Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, right, with Jason LeeKeenan, CEO of Tally, in Seattle in 2018. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)
When the Seattle Seahawks take on the Los Angeles Rams on Oct. 3 this season, fans might want to predict how many touchdowns quarterback Russell Wilson will throw against his division rival on that day. The best way to do so could be through “Rams Pick’em,” a new mobile experience from the NFL team that is powered by Tally, the startup that was founded by Wilson.
The Rams launched “Pick’em” over the weekend for use during a pre-season game against the Oakland Raiders. The intention is to engage fans to make real-time predictions as the action unfolds on the field. Fans, playing on the web or through the Rams’ mobile app, earn points for every correct prediction and those over 18 can compete for prizes such as game tickets, field passes and autographed merchandise.
Tally is a free-to-play predictions platform, not a gambling app. But the move by the Rams, along with a similar effort by the Washington Redskins, signals what’s ahead with the eventual spread of legalized sports betting in the wake of a 2018 Supreme Court ruling that overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. It’s all poised to change how we watch and interact with live events.
Seattle-based Tally, which employees 14 people now, is an evolution of TraceMe, the company Wilson helped launch in 2017 as a celebrity content app. TraceMe shut down in 2018 and the business pivoted to the sports prediction model. Wilson was touting Tally during the Super Bowl in February.
“We believe that real-time predictive gaming experiences are going to be the critical components of engaging in live sports in the years to come,” Tally CEO Jason LeeKeenan told GeekWire. “We are positioning Tally to be the leading technology provider behind this evolution.”
The Tally app, showing, from left, phone authentication, dynamic odds, and a real-time leaderboard. (Tally screen shots)
According to its website, Tally white labels its user interface, custom branding it for any property looking to create such content. The Rams are the first NFL team to partner with Tally. LeeKeenan said other partnerships are in the works, but he wasn’t ready to announce whether the Seahawks might be one of those teams.
Sports Business Daily reported that Tally worked with the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers and the NHL’s St. Louis Blues on similar games earlier this year.
The Rams plan to use the mobile experience to present a mix of game-specific questions and micro-outcomes, according to the team’s news release. “Which team completes a passing play of 30+ yards in the opening half?” or “Which of these players racks up 10+ rushing yards first?” are example of questions posed to fans. Those playing can can track their success throughout a game and rankings are updated in real time as results are tallied live. Point values increase as the game progresses.
“We are thrilled to bring our fans closer to the action with an engaging second-screen experience,” Marissa Daly, Rams VP of media, said in a statement. “We feel that our free-to-play predictions game will be a fun way for fans to compete against one another while watching their Rams compete on the field.”
The Rams have leapfrogged the San Francisco 49ers to emerge as the Seahawks’ most heated division rival over the past couple seasons. Surely Seattle’s star QB will be more engaged with winning games on the field than worrying about predictions being generated in an app built by his company.
Regardless, LeeKeenan makes it sound like Wilson has already won.
“What can I say? Russell is a great entrepreneur and we hope all sports teams will be using our technology one day,” LeeKeenan said.