Elevating Engagement in a Sports League with Social Predictions

Polkamarkets Labs
Polkamarkets Blog
Published in
8 min readFeb 14, 2024

1. Introduction: Elevating Engagement in a Sports League with Social Predictions

In October 2023, Polkamarkets Labs engaged in a partnership with the A Bola Padel Corporate League, the premier corporate league in Portugal for the world’s fastest growing sport, Padel.

This case study delves into the results obtained from integrating Polkamarkets Labs’ Social Predictions platform and know-how with a sports league: increased engagement and satisfaction for participants and more business value for sponsors and organizers.

2. The A BOLA Padel Corporate League: Fostering Corporate Camaraderie through Sports

The A BOLA Padel Corporate League, a Padel league between companies, was born in 2023 from a partnership between A BOLA, Portugal’s leading sports media organization, and CS Solutions, an experienced events organizer.

The League aims to foster networking, encourage healthy lifestyles and enhance visibility for participating companies.

Three editions were held in the first year. The 3rd edition unfolded over four months between October 2023 and January 2024 in Portugal’s largest cities, Lisbon and Porto.

The inaugural event featured a live-streamed pro match, social entertainment for participants and brand activation opportunities for sponsors. A total of 48 teams participated in the Group stage, battling weekly for the top positions in their groups to earn a spot in the National Finals, which brought together teams from Lisbon and Porto in a day-long event.

Each matchday allowed for further sponsor activation: food, drinks, goodies, even on-site massages and physiotherapy sessions.

After every match, players were interviewed by A Bola journalists, with dedicated articles being published on the leading sports news website in Portugal, along with video highlights.

3. Liga Fantasy: Expanding the League Off-Court to Boost Engagement and Value through Social Predictions

Homepage Fantasy — Padel Corporate League

Polkamarkets Labs specializes in creating Social Predictions products that gamify the interaction between a Brand and its Community.

With Liga Fantasy, players were invited to predict the winners of each match, the leaders of each group, and the winners of the competition.

A Leaderboard ranked players based on the number of correct predictions they made, with the top predictors being rewarded each week.

Rewards were offered by the sponsors, offering them one more venue to activate their brand and showcase their products or services during the League. In fact, a Sponsor was highlighted every matchday within the app itself.

The app is mobile-friendly and easy to use. So much so that players from 100% of participating companies made their predictions, with 85% being retained until the end.

Example of a Prediction in Liga Fantasy — A Bola Padel Corporate League
First week in Lisbon was sponsored by Carlsberg
Global Ranking with all the matches & Global Leaderboard Ranking View

“Liga Fantasy brought a new level of engagement to A Bola Padel Corporate League. The user experience was crafted and perfected exclusively for this initiative, also thanks to valuable live feedback and insights gathered during the competition. The platform showcased tremendous retention and prediction accuracy, captivating Players and fostering additional camaraderie and competition off-court. “ — Pedro Monteiro, Chief Product Officer, Polkamarkets Labs

4. Tangible Results for Players, Sponsors and Organizers

4.1 High Player Engagement, Prediction Accuracy and Satisfaction

  • High Player Engagement: The platform saw a remarkable level of active participation, with over half of the league players, from 100% of the companies, engaging in the Fantasy League. The fact that 85% of them played until in the end demonstrates the product’s ability to captivate and retain user interest.
  • Prediction Accuracy: Whereas players only accurately predicted the winners of 55% of matches played in the first matchday, the League ended with an average 80% prediction accuracy. This number demonstrates the players’ interest in Liga Fantasy, spending time studying teams to better predict their performance and increase their chance of topping the Leaderboards to win the rewards.
  • Satisfaction: In polls conducted during the event, 80% of inquired players had engaged in conversations about Liga Fantasy with other players. Qualitative feedback shows that users found the initiative “fun” and “rewarding”, with 100% of participating players asking for it to be continued in future editions of the League.

4.2 Increased Sponsor Activation and Awareness

  • Brand Activation: Liga Fantasy provided an additional opportunity for Sponsors to activate their brand during the League.
  • Product Awareness: Sponsors rewarded the best predictors, positively impressing Players and increasing awareness of the products and services that they provide.
  • Weekly Highlight: Each matchday, one Sponsor was under the Liga Fantasy spotlight, showcasing their logo on the platform, being talked about by the Players in relation to their rewards, and increasing the presence of their Brand in the League.

4.3 Storytelling, Conversations and Editorial Value for Media

  • Media and Social Media Enhancement: Liga Fantasy extended its impact beyond participant and sponsor engagement with real insights that enriched the editorial and conversational content of the League.
  • Data-Driven Storytelling: Predictions provided hard data on favorites and underdogs teams, enabling journalists from A BOLA to quickly grasp the story of each match, including in the context of flash interviews.
  • Deeper Content: Insights derived from the platform improved all aspects of content creating, providing media and the participants with previews, recaps, and analyses that were richer and more nuanced. This not only made the content more appealing but also increased reader engagement and time spent on the website.

