It's No Fantasy... Football Season is Upon Us!
Last week I witnessed a live fantasy football draft for the first time. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I don’t know what I expected – a lot of chicken wings and beer? People yelling and haggling over statistical minutia and wearing oversized football jerseys? Well, to be honest, yes – I expected, and received all of those things. But I also saw more tablets, smartphones, computers, and TVs than I could have ever imagined. It looked like a Best Buy showroom and everyone had two, sometimes three devices supporting their draft pick process. It was astounding and it got me thinking about the power of broadband Internet and the ways we now communicate with each other.
To a newcomer like me it seemed unnecessarily complicated, but a draft party is actually an amazing example of how communications technology and fast Internet can streamline complex things and, when in concert, make the impossible not just possible, but simple. Think about it – participants of fantasy football have so much at their fingertips – endless amounts of breaking news, positional breakdowns, insider tips on sleepers and busts, cheat sheets, injury updates, and player evaluations available on websites, apps, TV shows, and social media sites. Add in your friends from all over the world on Skype, conference call, Twitter, and Face Time. It’s miraculous – everyone is kept organized and seamlessly participating from around the world as easily as if everyone were in the room. It’s one of those moments where the promise of communications technology is realized to its fullest (and yes, I realize that fantasy football isn’t a societal imperative).
What began with newspaper scores and pencils and paper has evolved into truly a cultural phenomenon. Fantasy Football is a billion-dollar business that attracts about 25 million people each year. It has inspired TV shows such as The League on FXX and the popular NFL RedZone channel. And there are more fantasy football apps and websites than one can digest.
It’s strange to say it, but it took a football draft for me to fully realize how much is truly made possible by your cable and Internet connection and how a simple social activity like fantasy football can affect so much of sports culture in America. All of the digital tools have finally come together and converged into a singular, accessible, engaging experience. And technology and broadband isn’t just making our lives faster, cooler, easier, or techier – it’s now making our lives better.