OHK Labs is unveiling its SportsPicker Challenge today. It’s a Facebook and iPhone app that lets you bet against friends over the outcomes of sporting matches. You can’t win real money, but you can win bragging rights and real prizes. Players can bet on sports such as MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL, NCAA football and basketball, EPL, MLS, and EUFA Champions soccer. The game is meant to create another “second screen” experience where players can interact with the game while watching sports on TV.
Boca Raton, Fla.-based OHK Labs is going up against RocketPlay’s Sports Casino game on Facebook, which is published by Zynga and re-creates the feeling of betting in a casino sportsbook. Neither of these games allow you to place bets on sports events and collect real-money winnings. The game launched quietly in August and it has seen more than 30,000 picks made in the past month.
With SportsPicker Challenge, players can bet on a variety of outcomes. The game’s scoring system takes odds into account. A victory by the favored team earns 100 points, but an underdog win earns 125 to 200 points. The player with the most points at the end of the challenge period wins. Those who participate in prize challenges can win gift cards from Amazon, Sports Authority, Best Buy, ScoreBig.com, and more. Other prizes include the EA Sports Madden NFL 13 video game and a pair of tickets to an NFL game. So far, more than $10,000 in prizes are scheduled.
Oren Kantor, an avid sports fan who wanted to extend the excitement of March Madness beyond the tournament period, started the company in 2011. He found that fantasy sports leagues and online prediction games were unsatisfying.
“With fantasy leagues, the games become meaningless, because the only thing that matters is individual player stats,” Kantor said. “Also, fantasy leagues require a lot of time – players have to keep up with who is starting and make substitutions all season long. That can take the fun out of the game. With SportsPicker Challenge, it’s all about team performance and the player’s skill in picking winners. SportsPicker Challenge gives a bracket challenge feel to all sports.”
Features include setting reminders for when players need to make picks. The game doesn’t penalize a player if they break a winning streak with a single bad pick. The game is free-to-play; players can play for free and spend real money on particular features. The company raised $250,000 in seed funding and has generated $150,000 in launch-related sponsorships.
The company has four employees. Other rivals include ESPN Streak for the Cash, Fox Sports Pro Football Pick’em, and Yahoo Sports IQ. Investors include the 22 Hundred Group in Boca Raton, Fla. Kantor is a young entrepreneur who has a masters in entrepreneurship from the University of Florida. He started his first company at the age of 13, providing entertainment services in his home town in Boca Raton. He spent time becoming an eBay PowerSeller selling golf clubs and aftermarket car accessories, and he founded RipTees, a custom-cut T-shirt company.