PSL Zone – its more than soccer, its a movement
When Brad Carter and Nathan Wilson met at the age of 11, they found friendship that was bolstered by their love for soccer and they their talent for Internet Technology. As they grew up hoping to someday play in the big leagues, they soon realised that the ecosystem that currently existed, just wasn’t conducive for a realistic opportunity in a career in soccer. So now, armed with years of experience in IT and even more in soccer, they are building a platform that will initially gather and disseminate data around soccer in South Africa, at all levels starting from the lowest levels and working their way up. They want to use information to build up communities by improving the game they love so much.
Brad and Nathan have known each other since their were 11 and both love soccer and IT.
Nathan even played in the lower leagues.
PSL Zone is more than looking at the Premier Soccer League (PSL), it looks at all levels of soccer within South Africa.
PSL Zone wants to collate of the information for soccer fans in a soccer crazy fan, where any information out there is mainly around the PSL.
Have been around for only 6 months, with the website being live for only 3 and a half months and have about 16.6k followers already on their Facebook page, proving the dire need for such a platform.
Using paid advertising and using targeted words and setting up your website to catch the right traffic has helped them grow their numbers.
Its important to know what your target market is looking for when you are setting up your targeted adverts or website.
They have been surprised by how their assumptions have been tested, but have made adjustments accordingly.
A free way to test the market, is by doing keyword searches related to your idea and see how many hits they get.
Their website, is a platform that allows the soccer community to engage in a way that it has never done so before.
They want to give information quickly, accurately and essentially on demand. Their future plans include having applications / devices being used by Match officials to update relevant information as it happens during the match.
They’ve built a platform that can be used for any sport and any professional level, which allows them the ability to pivot with ease.
The founders have similar but different things that keep them up at night, they want to succeed but also they want to make sure it works – even if someone else does it. Technology is also a challenge, because it plays such a pivotal role.
They have also realised that they need to cater for other African languages on their platforms.
Once they have grown it enough to pay their bills and feed themselves, they will take this on full time.
They are looking to diversify their revenue, by enabling the selling of merchandise and betting on games on their site.
Their only regret is that they didn’t start sooner, and in particular during the off-season to get more traction.
Biggest lessons: realising how much they didn’t know and testing your help desk’s quality.
“The specific discussion that lead to the formation of the PSL Zone was over a beer, which is a good way to start such businesses, I think.”
“The information was just really poor, or in some instances non-existent.”
“So in the 3.5 months that we’ve been live, if you search for anything South African soccer related, chances are we’ll be in the top 4 results on Google. And this is just the two of us running our little PSL Zone website, versus companies with 100s of people employed.”
“Because we are in an uncompetitive space, the cost of advertising is actually quite low.”
“Are people just not engaged? Is there a problem with our conveyor belt of getting young, talented players up and through the ranks because they are not getting seen?”
“With regards to the information, the speed at which it is delivered, of the lower leagues is an issue.”
“At the moment, we are a data disseminator.”
“So to me its about elevating the community that is around that team.”
“You could be scoring 40 goals a season and no-one would even know.”
“So, if there’s passion and an interest in getting that information, it could work for it.”
“We stay fans and we will stay fans, first and foremost.”
“This frustration you are feeling now, the fans are feeling it too. And that means that there is a need. So if we can meet that need, we are doing something right.”
“No regrets, I could do this all day.”
“We started it and suddenly we had a brand.”