By Ron Jumper
I love college fantasy football, it is like pro fantasy football…only on steroids. It is like the difference between chess and checkers. Is checkers fun? Yeah. Is it as mentally demanding as chess? Not even close. However, depending on how obsessed with sports you are, that may be something that is perfectly okay with you. You may like the simplicity of pro fantasy football and play in part because you are in a league with friends so it is a great excuse to…umm…bond over cold beverages every Sunday afternoon. It is why knowledgeable sports fans are driven crazy when ESPN talks about nothing but Brett Favre all day, yet the ratings are through the roof.
Why is this?
Because your average guy just wants to enjoy the game and have a good time. He doesn’t read the sports page first thing every morning when he gets up, he doesn’t have ESPN Insider/Rivals/Scout subscriptions, nor does he scour the internet looking for golden nuggets of information every week. And you know what: that is okay. In fact, he might be better off. Ignorance is bliss. He is a just a fan, watching the game without a care in the world.
I say that to say this, while I love college fantasy football, maybe it is not meant to be. Maybe it can’t reach the level I once thought it could because your average sports fan just isn’t willing to invest the time to become knowledgeable of 120 teams. Who can blame them? Who has the time? Earlier, I made the comparison of pro and college to checkers and chess. Well, it is time for the truth. I don’t know how to play chess and I don’t want to learn, it sounds exhausting. So who am I to judge if you don’t want to take the time to learn college fantasy football? Wouldn’t I be a hypocrite?
This concept is why many businesses fail and, yet at the same time, it really is so simple. Business owners can’t understand why average consumers don’t appreciate their brilliance as much as they do. In other words, to someone who lives and breathes sports, the idea of college fantasy football is awesome because the possibilities are endless. To just your average sports fan, it sounds…you guessed it…exhausting to learn about all those players and follow all those teams every single week.
I’ve said since Day 1 that I think college fantasy football can succeed but it has to change its model. It has to focus on the customization that it can offer and regionalize the product. The emphasis needs to be for every region of the country to have leagues made up of just the conference(s) in their region, such as the SEC or Big Ten if you live in the Southeast or Midwest. My reasoning is simple, college football fans are not necessarily passionate about college football as a whole but they are instead passionate about their team and their conference. While this option is available already, it is not widely known. It is kind of like how nobody knows you can get an ice cream cone at McDonald’s for 59 cents (or two for a dollar) because they are too busy trying to sell you a McFlurry. How awesome is an ice cream cone for only 59 cents? Just as awesome as an SEC-only fantasy league to a die-hard SEC football fan. My point is that sports fans, just like all consumers, have to be aware of their options before they can make an informed decision. Remember when I said this was simple?
I’m pulling for the college fantasy football industry as much as anybody. Being a participant in the FCFI (Fantasy College Football Invitational), I consider myself an expert. That being said, without a few changes, it might not reach its full potential. I sure hope I’m wrong.