Jean-Charles Gaudechon

CEO of OneFootball Labs

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Is Web3 the Future of Fan Engagement in Sports and Entertainment

In this episode of The Product Show, we explore the intersection of sports and Web3, questioning whether Web3 can fix the broken aspects of football or if it’s too broken itself to make a difference.

We all know that fan engagement is essential in sports, and Web3 and NFTs seem to be the perfect tools to harness the power of communities.

However, the reality is not so straightforward.

To help us navigate this topic, we spoke with Jean-Charles Gaudechon, CEO of OneFootball Labs and former Electronic Arts Vice President. According to JC, we’re only at the beginning of the sports revolution, and Web3 is the future of sports and gaming.

Here are some of the highlights from the episode:

  • JC’s journey from a game creator at EA to the CEO of One Football Labs;
  • Why JC believes that Web3 is an incremental part of the future of sports and gaming and that we’re only at the beginning of the marathon;
  • What it means to own a moment from a football game and whether you can truly own anything;
  • Whether football fans are genuinely excited about Web3 and what the industry is doing to increase adoption.
  • The practical applications of NFT technology in sports that we can expect to see in the near future.
  • When we might see the Aha moment of the NFT industry.
  • The teams and footballers who are already doing exciting things in the Web3 space.
  • The main lessons JC learned from the highs and lows of the past year.
  • And finally, JC’s favourite football team he can finally reveal after hiding it for 16 years.

One thing to note: JC hates the term NFT, so you might want to avoid using that term around him.


Please note this transcript is automated

Desi Velikova: [00:00:00] Today we’re diving into the topic of sports in Web three. Can Web three fix the broken aspects of football or easy to broken itself to make a difference? We all know that fan engagement is the backbone of the sports industry, and as for NFTs in Web three, they’re all about harnessing the power of communities.

So it looks like a match made in heaven, but things aren’t so perfect at the moment. To discuss the topic in more detail, I spoke to Jean-Charles Gaudechon, CEO of One Football Labs, and former Vice President of Electronic Arts. He’s a firm believer that we are at the beginning of a sports revolution. He shared with me, how they’re going to revolutionize the football experience with OneFootball Labs and why he thinks Web3 is the future of sports and gaming.

So without further ado, let’s listen to what Jason’s got to share. And I warn you he hates the term NFTs.

Desi Velikova: Hi JC. You are the CEO of One Football Labs, a joint [00:01:00] venture between Animoca Brands, One Football and Liberty City Ventures. You’re building a platform aiming to bring the football experience into Web three. But before we dive deeper into what you guys are doing at. One Football Labs. I want to find a little bit more about your time at Electronic Arts.

For people who are not familiar, Electronic Arts are one of the global leaders in digital entertainment and gaming. They’re the company behind FIFA and NBA live, and many world famous games. You spent there 16 years and most recently you were the vice president of their Asia studio. So tell me a little bit more about the factors that contributed to your decision to stay there for such an extended period of time.

I think it says a lot about you, not only about the experience you are gaining, but also about you as a.

Jean-Charles Gaudechon (JC):

So basically yes, I spent almost 16 years at

EA. Some people say that, this is big companies where you get comfortable and [00:02:00] stay for a long time. For me it was slightly different.

First it was a dream to be making games. I’m a software engineer. That’s my, I’ve got a master’s in computing computer science. But I wanted to make games. I knew it from very early, and that was almost like 25 years ago. Doesn’t make me younger. That’s actually I’m I’m a veteran now in the industry.

And I had a chance basically to start on fifa because I’m a massive football fan and because, it was just a dream to be on that it was a time where Kmi, Provo a pro promotion soccer was. Probably the best game out there. But EA gave me a chance in Vancouver and I wasn’t even there for the diploma ceremony at my engineering school.

I was already gone and trying to work at I, and basically I had a chance to get in. To it and studied my career there. I’ll be I’ll be forever thankful to ye to gimme a chance. And then I started on FIFA in Vancouver Studio. But then what I did to reinvent myself all throughout my career at the year was to.

