Hank Ratner, Tom Rogers Invest in Live Sports Gaming Startup WinView

WinView, a startup whose app lets sports fans compete for cash prizes and interact while watching games on live TV, has closed a $3.4 million series A round of funding led by media execs Tom Rogers and Hank Ratner.

Both Rogers, chairman and former CEO of TiVo, and Ratner, vice chairman of Cablevision Systems and ex-CEO of Madison Square Garden Co., are joining WinView’s board with the investments.

The investment brings Redwood City, Calif.-based WinView’s total funding to date to $6.5 million. The company said it will use the new investment to complete development and launch the free-to-play WinView Games app in time for the 2016-17 NFL season.

The app from WinView, positioned as delivering a more engaging experience than fantasy-sports gaming sites like FanDuel or DraftKings, lets users play along in real-time with live televised sports to compete and win prizes based on an ad-supported business model. All of the games in the WinView app are produced in a live studio environment by producers based on what is happening in real time on the playing field. WinView claims its “free games of skill” are legal in every U.S. state.

Ratner and Rogers backed WinView founder and CEO Dave Lockton’s previous second-screen play-along company, Interactive Network. “Now, with our involvement combined with our relationships with all the constituents in the sports television industry, including the leagues and networks, the stage is set for WinView to take off and scale this fall by tapping into sports fans’ inherent desire to engage with this next-generation TV sports entertainment experience,” Ratner said in a statement.

Added Rogers, “Playing along on a second screen while watching TV sports live is all the rage in Europe, having reduced fantasy sports to also-ran status… WinView has deep intellectual property for two-screen live play along on TV.”

The company also announced the appointment of two investors to its board: Steve Goodroe, former VP of global customer marketing of Procter & Gamble and CEO of Dunnhumby USA, and Bryan Jacoboski, managing partner of Abingdon Capital Management. In addition, John Costello, president of global marketing and innovation of Dunkin Brands, and chairman of the Mobile Marketing Association, is joining the company’s advisory board.

WinView’s says it has a portfolio of 26 patents, including those covering synchronization of second-screen apps with TV broadcasts and commercials and a process to determine the optimum methods of monetizing sports-based games of skill. WinView plans to sell sponsors and advertisers access to all the two-screen game participants through sponsorship of the game, in-game videos and interactive commercials in sports telecasts. The company hopes to expand its service in partnership with TV broadcasters and mobile carriers.

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