4.4 Strong Net Positives for League Organizers

Thanks to Liga Fantasy, CS Solutions provided additional value to all stakeholders — Companies, Players, Sponsors, Media and even the Clubs where the events took place –, increasing the satisfaction and level of success of the 3rd Edition of the A Bola Padel Corporate League.

“The A Bola Padel Corporate League Fantasy League, developed by Polkamarkets Labs, was undoubtedly one of the main critical success factors of this 3rd edition. The dynamics created among the participants and the interaction during all the rounds generated additional excitement for all the stakeholders and fostered networking between companies and people from different companies. On the other hand, the opportunity for brand activation by the sponsoring brands, by offering prizes to the top predictors, contributed to a better experience for all those involved.

Working with Polkamarkets Labs, in particular with Alex, Ricardo and Pedro, was without a doubt an inspiring process. Their way of working is different, their processes are extremely agile and light, their responses and reactions are quick, and their ideas and way of implementing actions are dynamic, elevating the relationship of any partnership. It is easy to work with partners like these! Thank you Polkamarkets Labs :)”

- Tiago Chiote, CS Solutions

5. Best Practices for Engagement and Success

To ensure Liga Fantasy’s success, Polkamarkets Labs collaborated closely with CS Solutions to deploy and iterate on several digital and physical communication initiatives.

Our approach included a weekly email, on-site promotion, and social media engagement to build awareness, with the goal of building the community by ensuring involvement of Players, Sponsors and Media.

  • Weekly Email: An email was sent to all participants before each matchday, providing valuable information about Liga Fantasy and including a call to action to predict the outcomes of the upcoming matches. Importantly, this email highlighted the rewards and the Sponsor that provided them, directly incentivizing players to participate. The importance of the weekly email in driving engagement was proven through A/B testing.
  • On-site Promoters: Promoters were present on-site on matchdays to actively encourage participation in the Fantasy League and gather valuable feedback from participants. These interactions not only clarified any doubts but also fostered interesting conversations about the platform, directly leading to improvements that increased overall satisfaction.
  • Social Media: Videos, photos and written posts were crafted almost daily to captivate participants, offering a journey into the world of Fantasy League. These posts celebrated the skill and prediction prowess of winners, emphasizing the excitement and appeal of the Fantasy League experience.
  • Professional Media: Close collaboration with journalists from A Bola led to maximizing the usage of insights generated by Liga Fantasy, which resulted in improved content and reinforcing awareness of the initiative. about the Padel Corporate League.
Examples of Marketing Activation

6. Powered by Foreland and Polkamarkets: Technology Driving Engagement

Liga Fantasy was a white-label deployment of Foreland, Polkamarkets Labs’ Social Predictions platform.

Foreland is a unique and innovative technological solution that brings together the ease-of-use of well-known mobile and desktop user experiences and the Polkamarkets Protocol, a blockchain technology for prediction markets.

Using blockchain technology ensures that users’ actions on the platform are transparently processed and stored, differentiating Foreland from classic social platforms that are opaque and unpredictable.

Polkamarkets Labs customized the entire experience to deliver the perfect experience for Liga Fantasy:

  • Users could only participate if they were registered as Players in the league thanks to a custom “allow-list” created for the occasion
  • Data analytics and dashboards were shared with CS Solutions to measure the performance of the initiative in real time
  • Polkamarkets Labs provided white-glove service and handled the creation and management of prediction contests
On-site predictions

7. A Recipe for Sports Leagues Success

The Liga Fantasy experience showcases the value of Social Predictions for sports leagues. This innovative initiative demonstrates the transformative power of predictive markets in enhancing the spectator experience, deepening participant involvement, increasing sponsor visibility.

Talk with Polkamarkets Labs today to create a Fantasy League for your own Sports League.

“Liga Fantasy was not only a fantastic event put together by our partners, it was a fantastic opportunity for Polkamarkets Labs to prove the benefits of Social Predictions at multiple levels. Participants loved making predictions, sponsors were thrilled to further engage with the participants, and the organizers offered more value to all the involved. Finally, seeing the best forecasters being showered with rewards was particularly satisfying — this is what prediction markets are about.” — Alex Solleiro, Chief Executive Officer, Polkamarkets Labs

Padel Fantasy League Winner
National Finals day

8. Appendix:

Team Foreland: More Than Participants

As Padel players ourselves, some of us took the opportunity to also show our skills. Team Foreland qualified for the National Finals and had an amazing experience in this competition.

Polkamarkets Labs as Team Foreland at A Bola Padel Corporate League