If you’ve ever thought about starting an office sports pool, we’re more than happy to help whether you use our service or not. We’ll walk you through the steps necessary to start an office pool that will be successful from the beginning. We have decades of experience managing office pools and fantasy sports leagues, and want to share some of what we’ve learned with you. A number of the things you’ll need to consider can be handled and managed on HostedPools.
1) Pick Your Sport/Format
If you’re thinking about starting an office pool, you likely already have a good idea of what sport you want to focus on, but every sport or major event tends to have several different format options for you to choose from. Some will take much more effort than others, so choose wisely. Take a look at the different office pool formats we have available and choose your favourite.
2) Make a List of Possible Entrants
Come up with a list of people or groups you know that may be interested in participating in your pool. If it’s a true office pool, confine it to those in your actual office or department. If not, that may still be a good group to start with. If you’re in other fantasy leagues or office pools, invite some of the participants if you know them. If you aren’t the manager/commish of that pool/league, you should ask permission before spamming their email list, asking people to join your pool. There are a bunch of other groups of people (teammates, classmates, etc.) that would be good to ask, and definitely don’t overlook the women. You may be surprised at the number of women that are in, or manage football pools on our site, including several winners.
3) Decide Entry Fee & Payout Structure
Once you’ve come up with your list of potential entrants, it’s time to think about your entry fee and your prize structure (assuming it’s not a Survivor/Winner take all type pool). As far as entry fee goes, it will depend on your entrants. The lower the entry fee, the more casual a fan/participant you’ll attract. The higher the entry fee, and the higher the overall payout ends up, the more serious player you’ll draw.
If your pool is starting small, your best bet is likely to make it a winner take all, or at most payout 2 positions. As your pool grows, you’ll want to pay out more prizes, and make the top prize a smaller percentage of the overall pie. Our rule of thumb for the pools we run is payout one spot for every 10 entrants in the pool, with the top prize being somewhere around 50% of the prize pool.
4) Decide Rules
All of the office pools on HostedPools.com have some pre-defined rules in place, but you do have some options, including multiple lives/strikes, as well as the type of defaults to use. Make sure your rules are targeted to your the type of entrants you listed and clearly communicated to them. It makes life as a pool manager a whole lot easier when you aren’t repeatedly answering the same questions.
5) Send Invitations
Once you have all of the details of your office pool set, it’s time to start filling up your pool. Go back to your list from step 2, and reach out to each one of them to invite them to join your new office pool. You can do the group email thing, but people are more likely to respond more positively to a more personal or individualized approach. HostedPools does have the ability to send out emails directly from your pool, both to the previous year’s entrants, or by submitted email addresses. We’ll take a look down the road at some strategies for growing your pool once it’s set up.
6) Keep Records
It’s very important to be transparent and keep meticulous records regarding your office pool. Keeping track of payments both coming in and going out, as well as any fees that will come out of the overall payout. Some of the fees you may have to consider are bank fees (if you set up a separate account, accepting paypal payments or sending Email Money Transfers to the winners) and the site hosting fee. Be sure to account for these in your payout structure, so you don’t find yourself out money for running your pool.
Also, for future years, keep track of who entered your pool, and how to contact them the following season. HostedPools offers both payment tracking for entries, as well as a listing of all of your entrants, which you can copy to a spreadsheet for your own records.
This should get you on your way to managing your office sports pool. We will be posting a handy checklist to aid you in the near future. Meanwhile, use ‘PICKOLOGY’ as your coupon code for a 10% discount on your first HostedPools Office Pool!