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A New Trend For In-game Experiences

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There’s a new trend swirling around sports and in-game experiences lately and that is in-game digital auctions.   For a relatively new concept, these auctions are generating quite a bit of revenue for professional sports teams with the click of a button.  Teams such as the LA Lakers, Portland Timbers, and others, have found a new revenue stream and way to engage fans at the game and those watching at home.

Our company based in Dallas, Texas is looking to capitalize on this growth.  DASH, Digital Auction Showdown, is the genesis of Founder, Jonathan Hufnagel, a former Major League Soccer professional.

The power of the DASH platform does not lie solely in the auctions. 

“Our competition, like, Gesture and these league auctions such as NBAauctions.com are pure utilities.  We’re building the Stubhub of sports and live entertainment auctions for fans.  What we bring to the table is an auction platform with a soul.  We’ll go to market with sports, but soon we will grow into concerts and live entertainment,” said Hufnagel.

“It makes so much sense to us.  Fans want authentic memorabilia and experiences directly from their favorite teams or artists.  The teams and artists want to generate revenue on their assets and increase fan engagement.  We’re bringing that together in the most emotional way possible, and that’s done during the event, as it is taking place,” said Hufnagel.

Hufnagel believes teams are not only going to generate revenue on the items, but also have the potential to generate a significant amount of return on DASH’s platform with the number of touchpoints fans are making on the app itself.

“Our first trial back in November 2015, we had 29 testers (fans) and an average of 40 touchpoints inside the app from each of them during the game,” said Hufnagel.  “Those are engagement statistics teams and leagues can’t ignore.”

We have a few tricks up our sleeve to keep fans coming back to the app over and over again.  One trick of the trade is that DASH is robust enough to allow instantaneous uploading of items which is a key feature that adds to the ‘soul’ of DASH auctions.

“From day one, we’ve been designing for the moment. The moment that history is made and fans are most emotional,” said Jason Osburn, Experience Architect for DASH.

Items such as the ball that hit a home run or the football that just crossed the goal line are now going up for grabs for fans to get their hands on right after they make history and go into the record books.

DASH is in good hands as Osburn and CTO of DASH, Pete Taliancich, formerly worked on and held leading roles in the development of digital platforms for national brands such as BET, WWE, NatGeo and others.

Hufnagel’s ‘ah-ha’ moment came while working at Major League Soccer and noting the struggles that the FC Dallas Foundation Director had with hosting her own, pen and paper in-game auctions. 

“The first thing I did was reach out to Melissa (Reddick, FC Dallas Foundation Director) and ask her if I had an idea that served a big need.  Her response was an overwhelming, yes, and she got me in touch with other Directors in the area and across sports to let them know what I was working on.  So that was the spark that got us into the sports market,” said Hufnagel.

As DASH has evolved and engaged in discussions with other professional teams, there’s a sense that more is at stake, and that is in the communities that the teams play.

Nearly every sports team has a charitable foundation responsible for embedding themselves into their local communities.  One way foundations do this is by raising funds with in-game auctions. 

“What we uncovered, was the Directors of these charitable foundations had no place to share ideas, hear about success stories, or even be recognized!  So we incorporated that into our business plan.  It’s very important to DASH that the Directors are recognized and have a place to go to bounce ideas off each other.  So, we began cultivating the DASH community to do just that,” said Hufnagel.

DASH has nearly a dozen trial teams using the platform already, ranging from professional to minor league clubs.

“We rolled out the iOS platform in November 2015 with FC Dallas and knew we had a hit.  Immediately, we began work on the Android version.,” said Hufnagel.

“At the moment, we’re filtering teams who want to be the right partner for DASH as we strive to control our growth.  The goal now, is not to generate mass amounts of revenue, but to collect data to understand the features and desires the fans and the teams using DASH really want,” said Damian Skinner, Marketing Director, for DASH. 

A majority of the data collected will be used to determine the next big feature sets of the DASH platform. 

“There are a lot of compelling ideas out there to incorporate into the platform.  It’s a blank canvas really.  There are so many angles to approach this from for teams, sponsors and for us at DASH as we continue to build out and evolve the platform,” said Skinner.  Everyone involved is gushing with ideas and opportunities.”

A few of the early ideas we’re implementing are an ‘Auction Showdown’ between two teams, blind auctions and proxy bidding.

“We’ve empowered the sports teams and given them a tool to generate revenue instantly with the DASH auction platform.  They take a picture, write a quick item description, and boom, they share it with their entire fan base, all across the world.”

The DASH app is available for all users with iOS and Android devices and can be downloaded through the official app stores as DASH Auction.