Change studios and always to learn and always to make, to work on new games and on, on all platforms. So I had a chance to work on [00:03:00] FIFA for the longest time but also need for speed battle field. Many other, large ips which was just fantastic to work for. What are some of the most valuable lessons that you learned there and that you took with you and now you’re applying it one football lap.

Yeah. I’ve learned, this is really where I learned a lot about product development. You may or may not like, ES products, there’s always, it’s an entertainment industry, right? So it’s, you may love it, you may not, but, I’ve learned so much on just the creative process of developing a video game obviously the business process that basically all parts of making a game.

And to me, that’s always been, The kind of my quest in order to go into a new studio, because every studio is completely different. When you think ea the studio in Sweden, dice making battlefield, or the studio in Vancouver making FIFA are completely different studios there’s a bit of a common denominator, but.

But you learn complete different approach, again, on the creative process. But also just the whole, product cycle, product development cycle. So to me, that’s really the [00:04:00] biggest things I’ve learned is around product development, obviously. When it comes to really things that I keep with me it’s about the, there’s nothing more important in.

I would always say that to me there is, it’s usually, money, quality time, and there’s one, that really gives you the quality is time and you can’t, in any industry or product industry, I find at least. Creative product in the street.

Nothing replaces time and the time that you’ve got to really come up with the right concept and then go through every stage of development, but taking the time, every time to ask yourself the right questions. Are you building the right thing? Are you answering a real need to, consumers, players, et cetera?

To me, I think that’s the biggest lesson or something I try to apply every morning when I go to, to.

Desi Velikova:

You became the CEO of OneFootball Labs in August, 2022. If I’m not wrong, why were you the best person for the job? Is it mainly your involvement in fifa? But what else? What other soft skills do you bring with you?

Jean-Charles Gaudechon:

Good question. I think, should. [00:05:00] Person that hired me, who actually gave me or the consensus of shareholders that found that I was the right person. I think to me it’s a mix. It’s a mix of creative vision, knowing where, what products to build and business acumen.

I think that comes, with especially my last gig when I was running Asia for Asia studios for Ye, I had studios all throughout Asia and many different products like FIFA Mobile in Shanghai, fifa online, which is PC video play in Korea and many others. And working also very closely with partners like Tencent, et cetera, for the distribution of our games.

So I think it’s a mix of understanding. Product vision, or at least hoping that I. I have a pretty good idea of what a, a good, football game looks like, whether it’s powered by blockchain or not. Here the beauty is there’s the web three component to it which I’m coming in very humble because that’s not something I’ve learned at year, but of course I’m, I’ve always been very close and understanding that space or trying to understand that space.

And of course the business acument that you need in order to run, a company, a team, and a business. Tell me a little bit more about one football apps, what [00:06:00] exactly you guys are doing. For people who are not familiar, gimme the elevator. Yeah, no. So one football labs basically is the is the arm of one football mostly as the biggest investor into that jv, but also, working closely with that lcv, as I said, and then Animo to build the best possible web three football experiences.

And it goes basically from, gam. To full on games the way we started and when I came in August, a lot of that development started already was a lot more around, digital video moments collection. And that’s been the first the first deep into the web three pool was or is, through the DVMs, which is the model of dapper for the ones that know and be a top shot as an example.

So the idea very much was to and. To adapt this dvia or build experiences around these digital video moments and allow people to then, own moments of football get, football much closer to their fans. Interestingly enough, when football, Modo has always been, no one gets you closer.

And [00:07:00] interestingly enough, that’s exactly what we’d be trying to do here because yes, you’re a spectator of football. Yes, you can watch, games on tv, et cetera, et cetera, but do you actually, do you own a piece of the cake to a certain extent? And when you think of it, web three, we all know that, or people close to it, has a chance to give you maybe a tiny piece of that cake, but a bigger one and very interesting ways for you to consume your.