On today’s show, the CEO of Boom Sports, Stephen Murphy, joins with Ryan to talk about his background in the iGaming industry. He also talks about some of the latest Boom Sports news and shares a bit about the direction the company is heading.

Show notes from Stephen Murphy Interview

Ryan Knuppel: All right. Welcome back to another episode of the Knup Sports Show. My name is Ryan Knuppel. I’m your host here each and every time. Thank you so much for tuning in. Really appreciate you giving us a little bit of your time and just hearing what we have to say here in this crazy time of the world. Today I’m joined by a special guest. I have the CEO of Boom Sports, Stephen Murphy with me on the line. Stephen are you here?

Stephen Murphy: I am. Thanks for having me Ryan.

Ryan Knuppel: Man, it’s my pleasure. I really appreciate you giving me some time and just getting away from daily life a little bit. How you holding up in this crazy pandemic time of the year?

Stephen Murphy: Yeah, doing well, bunkered into my apartment here in New York City with my two kids who I love and who are driving me crazy. So probably like a lot of other people.

Ryan Knuppel: Yeah, it really gives you a different sense of, I don’t know, I mean I have a little more appreciation for my kids now, but then I also appreciate that time away as well a lot more now that you spend a ton of time. So it’s been a good thing, but it’s also man, it’s like I need some balance in my life right now.

Stephen Murphy: No doubt.

Ryan Knuppel: Yeah, for sure. So tell me a little bit about yourself. So the podcast, the listenership, the people here really have an interest in fantasy sports and in sports betting. A lot of sports betting professionals are probably listening to this. I’d like to hear how you got started. First a little bit about Boom Sports and then a little bit about how you got started with it and then the industry.

Ryan Knuppel: All right. Welcome back to another episode of the Knup Sports Show. My name is Ryan Knuppel. I’m your host here each and every time. Thank you so much for tuning in. Really appreciate you giving us a little bit of your time and just hearing what we have to say here in this crazy time of the world. Today I’m joined by a special guest. I have the CEO of Boom Sports, Stephen Murphy with me on the line. Stephen are you here?

Stephen Murphy: Sure. Yeah. So Boom Sports is a five year old company. We consider ourselves the premium game developer and technology provider of the US online gaming industry. So we work with several partners including NBC Sports, Penn National Gaming, NASCAR, Barstool. We worked with the XFL during their return. And so effectively what we do is we build gaming products for top tier partners. We started out actually as a fantasy sports company, we still have a fantasy offering, but we’ve evolved into a definitely more B2B, bigger company since then.

Ryan Knuppel: That’s really cool. I mean I remember back in the day when you guys started and you were more of a fantasy product. And so transitioning into that B2B I’m sure is a different world and probably a pretty rewarding world working with some of those big companies like that. So how did you actually get started in this? I mean, have you always been interested in this space or how did that come about?

Stephen Murphy: Yes. I’ve always been a big sports fan. I remember my fifth grade CYO basketball team. I dyed my hair a different color and dressed as Dennis Rodman for an entire season, so proud to say I led the league in rebounding that year, but that was probably the pinnacle of my athletic career. But I was a big sports fan and I fell into gaming in 2008. So I’ve been in gaming in one shape or another for 12 years. I was in Las Vegas actually volunteering for the Obama campaign for his first campaign in ’08 and I played a little bit of poker on the side as a recreational player, a profitable recreational player, but certainly not a pro. And I wound up meeting someone at Card Player media, Card Player magazine and they needed a writer. And so I started writing for them and I’ve been in the industry ever since.

Ryan Knuppel: That’s pretty cool. That’s amazing. I didn’t realize you started as a writer. I mean what we do a lot of is writing on our a Knup side of things. So that’s… I didn’t realize that was where you got your start, but that’s cool. How was it living in Vegas? Did you enjoy that lifestyle back then?

Stephen Murphy: I did. I enjoyed Las Vegas a lot. I lived there for two years, close enough. I had a lot of friends in LA so I’d do the drive, weekends to LA and I had a good time there. Good experience there.

Ryan Knuppel: That’s awesome. So Boom Sports. So tell me a little bit about some of the things that are going on now, some of your big events, some news that you’ve had. I mean, what’s in the pipeline right now? Anything big going on for you guys?

