In our series, “A Start-up Story,” Industry West talks to Saskatchewan start-ups and their journey to entrepreneurship. Meet founders Zac Friesen, Ryan Donohue, and Patrick Ullrich, and their venture: Call The Shot.
Regina’s Zac Friesen is a big sports fan. Not only does he like watching sports, he’s also active in fantasy leagues which adds to his engagement with sports teams. One day at a football game, Friesen’s team was losing early on, and he got to thinking about how he and fans like him could get more from a game even when their team was losing. “I figured there had to be a way that fans could have even more fun at a game, similar to the engagement fans get from fantasy leagues,” says Friesen. “I was thinking about some sort of app.”
His app idea led him to a 24-hour start-up event at the Conexus Cultivator business incubator in 2018. Zac and his idea won second place in the competition and set Friesen on a path to develop his idea into something that could be commercialized. He was joined by developers Ryan Donohue and Patrick Ullrich and their company and their app, named Call The Shot, were created.
Call The Shot is a fan engagement app, designed for fans to “play along” while watching their favourite team sport. “The app is designed to give fans a stake in the game, beyond just viewing,” says Friesen. “Fans log in during the game and make predictions on the game itself.” Sports fans can play along with other fans, earning points and winning prizes, by guessing on things like which team will score first, what players will do and more. Sports teams can encourage fans to play along wherever they are – in the stands, at their local bar or at home.
Friesen tested the app during the 2018 Super Bowl at Victoria’s Tavern and got excellent feedback on how to make the app better. The Call The Shot team took their idea forward again by applying to the Co.Launch program at the Co.Labs Incubator in Saskatoon. They were accepted, and are about halfway through their residency. “We’re moving into a larger test phase this summer, working with the Regina Thunder,” says Friesen. “We’re also working with some local bars to test the app with their customers watching sports and exploring a partnership with the Casino Regina Show Lounge to test with UFC fans.”
As the Call The Shot team tests and perfects the app, Friesen is planning how to engage with sports teams to make their fan experience even more immersive and fun. “As fantasy leagues and sports betting shows, fans want to be close to the action,” says Friesen. “Call The Shot gives fans a richer experience, and provides teams with another way to engage with their customers.”
Learn more about Call The Shot at calltheshot.io.