First there was fantasy football, then it spread to baseball and basketball. Now you can get most any sport to play a “fantasy” game where you choose players and use their real game stats to give your team points and stats by technological magic, and voila, you get an alternate reality that no one really sees, but the results are good for entertainment, friendly wagers and bragging rights.
I have a feeling this is a truly American phenomenon. Instead of being happy and content with the smorgasbord of entertainment options available to them the consumers now want to falsely feel that they are smarter than the coaches, owners and managers and manage things on their own. Well I can say that from working in several offices that have been possessed by this phenomenon, it never works out like you think it will. Most everyone looses their money and has less control over the players they recruit and how things go than they think they will. Coaches are coaches for a reason. They’re actually good at what they do.
The newest entry into this fray is a site for managing a team of TV shows, like a fantasy Television network. The winner gets a very real 100K prize, but what they really hope to do is get people more interested in watching TV again. So they pay out 100K to one guy. (less than 1/4 the cost of one :30 commercial on Grey’s Anatomy) The other million people are watching more TV for free. It’s reality TV that everyone can participate in and a really cheap ad campaign. It’s just the cost of the site and the techies that run it and the prize. This is far cheaper than a print ad campaign or an Internet campaign saying, “Hey, remember TV”?
I have always been curiously interested in how gullible people are in respect to contests and sweepstakes. Reality TV and Fantasy games and contests are really a slightly tweaked formula of the same kind. People buy lottery tickets for a prize that they will sadistically never win, enter contests where they really only loose their personal information to a marketer and still think they will win the publisher’s clearinghouse sweepstakes. Now they are apparently are gullible enough to follow along with TV shows not because they are learning anything or because the content is high quality, but because there is a 1 in a million chance of winning 100K. I wish people weren’t so easily swayed.