The website and apps for News Corp Australia’s two fantasy football leagues, NRL SuperCoach and AFL SuperCoach, have been redesigned ahead of the launch of their 2016 seasons on January 29.
The redesigned apps don’t change the core components of the popular games but do provide a more modern and less cluttered mobile experience that aims to address usability concerns raised by users in previous years.
SuperCoach is a free game where users compete by assembling a team of real-world players within an allocated salary cap. The performance and price of each football player is based on their real-world performance.
Peter Brown, head of digital for The Daily Telegraph said the leagues are “a massive engagement piece of commercial value” and attract a lot of traffic for The Daily Telegraph and the Herald Sun – the News mastheads that run NRL SuperCoach and AFL SuperCoach.
In 2015, the two leagues collectively attracted more than 200 million page impressions and around 300,000 players.
Mr Brown said a significant driver of these numbers is the range of editorial content supporting the leagues, such as articles with expert advice and real sports stories written with the SuperCoach audience in mind.
“We’re really committed in season 2016 to produce more SuperCoach journalism than we ever have before. It’s a very strong part of our content strategy and content portfolio,” Mr Brown said.
Fantasy sports leagues can be a lucrative business and there are a number of examples internationally and in Australia, like daily and weekly fantasy platform MoneyBall.
Some leagues have subscription models; others include a gambling component or carry entry fees that are pooled into a cash prize for the winner.
British tabloid The Sun has its own popular fantasy football platform called Dream Team. Off the back of its success, gaming giant Tabcorp partnered with News UK last year to launch a new online betting business called Sun Bets.
“I think every media business is looking for different opportunities across their platforms and maximising their audience to their best possible outcomes,” Mr Brown said about Dream Team and the future potential fantasy sports platforms.
“NRL and AFL are by far the most dominate fantasy sport codes in Australia so that’s where we’ve focused most of our attention, but that’s not to rule out the possibility of expanding games into different sporting codes.”
For now, some SuperCoach players are just keen for the 2016 season to begin, like 30-year-old Woolworths manager Stephen Wilson.
Mr Wilson regularly reads The Daily Telegraph’s sports coverage and is already reading content published about the 2016 NRL SuperCoach.
He has been playing NRL SuperCoach for several years although he decided to take a break from the game in 2015 because it became “just a bit” of an obsession.
“It makes each football game more exciting as well, just because you’re cheering on each player that you have in your team”
“It makes each football game more exciting as well, just because you’re cheering on each player that you have in your team,” he said.
“A lot of my friends are on it; we have our own leagues.”
Former NRL star Anthony Minichiello and wife Terry Biviano will be the ambassadors for the 2016 NRL SuperCoach season and will offer advice and their best picks each week throughout the season.
There are a number of cash prizes during the 2016 season, including a major prize of $50,000 and a weekly prize of $1000 awarded to the player with the highest SuperCoach score per round.
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