Founder and CEO of Sportego, a 360 fan engaging agency, Trevor Keane has a plethora of marketing experience in the sports industry and is an expert in technology and sport. Having started Sportego in 2016, the business has gone from strength to strength through the creation of Branded Fantasy Football games, White label fantasy football games, and Branded Fantasy Rugby games.
Trev also created NoFuchsGiven Sports – a highly successful esports team with Leicester football player Christian Fuchs in 2016. Trevor’s interest in innovation within electronic sports does not stop there however as he prepares to launch Fansly Ventures in 2020 – a new project that will aid in business development for sports startups. To celebrate National Entrepreneur Day we spoke to Trev about his successes and got some tips along the way…
There’s a consistent trend with the sort of work you do that contains both sport and electronics, what lead you down this career path?
Being honest, I have no real idea. I like sport, love music and tech so the opportunity to work in this space is something I chased and created for myself. I got into sports by writing two books and setting up my own company. I have been fortunate to remain in and work with cool clients. I think we are in the midst of an era where sport, music and culture are massively intertwined. You see Liam Gallagher’s clothing label Pretty Green partnering with Umbro, you see Marshmello doing virtual gigs in Fortnite and you see how Roma, an Italian football team, using Spotify to share the personality of their admin staff. Everything is working at a cool intersection and I am happy to be a very small part of this.
It seems that you can’t just stick with the one project and are always working on something new and innovative, where would you say the drive comes from to continue with new projects on an ongoing basis?
I find it hard to say no to exciting opportunities and good people. I am currently working with the European Cricket League to find the major sponsors and partners. The reason I got involved is I love the story of the founder, Daniel Weston (An Australian living in Germany that went around the country with a Gopro recording amateur cricket). I also think the ECL is exciting and reinventing a sport. The same with One Zero (sports business conference). You meet the CEO of that, Patrick Haslett and you get blown away by the passion. I like working with good people.
Do you find having so many projects on the go can get overwhelming? Do you have ways of dealing with this?
I have always liked to be busy. I find it hard to relax – not a great trait I know, so having multiple projects keeps life varied. I have no idea how I manage it all to be honest. I used to work in financial services and that to be fair made me very organised. I like lists and crossing out things. Maybe that helps.
Is there anyone who particularly inspires you professionally or personally?
I am lucky in that I live and work with good people. Personally, my wife Oonagh is amazing. She is a pebble artist and creates art pieces with pebbles. Watching the creative process is amazing, especially as I’m not a creative person. My mother has already been a huge support, nothing was ever impossible. She would encourage me to go and do everything and anything. You create great memories and unforgettable experiences when you have backing like that. I have been lucky to work with Geoff Wilson (a FIFA/FIBA consultant) and Mal Brannigan (CEO Dundee United). They are two good guys with incredible careers and are always willing to have a chat and a laugh. Colm O’Mealoid, a Hurler from Meath (yep, they exist) was my business partner in Sportego. We worked really well together. On an ‘“ I don’t know that person” level, I love the Blindboy podcasts. Very insightful, helpful, nice storytelling and in a way therapeutic. On a sports business level, he is a bit brash for my liking but I like Gary Vee and what he has achieved and done.
What has been your favourite project to date?
My most recent and final project with Sportego. I worked with Leicester City footballer Christian Fuchs to establish his esports team, NoFuchsGiven esports. I managed to work with EA to get a virtual kit, designed by Christian and Umbro, into the FIFA 20 game. Not only that, I managed to sell the front of shirt sponsorship on it. I am very proud of that.
Do you have any tips for budding entrepreneurs?
I have two tips. The first one is don’t go it alone. Find good people you can work with you, 30-50% of something is better than 100% of nothing. You need to find people that compliment your skills. The second one is to get as far as you can alone before you take investment. Investment is important and it does help scale and grow a business but unless you actually really need it do not chase it!
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