Game Changer

Cover5 is reimagining the way people play fantasy sports

When Scott Schmidt created the Cover5 game, he wasn’t looking to revolutionize the fantasy sports world, but for a way to stay connected with friends after college. Schmidt’s effort to keep his crew close together turned into something much bigger. Serious and casual sports fans alike all over the United States now enjoy Cover5, a social fantasy sports application that can be played on a computer or mobile device. “We have a very diverse and engaged audience: male, female, old, young,” Schmidt says. “I’ve got people that have written in saying they’ve got leagues that are family leagues, with grandmothers down to eighteen-year-olds.”

In traditional fantasy leagues, people draft players and track their teams. With Cover5, participants pick five games against the site’s point spread and earn points based on how well a player does against the spread. The game is free, and participants can form leagues as large as they like. Currently, people may pick games from the NBA, NFL, college football, and college basketball. “When I started thinking of a game, I started to think of what type of attributes I wanted involved,” Schmidt says. “One was strategy, because I’m a passionate fan and I like competition. I thought, let’s use point spreads.”

Schmidt originally created Cover5 to keep his friends connected, but as the game gained momentum, he decided to turn it into a business. His drive to make Cover5 a success is driven by two things: wanting to win, and providing a fun, new game for sports fans to play. People can track their Cover5 picks on their computers, but Schmidt and his team are determined to make the game as mobile-friendly as possible. The Cover5 app is available on Google Play and on the Apple App Store. “It’s difficult to play a traditional fantasy football game strictly on a mobile app,” Schmidt says. “With the Cover5 game play, it’s natural for mobile. Simply log into your app and make five picks. There’ll be a message board, the weekly results, and everything can be done at your fingertips.”

Schmidt admits that creating Cover5 wasn’t easy in the beginning. “There are so many entrepreneurs in this space,” he says. “I don’t think [people] realize how difficult it is. You really need all of these different things aligning to get to the level you want.”

Cover5 has also received national exposure, thanks to recognition from sports personalities like NBC Sports’ Dan Patrick and Yahoo! Sports Radio host Steve Czaban. Schmidt admits getting to know two people that he grew up watching and listening to has been one of his favorite parts of this experience. “I talk to them regularly, and it’s been a surreal and cool process,” he says. “Both are very bright people; I’ve met a lot of great people in the sports world since I started.”

Although Cover5 has changed the way a lot of people think of fantasy sports, Schmidt has no intention of trying to take over the platform. He sees Cover5 as supplement to people’s fantasy sports playing, or an alternative for people who love sports, but may not have time to commit to a full-fledged fantasy league. “We don’t look at it like we are competing with fantasy football, because so many of our players also play fantasy football,” Schmidt says. “We’re just another game that creates a unique experience, because we make every point of every sporting event matter.”