Those who know me well know that I am a bit of a tragic for Herald Sun’s AFL Supercoach. It hooks me in every year and since 2007 I have put together a team. When I was at Mindshare Melbourne we put together a league, and despite many of us moving into different roles the Mindshare league remains a pretty competitive one. My best effort was making the preliminary finals once (I think it was 2009).
Anyway – this isn’t about my Supercoach team. But it did inspire this post.
My team, Shepherd’s Pies, is currently 11th in the Mindshare league. 5 wins. 5 losses. Not bad, not great. The thing with Supercoach is it plays to 3 areas of weakness. 1/ Footy. The more the better for me. 2/ Competition. I want to win, I want the bragging rights. 3/ Sports analysis. Some of us like to read stats and pretend we’re football analysts.
Placing 11th doesn’t sit well with me. This season each player (of which there are over 330,000) gets 24 trades for their teams. These 24 trades need to last 24 rounds. Trades are the most valuable commodity in Supercoach and the strategy around trading is generally what separates medicore from great.
At round 12 I have 3 trades left. 12 more rounds of footy left and I have 3 trades to last me. It’s a disaster. But it got me thinking. I am surely not the only guy in this situation. Actually … I’d say there are probably another 150,000 people in a similar situation staring down the barrel of another poor season.
So … I was thinking. Imagine I could buy trades? Imagine the Herald Sun allowed me to buy a maximum of 4 trades per season at a cost of, say … $50 a trade.
Would I hand over the money?
Right now, yes. I’m in 11th place, 1 game out of the finals and 4 extra trades could be the difference between glory and shame. The Commercial Director in me thought – “someone like me could be worth an untapped extra $200 per year for the Herald Sun.”
My feeling is that, of the 330,000 odd Supercoach players, approximately 65,000 are passionate about it, or 20% of the competition. My gut tells me these 65,000 people would consider buying a trade if they could.
Let’s say 20,000 of them bought just 1 trade at $50 per trade … this would generate incremental revenue to the Herald Sun of $1m PA.
If 20,000 bought the 4 trades, that could generate $4m PA.
Not a bad result for putting a bit of extra code and some transaction capabilities on the Supercoach site.
$50 for me is an amount that feels right. You need to have invested significant time and effort into your team to consider a $50 cost to buy a trade. If it was $5 my feeling is most people would do it and it would impact the game. But $50 provides a barrier, but is also something you would consider if you’d spent, say 10-20 hours over the year carefully managing your Supercoach team.
Is it in the spirit of the game? Hard to say. But many online games adopt similar strategies where the user has to pay for an advantage. Perhaps it would add to Supercoach, making it an even more accurate representation of professional sport?
Extra revenue PA of $1m+ is something no business wouldn’t look at especially within minimal costs incurred. Even News Ltd.