NFL Player Stock Exchange Debuts in New Jersey, Platform Backed by Alex Rodriguez
Posted on: September 20, 2022, 10:16h.
Last updated on: September 21, 2022, 02:51h.
A new online betting exchange that facilitates the buying and selling of player stocks has commenced operations in New Jersey.
Mojo combines sports betting, fantasy sports, and stock market trading into a new online iGaming offering. Bankrolled by Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez, who are coowners of the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves, Mojo says it allows fans to turn their “sports knowledge into real money.”
Mojo users can buy or short shares of more than 300 NFL players. A player’s value is based on his past performance, with their future price dependent on their play.
We always said if someone could create a sports stock market, it would be the holy grail for sports fans,” Lore said of Mojo, a project he says has been in the works for more than two decades.
Mojo went live this week in New Jersey after receiving an online gaming license from the state’s Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE). Mojo has raised $100 million to date, which has gone toward developing the innovative player stock market.
Mojo has partnerships in place with Caesars Entertainment and Penn Entertainment, the former of which is being utilized in New Jersey to qualify the player stock market platform for an online operating license. Mojo has plans to expand its operations into nine additional states next year and bring new sports, including college, onto the exchange.
While Mojo is the first legal player betting exchange to launch in the US, it isn’t an industry first. In the UK, the Football Index took millions of dollars in trades on soccer players. But the platform eventually went belly up, leaving users last year with around $155 million worth of “open bets.”
The goal for Mojo users is to predict an NFL player’s end valuation at their time of retirement. Mojo is currently acting as the market maker to assist in user liquidity. The company says player values are based on career stats, and prices move in real-time 24/7.
“One of the really important premises of our market is that when you own stock in a player you’re basically guaranteed a payout based on their on-the-field statistics at the end of their career,” said Mojo cofounder and CEO Vinit Bharara. “There’s this objective formula that always anchors the value of the stock.”
Bharara, who made his personal fortune with Lore by selling Diapers.com to Amazon in 2011 for more than half a billion dollars, explained that earlier prototypes for Mojo encountered the problem of players growing older and becoming less valuable than they were during their primes. To overcome the issue of players eventually being sold off and becoming valueless, Mojo challenges traders to predict a player’s value based on their career performance.
The Mojo Value mechanism is an objective statistical formula that increases or reduces a player’s value based on their performance. For example, a 10-yard gain for a running back increases the player’s Mojo stock price by a penny. A turnover by the same player slashes their stock by four cents.
“We tirelessly studied NFL analytics to arrive at the simplest, most intuitive way to measure a player’s impact,” Mojo said. “Mojo Value is a single number calculated by weighing six important stats to summarize an athlete’s impact in real-life games. The better the athlete, the more Mojo Value you should expect over any period of time.”
Mojo believes it has arrived at the best method for valuing an NFL player’s worth. The baseline valuation determined on a player’s entire career — not only their worth this season — provides “intrinsic value,” so says Bharara.
When people buy a stock, that stock has what we call intrinsic value, meaning it has an objective dollar value that isn’t just worth what the next guy says it’s worth,” Bharara explained.
Mojo’s business model is predominantly based on the platform charging a 1% commission on all positions. If a user buys $500 worth of Tom Brady, the position is actually $495 after Mojo takes its cut. The site does not take a fee on cash-outs or settlements at a player’s retirement.
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