8 of my closest neighborhood friends gathered in a basement (2 weren’t able to make it) with plenty of snacks and drinks to go around. We have player cheat sheets in hand. Some are using tablets, some phones, myself I still love my Beckett magazine. We discuss the weekend of college football, share laughs and smack talk about players that we wanted but were taken before we could get them. We aren’t too loud of course, because see we are all Dad’s and we don’t want to wake the host’s kids up. This is the epitome of fantasy football, a group of Millennial, Gen X, and Gen Y dads meeting once a year to live their dreams of being an NFL GM and it’s a huge business.
$70 billion is the amount Forbes places on this ever growing pop culture phenomenon and Yahoo, ESPN, Draft Kings have built empires around it. With drafts happening all around the world last night, why brands should care about this and how can it be used to a marketers advantage.
- Football fans are engaged and passionate: A recent report I published shows that the Michigan Wolverines college football team is the most socially fan followed team and has over 1.7 million fans (Facebook and Twitter). The New England Patriots, who won the Super Bowl last year, have over 7 million fans. That is a large base that is accessible via cheaper digital channels. The great thing about Fantasy football is that it brings the following from a team to a player level. After last night’s draft, I am now the biggest fan of the 14 players I selected and the 12 teams that they play for. That now makes me an open consumer for those teams, their sponsors, and the sponsors of the player. This brings the question, should average fantasy rank over a 5 year span be used in player/team contract negotiations.
- A mashup of generations: From the post/plural generation teenager to the grandpa baby boomer, fantasy football captures the entire gamete of generations. This should be every businesses dream. You can promote or sponsor anything related to fantasy football and its players and be comfortable in knowing you are reaching the audience you want including the coveted 18-40 year old audience.
- The Dad market: in the 2015 Super Bowl, 3 of my top 10 commercials on social media were Dad related. Marketers have shown an early recognition of Dad’s being a target market for the NFL and Fantasy football brings it to the next level. Each week as the anticipated matchups approach the men in my league talk about Peyton Manning’s matchup or if Jamal Charles’s hamstring will be good to go for Sunday. It’s an ongoing conversation that only ends after the Super Bowl. Its also something that several in my league have brought their kids into. They help pick the team name and who will start at RB. This provides another opportunity to reach the next post/plural generation.
- Women love fantasy too: An estimated 20% of participants this year will be women. This opens up huge potential for marketers to engage female sports fans who are passionate about the sport as well as bring in new female fans to the NFL, its players, and teams through the fantasy realm.
In a social world, fantasy football is the perfect outlet to engage various audiences with your brand. It can provide access to a large swath of generations and demographics and be a huge boon for any business looking to get in the front of an audience of engaged fans without having to pay $6 million for a 30 second ad during the Super Bowl. I know based off of my draft, when the season kicks off on Thursday night I will have a close eye on my top picks. If they do well this season, I may even become a fan of their teams and the sponsors that support them.
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Views expressed on social media outlets are my own and don’t necessarily reflect those of the company that I work for.