We can learn alot from the NFL, professional sports, and the businesses behind them. While I’m not really a fan myself, and don’t entirely understand the concept of Fantasy Sports, they are a rapidly growing phenomenon around the office and online. Basically, people gather together to create the list of players for their “team”. Then, the real-life players play their normal games, and these folks collect and review the real-life stats to count points for their virtual team.
Confusing, yes; Informative, definitely!
The growth of Fantasy Sports has produced an entirely new set of fans. People who weren’t really interested in the “atmosphere” of sports, sports bars, or Sunday parties with beer and pretzels are now finding an interest in the game. Well, not the game itself, but the stats. We can learn from why the outgrowth of Fantasy Sports has been a tremendous business decision to boost the NFL and other professional leagues.
Fantasy Sports Become Free Marketing
Whether someone was interested in the game, specific teams or the latest prison-drama, buzz and competition spreads in the Fantasy Leagues at the office, church, school or online community. Monday mornings are now filled with people talking about football, specific teams and individual players. Post-game talk and promotion is no longer limited to highlight reels on the local news or SportsCenter. Now, the conversation is extended throughout the week, and to new people by nature of the Fantasy game. And it doesn’t cost a dime!
Now anyone can be a fan
Let’s suppose for a moment you live in Cincinnati – as do I. Watching the local NFL team is much like going to the dentist – painful time spent lounging in a chair only to be told to come back for more pain later… Or, perhaps you live in an area where there is no professional team nearby. These scenarios both mean it’s likely a large portion of the potential viewing audience and licensed apparel customers may not have an active interest in the team or game.
But, get people interested and invested in Fantasy leagues, and they are now not only interested in one team – but EVERY team. Building this new network and game breaks down regional interest barriers, and gets individuals actively engaged in the game, regardless of how their local team plays.
It’s a money-making machine
The NFL already has some very powerful and successful businesses built upon it. Contacts with major networks for games bring direct revenue. Licensing deals with individual manufacturers and companies also secure ongoing money. Plus, expansion of cable and satellite options further expand the money-making potential.
As we discussed before, Fantasy leagues engage viewers in all games, rather than only one or two. So, watching the games on my local network isn’t enough if I want to be on top of my Fantasy league. Now, I need to subscribe to premium services on the television or internet to allow me to see how all games are progressing. Meaning – more people watching more football, equating to higher advertising dollars!
Plus, networks, leagues, and independent companies are shooting up like LA wildfires to put their own spin on a league with high prize values to the champion.
Great – Fantasy Sports are Genius – But what’s the point?
As I was writing this, I was thinking the same thing to myself. “Self, you’ve written a great item about football and fantasy sports. Now, how am I going to apply this building business online?” For us, the key items to learn from this strategy are just under the surface.
Create a reason for increased engagement
We’d all love it if the entire world visited our site daily. But, unless we keep new reasons for someone to return, they won’t. Do everything in your power to keep fresh content daily. Plus, spread your website’s wings beyond your individual area of the world or business. Create an engaging game or “hunt” for tips, clues or items that force readers to dive more deeply into the content and the site. Perhaps you can create a contest where readers submit a content, questions, clues, etc. No matter what you offer, make sure you give a reason for people to keep coming back.
Get people invested
Let’s face it, not everyone is going to love what you had to say. But, most people love what they have to say. Actively find ways to give your readers a voice or opportunity to share what they have to offer. We all love talking about ourselves; let’s use that to our advantage. In the same way Fantasy sports make everyone a team owner and manager, we need to find ways to make everyone an author, publisher, expert, designer, etc.
Get people “marketing” for free
Recall the Monday morning conversations about who’s player did what on the field. Wouldn’t it be great if there could be watercooler discussions about what was going on in your world? Find a way to get people talking about what they found on your website. Perhaps you offer a weekly hunt for a typo, daily odd tip, or user-submitted joke. You could have your own little sect of followers who are looking to be the best at viewing your site.