“Active Fantasy Sports” is an online exergame currently being developed and tested by IIT students and faculty in Psychology, Design, and ITM. The basic principles of this game involve integrating wearable activity monitors (e.g., Fitbit, Apple Watch, Jawbone, etc.) with season-long fantasy sport leagues (a previously sedentary game played by over 40 million adults). Given the complex variety of features offered in established season-long fantasy sports leagues, and the wide variety of wearable activity monitors and activity metrics, continued development of an Active Fantasy Sports game could take many different forms. The relatively small number of participants who’ve piloted early versions of the Active Fantasy Sports exergame (~60 participants in five different leagues, including three different sports) have reported high levels of enjoyment as well as increases in physically active.
Challenges remain, hence, this IPRO project opportunity! Scalability remains a significant challenge. Reducing cost and increasing reach will involve developing a web application that takes data from wearable activity monitors (using APIs), organizes those data, and automatically displays or executes consequences on fantasy sport host websites (e.g., on ESPN or Yahoo). Development of this web application has begun, and could continue to develop in many different directions. However, developing a commercially viable web application is expensive. Deciding which web application features to prioritize for development and how to fund this critical stage of development are the central problems/issues to be addressed by this IPRO. Exploring multiple potential solutions to this problem will be encouraged.
A long-term objective is to make Active Fantasy Sports a sustainable, profit-generating commercial success, helping millions of adults achieve greater physical activity (note the recent commercial and health-promoting success of another exergame, Pokémon GO). A short-term objective of this semester’s IPRO project is to identify the best strategy for securing investment funding to support the next stages of web application development and dissemination.
Students will develop a business plan for the Active Fantasy Sports exergame, including: (1) identification of web application features to prioritize for technical development, (2) consideration of marketing and brand strategy, and (3) strategies for fundraising, including industry partnerships and/or launching a crowd funding campaign. For additional mentorship, IPRO team members will connect with Chicago-area tech start-up incubators (e.g., MATTER and 1871).