07 August 2015

Sports and the Media: Fantasy Football

Guest Article by Nathan Whitcomb

Have you ever heard people say, “With my first round pick I’m going to draft Peyton Manning…” or “My wide receiver, Calvin Johnson, caught 3 touchdowns and got me a ton of points..” if not, then your one of the few people who haven’t seen the NFL taking advantage of using social media and technology to draw a new crowd of fans in. I want to talk about how fantasy football has gone above and beyond the other big professional sports by creating TV shows; cash prize tournaments, and just the overall fun of beating your opponent while silently drawing more fans to watch football.

First of all, unlike basketball, hockey, baseball, or soccer, football has multiple television shows, which give advice on which players you should keep or who you should drop or trade. Fantasy Football Now is on a major network (ESPN 2) and starts two hours before kickoff. Now that’s sneaky because it means from 11 am till the night game, fans and fantasy participants can have there eyes glued. According to NFL.com, a Harris Poll last October said that 59 percent of Americans follow the NFL and that is up more than 10 percentages from the 47 percent who said they followed the NFL 10 years ago. I think that collaborates with what Ellot Caroom from the New Jersey Star-Ledger says and that’s, “15 years ago when I tried to get people to enroll in a fantasy football league, they’d look at me like I asked them to go to a Star Trek convention."

Now let’s talk about what everyone wants: Money. Fantasy Football could be played for free but there’s always cash prize tournaments that have people on edge to pick right. Websites like Draft Kings and Fan Duel are so big that you can see them on TV, billboards, or even on the radio. Now Paul Charchian, a veteran of the fantasy sports industry says that, “In 2012, people spent $1.6 billion on products and services in the fantasy sports space, and that does not include entry fees,” Charchian believes that the total industry tops over $3 billion. People like making money and if cash prize leagues provide gambling without breaking the law… like it or not NFL, gambling is helping your league.

Lastly is our new generation coming up. Years ago, if you didn’t have access to a television, you listen to the game on the radio. Now days, if you can’t watch a game, you’re going to catch the updates on your computer or phone with things like twitter and other apps. Social Media is a very test-wasting event because from million of tweets from athletics to the ESPN app giving play by play scores to keep you updated. On twitter, some football players are known for trash talking a opponent before or after a game. Biggest offender… Richard Sherman. He’s got thousands of people talking with he’s rants and bashing on players making him one of the most known NFL player’s worldwide.

Now I’m not saying that other sports don’t have fantasy sports (I play them all the time), I’m saying that football has taken a big leap forward and using media to draw fans to watch the game. When you watch football now, it’s not just because you love the game or it’s your favorite team. Reasons can be for your facing your best friend, or gambling a lot of money on a certain team or player, or even receiving a tweet from a athletic trash talking he’s opponent and you want to see him back it up. It’s a new day in age so sink it in.

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