Stephen Murphy: Yeah, sure. So our biggest news was the past month we just announced our deal with Penn National Gamings. Penn National operates about 40 plus casinos in 19 states. They’re the company with the largest market access effectively in the US and we just announced a deal with them where we’ll be building them a series of gaming products. And in exchange we’re actually going to get licenses to operate our own mobile sports book and online casino in a handful of US states. So for us this is our first market access deal and we look forward to launching a sports book in the coming probably 12 to 18 months.

Ryan Knuppel: That’s pretty cool. Man, I love your name too. I mean, it’s one of those words that you just want to say boom all the time. I just love saying that. Is that where that came about when you guys started this company, was it man, what’s a good word? Boom. [inaudible 00:05:00].

Stephen Murphy: When we started this in 2015, the full company name is Boom Shakalaka.

Ryan Knuppel: Oh, even better.

Stephen Murphy: The nice reference to the old… I can’t even say it’s NBA jam because I learned that the NBA jam actually wound up stealing it from a hip hop song back before then. So it’s been a saying that is been legendary for a while and we want to adopt it and honor it.

Ryan Knuppel: I love it. I love it. Well that’s cool. So you guys are going to be getting a little more market access getting into that with some of these deals. That’s pretty amazing. Have you guys seen, I don’t know how to ask this, but in terms of the pandemic going on and a lot of companies are struggling to make it right now, how has that affected you guys currently in what you’re trying to do? Is it slowed you guys down at all? Has it forced you to put pivot into other areas or is it kind of business as usual for you guys through this and you’re just really working on growing those relationships and building the partners that you worked with?

Stephen Murphy: Yeah. For the most part it’s business as usual. I mean it’s never quite business as usual with a pandemic and a crisis like this. But for the most part it’s business as usual. Our partners are longterm partners. We sign these deals for multiple years and we’ve got lots of products that we’re actually currently building for them. And so we’ve just been sort of heads down, building products. We’re going to have a couple of new products launched in the next, I would say three months, one for Penn National and their partners at Barstool Sports and another with a partner that we haven’t announced yet.

Stephen Murphy: So we’ve just heads down working. In terms of how it affects the business, I mean I tell investors that it’s definitely slows down sales cycles. I think everybody, especially on the land based casino market and the sports scene, their business has been crushed by this. And so I think they need to make sure that their house is in order before they figure out how and where to invest in online gaming. But if there’s one thing this sort of crisis has taught us is that, it’s really important to have an online gaming strategy if you’re going to be in the sports gaming space. And so I expect it to be an area that a lot of people invest in in the next couple of years.

Ryan Knuppel: Yeah, 100%. I mean, yeah, it’s such a shame too, because we had such momentum going in the industry. And when I say we, I’m talking mainly about the United States sports betting legalization, around that space. There was really a lot of momentum and a lot of things, positive things going on in that. And then when this hit it was like, Oh boy, we’re in shock here. What’s going on? There’s no sports, there’s no this, there’s no that. Well now what? And so I think a lot of companies are really, like you said, reevaluating and looking at, man, how can we really capitalize on the mobile side of things when our land base operations aren’t working or aren’t available. I mean we hope that’s not going to happen for a long time. But gosh, I mean, what if it does happen again? We got to have a mobile presence. So man, it’s definitely interesting times to see here.

Stephen Murphy: Yeah, no, I mean I spent two years living in Las Vegas and I hope the land-based casino industry recovers as soon as possible, but in all likelihood it’s going to be a long slog back. I mean just the numbers will go down and their businesses will be hurting on that side. So I think that the gaming companies that are going to win in the next five to 10 years are going to be companies that really invest in mobile gaming.

Stephen Murphy: I think there’s no other way around that just because… And by the way, I wouldn’t rule out the big land-based heavyweights from competing in this space. I think they have an advantage in that they’ve created spectacular experiences on the in real person side of things. And they have some money to invest in this, but ultimately they need to bolster their, right now, is a weakness compared to some of the bigger online gaming operators like the vandals and the draftings out there.

