What Can Fantasy Football Teach Marketers?

I almost didn’t write this post because Ronnie Brown (RB – Miami) recently went down for the season, which severely hurts my chances of staying at the top of my league. But, as any good coach I will have to deal with the loss and move on.

I’ve been a fan of fantasy football since the beginning. I spend the entire week preparing for Sunday by picking up new players, reading up on the best matchups and trash talking my league because Maurice Jones Drew happen to be playing the worst run defense in the league. There is honestly nothing better. If I have to be somewhere besides my couch on Sunday I’m on my Blackberry checking my teams stats with the Yahoo Fantasy Football App. But most Sundays I’m planted in front of the TV with my MacBook on my lap, hitting the refresh button to see if Reggie Wayne got both feet down inbounds for the touchdown.

I don’t think there is really anything that compares to fantasy football when it comes to cross-channel integration, which makes it even more amazing. Fantasy football gives me a reason to watch any NFL game that’s on TV, because I’m interested for more than one reason. Don’t get me wrong, I love football, but there’s no way I’d watch the Buccaneers play the Texans if I didn’t need Cadillac Williams to get five more points to take down a fantasy win.

So as advertisers what does this mean? Of course it means that ads should be running during football and on my Yahoo fantasy page, but this is the obvious. It also means that the idea of fantasy football should be taken by other brands. Of course it’s not as easy to do as it is to say, but I think you would agree that we’re up for the challenge.

Imagine if a TV show could use the fantasy football formula to keep people engaged on TV, online and even on their mobile device. This is the next goal and one of the biggest opportunities for interactive marketing. Imagine if a television show was able to bring value to the characters so fans would have an extra reason to tune in. There have been forums in place for TV shows where people talk about shows as they are being aired, which is a great start but more can be done. And I’m talking about going deeper than iPhone apps and micro-sites.

Sports have a huge advantage because their content isn’t scripted and the competition outline is already there, the scoring system was the only necessary addition. Can you think of a “scoring system” that brands or TV shows could put in place to engage consumers on multiple levels?

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