get it, we’re State-by-State, but how we’re that different across States in our thinking about what’s legal, what’s not legal, just really blows my mind. You mentioned Illinois. I have roots in Illinois, I grew up in Illinois, so lots of friends there, family there. The same thing you mentioned in New York is happening in Illinois right now. Guys are jumping over to just cross border to Indiana, going over to Iowa, placing their bets at different places there, and it’s just silly.

Ryan Knuppel: It’s just silly to me. Come on, it’s either illegal or it’s not. I don’t know. I don’t see this gray area, and how we’ve gotten to this point. I think you’re right when Chicago and Illinois comes on board, we can say pretty much say Chicago slash Illinois in one breath because we all know Chicago drives Illinois. I think the activity there is going to be amazing and hopefully, like you said, really open some eyes nationwide. I’m still holding my breath that Florida is going to figure it out, I know there’s many out in California and Texas, some of the bigger markets hoping that they can figure it out as well.

Ryan Knuppel: Maybe what it’s going to take is one of these really big markets to really succeed and do it right. New Jersey I think has done it right, but it’s taken some time, but get one of those major markets to really get it right, and everybody kind of like, “Okay, we got to jump on board with that model, and go with it.” I don’t trust Illinois to get it right, let me you that right now.

Dan Healy: Yeah, let’s see, right? One of the coolest things about Chicago… I guess taking a step back, one of the more interesting components of this evolution of sports betting, and the development of this industry across the country is actually the different ways that we’ll see sports betting play out. Possibly on the return on the ROI side for the States, but also in the user interaction side on a State by State, city by city basis. If you think about sports fans today, the New York sports fan is different from the Chicago sports fan, is different from the Boston or Philadelphia sports fan.

Dan Healy: I believe one of the things that’s going to happen is, you’re going to see the sports fans, and the types of conversations that they have, and the types of things that they care about directly correlate to the types of wagers that are offered, and the types of betting experience that exists. If you look at, let’s say Chicago, you said you’re from Illinois, there’s a large presence of people that are from the Midwest, specifically from the Chicago area that are now in Chicago building their lives, that are homegrown Bears, White Sox, Cubs, Black Hawks fans. Their take is much more around, let’s call it moneyline wins. I want my team to win. I don’t care about the spread, but that’s where I put my fandom, and so that’s maybe where I’m putting my money. You look at a city like New York, and in a group of 10 people, two or three of them are from the Tri-state area, and hardcore New York Jets, Yankees, Mets, whatever it might be, fans.

Dan Healy: The rest are people like me who follow the Red Sox or follow the Seahawks or the Patriots or they’re from Minnesota and they’re Vikings fans, and the type of [inaudible 00:16:56] here that happens maybe more aligned with whoever the headline hot topic is, as opposed to the types of conversations or direct [inaudible 00:17:05]. I think my point there is what we’re going to see from a user behavior, and product perspective is a different type of betting experience across these different States. Because one of the advantages is you can very much using technology play to that user, and that unique type of better in those cities. There’s going to be a lot to learn there, but it’ll be really interesting and exciting.

Ryan Knuppel: Absolutely. That’s what I love about this space. I feel like I’m learning something every day. I feel like there’s a lot everybody in the industry can learn, and there’s just so many different directions everything can go. I’m really loving it, and I definitely appreciate your input on the industry, on New York, a little bit on Chicago, so appreciate that.

Dan Healy: Yeah. What’s your take on New York?

Ryan Knuppel: Well, I think they’re close. I really think they’re going to get it right here sooner than later. I guess maybe that’s just me hoping. I’m hoping because I know if New York gets it right, there’s going to be a lot that follow. They really made a mistake not allowing mobile betting. They just did, and I don’t think anybody can deny that, so I hope they get it right sooner than later. But we’ll see what happens. I know when I head up that way, like you said, I’ll be heading over to New Jersey to make bets. It’s silly. It’s just crazy. There’s a lot of talk around it, there’s a lot of focus around New York, and we’ll see. We’ll see where it goes.

Dan Healy: Yeah. Yeah, I feel the same way. I wish we had a little bit more clarity.

Ryan Knuppel: Yeah. Yeah, we’ll see where it goes. All right, Dan. Well, I’m not going to keep you all day. I could actually talk to you all day, but I’m not. Hey, will you be going to any of these sports betting events across the United States that are popping up? What about Betting on Sports America right there in your backyard, will you be attending that this year?

Dan Healy: Yeah. Yeah, we will. It’s been great just going to all of these conferences across Las Vegas, back here in New York we had a good one in October. It’s the community, and the evolving industry are fascinating to watch, and to be a part of. We’re learning more stuff every day, and it’s just so exciting to see people looking at this. Not as something that they can just take advantage of to make a quick buck, but instead that they can be a part of to help really fundamentally change for the better the American sports fan’s experience. We intend to be a part of that, no doubt about it.

Ryan Knuppel: Awesome. Well, I look forward to meeting you in person there. We’ll sit down, I’ll treat you to lunch or something as a thank you for joining me on the show. We’ll talk a little more sports betting just us two. How’s that?

Dan Healy: Sounds good, I appreciate it.

Ryan Knuppel: All right, Dan. This was Dan Healey, the co-founder, CEO at PickUp. That’s play pickup.com, we’ll have all the links and this transcript out in the show notes of this podcast. So listeners, really appreciate you guys tuning in each and every time. Dan, once again, thank you for being here.

Dan Healy: Yeah, absolutely. Thank you, I appreciate it. Continue keeping up the good work, I’m keeping a pulse on this stuff through your podcast, so I appreciate it.

Ryan Knuppel: Great. That’s awesome. All right, everybody. Have a great day, and until next time we’ll talk to you all soon. Thanks again, Dan.

Ryan Knuppel: Thanks for listening to this episode of the Knup Sports Show. If you enjoyed this podcast, please consider subscribing to our iTunes channel today. Plus, visit us at knupsports.com for more pics, previews, strategy, and news. That’s K-N-U-P sports.com.

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