Ryan Knuppel: Sure. Man, I can’t even imagine the scene in Vegas right now. We’re going off topic here, but you living in Vegas and experiencing that atmosphere and now living in New York City, I think you mentioned that, off the air, about how different it is living in New York City during this than it is any other time. Think about Vegas right now and just almost like the sad state of that area and how it would feel. I mean, it’s such an electric city when things are right. I just can’t imagine it now. It almost has to feel like a ghost town and very depressing in that city.

Stephen Murphy: I’m sure it does, but I will say, I lived in Vegas in ’08 during the housing crash and so there were entire neighborhoods in Las Vegas that were abandoned. People… And ’08 wasn’t that long ago. And the city recovered, the area recovered and it became even more vibrant than it ever has. So, I think they do have some difficult times facing them, especially in the next year. But I’m longterm bullish on Las Vegas.

Ryan Knuppel: Agreed. I do agree with you there. It’s just, it’s a sad to see right now when I see the pictures of it and all of that and I’m just itching to get a Vegas trip in and I don’t see that happening anytime very soon.

Stephen Murphy: [inaudible 00:10:28].

Ryan Knuppel: Well cool. What is some of the futuristic stuff that we can look for? I know you talked about some news that you have now, talked about a few games, a few partnerships, but is there, I don’t know, any longer term vision you guys have or is it just continuing to plug away at what you’re doing, any longer term strategies or anything that you guys are looking to get into as more states come on board or as more companies get into this space, are you just looking to partner with them? Tell us a little bit about that strategy for you guys.

Stephen Murphy: Sure. On the product side, we’re looking forward to really introducing new concepts to the sports betting market and to the US market. So we’ve been in casino gaming, most of us at our company for over a decade and we wound up building at the time one of the highest grossing games on Facebook and some of the best performing casino content for Las Vegas casinos in our previous company. And so we have a lot of experience building hit games.

Stephen Murphy: And so one thing that we’re going to try to do when we launch our sports book technology and platform is to introduce new ways to bet. And so I can’t go into the specific details of what we’re building, but it’s in the vein of like when you think about PointsBet and how they have a different kind of way to bet.

Stephen Murphy: We’re going to introduce several new topics like that that I think will give current betters a new way to bet. And it will actually be, what our hope is, attractive enough to introduce brand new sports fans that may have been intimidated into sports books. So we’re really excited to build out and launch those products.

Ryan Knuppel: I love that. That sounds amazing. And anybody that’s in the sports betting field understands the types of bets. But yeah, when PointsBet come out with what they’re doing, I think it adds a level of intrigueness, where I’m intrigued about what’s going on anD I don’t know, it just gives a little fresh perspective to the sports betting landscape. So that sounds pretty cool. I’m looking forward to hearing more about that as it comes out and as you guys get down that path. So, very cool. Very cool.

Ryan Knuppel: Well, what else? What else do you have for the audience? How would they get ahold of you if they… Maybe not you or at least your company if anybody’s looking to work with you guys or just talk to you guys and hear what you have going on, how would they get ahold of you best?

Stephen Murphy: Yeah, of course. Well everyone can email me for that at [email protected], but I would say that for people looking to get more acquainted with Boom, check out our products. So our number one product for our partners out in the market right now is NBC Sports Predictor. That’s a product we launched a little over a year ago. Over a million people have played. We also launched the official lead gaming apps of NASCAR and the XFL.

Stephen Murphy: So NASCAR Finish Line and Play XFL and we’ll be launching a lot of new products in the months ahead so be on the lookout for that.

Ryan Knuppel: It’s pretty exciting. Very, very cool. Well I really appreciate that. We’ll put all the links up in the show notes of this. I don’t want to keep you, I know you’re a busy man. Got a lot going on. Any last words for the audience before we let you go here, Steve?

Stephen Murphy: Yeah, no thanks for having me. Hope everybody stays safe and looking forward to getting out there and having fun and gambling soon.

Ryan Knuppel: Yeah, absolutely. It’ll come back soon and we’ll be bigger and better than ever. This was Steve Murphy of Boom Sports. Hey Steve, I really appreciate you being here. Until next time, take care.

Stephen Murphy: Thanks Ryan. Have a good one.

Ryan Knuppel: You too. Bye-bye.

 

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