PickHoops Press PackagePickHoops is a small company based in Durham, NC, that manages national college basketball tournament bracket contests at http://pickhoops.com/ .
PickHoops started in 1996 when a bunch of computer geeks got tired of scoring their brackets by hand and applied web technologies, then brand new, to solve the problem. The first year PickHoops handled less than 40 brackets; the 2004 version handled more than 13,000 across hundreds of office groups and promotional contests.
Web surfers can sign up for a 50-bracket pool for $9.95, and invite their friends to play for no additional charge. PickHoops also handles larger pools ideal for corporate promotions, such as radio stations, that handle as many as 500 brackets.
It takes longer to score a typical pool by hand over the entire 6-round tournament than to actually play a game of college basketball.
PickHoops competes in a crowded field dominated by large media, web, and sports companies. PickHoops distinguishes itself by allowing more customization of scoring systems and tiebreakers and exclusive features like the Quick Pick. The PickHoops Quick Pick lets the computer fill out a bracket with randomly selected teams. The advanced statistical algorithm takes into account past tournament results to pick only the likeliest upsets. Recently a Quick Pick finished first in a pool of more than 30 "real" players.
Another innovative PickHoops feature is the Basketball IQ score. PickHoops asks each user to describe their own level of basketball knowledge on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is "none" and 5 is "all-knowing", and then compares their own rating with their actual results.
PickHoops also distinguishes itself from larger companies by offering pages with no advertising, no spam, and by not selling its users' data to marketing companies.
Office pool gambling is illegal in many states, although enforcement is unevenly applied. PickHoops was originally created for "teambuilding" within a corporation, as a means to bring its employees together with a fun activity. PickHoops does not include features that specifically cater to gambling, and is designed for amusement only.
PickHoops was founded by Chris Hehman (pronounced Hay-men), a graduate of Virigina Tech who doesn't have any time to watch college basketball with the demands of running PickHoops.