Technology: The Future Of NFL And Fantasy

Future of Fantasy Foootball_2013

This excerpt was taken from
Billy Gallagher, Hands On With The Seven Best Fantasy Football Sites And Apps

Most of the smaller offerings out there are slight tweaks on the existing game. If a startup really wants to make an impact in this space, they need to make their core offering different. Several options immediately jump out:

Despite the comparable popularity in college football, no one has really cracked a good way to make fantasy football fun and engaging for college teams. The leagues are inherently very different, and current fantasy is largely based off of the NFL style—win as many games as you can to make the playoffs, keep your team healthy, then ride hot players and some luck to a championship (or so they tell me—being an Eagles fan, I can’t confirm anything about winning championships). But the college game is very different—strengths of schedules and conference matter a lot more, and the goal is to go undefeated and land in the top two—err, four—spots to compete for a championship. Basing a league off of this would be an interesting departure from the typical NFL-centric leagues.

Most of the people I know who do play a version of college fantasy football have made their own systems for tracking and awarding points, as fans are left with very few options if they want to really customize their leagues. Give users an insane amount of options—essentially just the software and storage for whatever league they want to create—and you could grab a nice niche of fans who want to branch out and do their own thing.

And fantasy leagues have failed to capture the impact of individual defensive players on the game rather than merely defensive units. One running back typically has a much larger impact on a fantasy game than an entire defensive and special teams unit, which is obviously not how the actual games work. Offensive players are much easier to track, as their individual accomplishments can be recorded by how many yards and touchdowns they have, whereas solid defensive coverage or touchdown-saving tackles are harder to objectively measure. But sports statistics are getting more and more advanced, and someone will be able to figure this thing out sooner or later—might as well be the little guy or they have no shot in the long run against ESPN and Yahoo.

And as much as DirecTV’s Red Zone has attracted diehard fans who want to watch every touchdown, the bridge between fantasy football and watching games live leaves much to be desired. Whether its DirecTV, ESPN and its potential web-based TV, or another company, users would go bonkers if their fantasy rosters were connected to live games on their TVs. Sportvision, the company that created the first down line for TV, is working on technology that would allow viewers to see their players highlighted on the field (you can see Sportvision’s early mockup of this above).