Hi everyone, I’m doing my final thesis on NFL fan engagement in the UK and if social media and fantasy games play a major role in fan engagement. If I can get you feedback on this topic I’ll really appreciate it.
Hi, A lot of us take fantasy football very seriously and even have face to face drafts which is rare in the UK. We have 2 such leagues one London Based and one Midlands based. There is likely going to be a third not Northern expansion this year. We also play in an assortment of online leagues. We have meet ups throughout the year where many of us meet up and share our love for American Football with like minded people. We even have our own podcast now. It depends what information you want and need for your thesis really. We also have a discord chat site if you want a real time conversation
Thank you for your feedback. I really do appreciate it. My thesis is
basically to find out if fantasy games and the NFL social media mediums
play an important role in keeping fans engaged with the sport in the Uk or
is it just that the game itself being very popular. If you can help me out
please let me know.
The emergence of red zone and it’s steep rise in viewing figures compared to the loss in audiences of the more traditional single game broadcasts points massively to the fact the more people watch for fantasy reasons than ever even at the expense of their own team in many cases.
I agree with that completely. I think fantasy football plays a massive role
in fan engagement because of all the money that’s involved and the games.
But do you think it’s the same for UK fans as well seeing as though the NFL
is an American domain sport with efforts of expanding and the UK is
considered one of its main international grounds. What do you think keeps
the UK fans involved so much
I think so for people who play fantasy football. Everyone is different but a lot of people on here met through Fantasy Football. The vast majority I would say. Obviously there are fans that just love watching the games but anyone who plays fantasy tends to get hooked and it adds massively to the whole experience.
i’d say as we are UK Fans we always want to be taken seriously as we are passionate about the game - these games give us a chance to prove our knowledge and it personalises the game but its important to remember it is fantasy which is a very good name for it
I agree with you. I know there are alot of passionate fans in the UK and
the sport has grown here tremendously but do you think that the fantasy
games and the way the NFL has maximised social media has played a
significant role in keeping fans engaged?
I do know fantasy has become an major priority for alot of persons
including myself. I’m from the Caribbean but I’m am attending university in
the UK and we have a number of football fantasy leagues every year as well.
It’s been critical to spreading the love of the game to others.
It’s been a massive part of my life for a long time and I carried a tour h when it felt like I was alone in the uk wilderness. However the internet age brought a recergence to the game I love. Through fantasy we can help educate others and compete and show our knowledge against each other.
The use of social media and fantasy games I truly believe has changed the way we consume and enjoy the game.
I got into the game in the mid 80s following a trip to the US, my interest really coincided with the explosion of popularity of the NFL here largely attributed to the 1985 Chicago Bears success together with the colourful characters they had on their team. Trying to think back it’s amazing there was no twitter, no Facebook , no gamepass ,no internet!! There was no red zone , no Sky, no cable, no 100s of tv channels - just 4. Fantasy was done on paper and you’ll do well to find someone who used to play it from here back then.
Trust me the sport was Popular here -it was in the public domain - people who weren’t into it knew who the Fridge was or had seen the Super Bowl shuffle .
Media then of course was much more single channeled and that could well have helped at the time,however I used to watch the games ‘alone’ as I still didn’t know many others into it and watched or listened to the games in full as they were broadcast over the years that followed. In 1985 you had to wait a week to see a highlight show (with one 30 minute feature game and a very famous highlight reel to the’ two tribes’ frankie goes to Hollywood’ music)
So fast forward 30 years…the nearest thing I can think of to the 85 bears and very where we are today in terms of media and popularity was that OBJ catch. Yes it was just a catch but not a whole game never mind a season yet it incapsulated very much how we consume the sport now. We watch many games at the same time and have a variety of different ways of doing so - I watch Sky and have red zone on game pass running at the same time on my I pad and have my phone to check fantasy scores and chat to others - yes ‘others’! and thats the real game changer with social media and fantasy games in today’s age- we are not ‘alone’ anymore. These things if appreciated respected and used well can really bring like minded people together.the sport is still a minority sport here and the internet and these fantasy games really do ‘connect’ with how we enjoy the game now
I think the Internet in general plays a big part in engagement, not just fantasy & social media. NFL news is available 24x7 making it easier to stay in touch with what is happening - social media is obviously a big part of that.
Fantasy is the way I increased my depth of knowledge, starting with the now defunct NFL UK game which offered an easy entry into the world of fantasy to the 16 man live draft leagues we take part in on here. I’m willing to bet the knowledge levels of many of us on here matches that of even the most ardent fans in the States.
I echo the thoughts of all those before me on here Shriiiiidy - I got into American Football (NFL) back in the early 80’s - think it was the early 80’s but so long ago it’s hard for me to recall - I know I was in single digit age years - maybe 8 or so. For me I was sent for the school holidays to stay with my mums sister and my cousins was already into it and watching it on TV - C4 I think. Anyway when I returned home and some time later came across it on the TV - I stuck with it and started to learn it. Great thing was before each new season C4 did like a beginners guide show to explain the basic rules of the game which made it so much better when watching. From there I started watching Weekend (cant recall now if it was Saturday or Sunday mornings at 10am) highlight show of the previous weeks results - the show was called ‘Blitz’.
Then later on Monday nights C4 had extended highlights of the best games from Sunday - easy to avoid results back in the day as there was no internet or anything so it could almost have been live while watching. Then C4 in my latter tween years I think may have had a live game on and at some point C4 also started a fantasy football game in conjunction with its magazine show (you used to have to phone your team entry in via premium rate phone line and did transfers the same way throughout the season - cost a fortune, but I loved it).
I also used to buy a newspaper magazine (then later subscribed to it) here called First Down that kept me abreast of things in the NFL stateside plus it did its own fantasy football game you did by mail so naturally did that. Their first prize was a trip to the Super Bowl and one year I never forget I finished 3rd in the whole country and worst thing was my buddy worked out if I left my team alone in the third and final trade window and didn’t make the trades I did I would of won. Even worse there was nothing for third.
Now in later years when the internet came about I was late to get it myself at home but when I finally did I never looked back finding the NFLUK forum and doing their salary cap fantasy game. I also found out about Super Bowl parties the NFLUK Forum (London based) hosted for free in London to promote the sport and started to attend them - I got a random invite the first ever one they did - no idea what it was but as I used to go on my own up to London for Super Bowls just to be around other people who liked this sport as much as me so always planned and went to individual Super Bowl parties before then put on at bars / restaurants (that had a cover charges) so thought I’d try this freebie I had been sent tickets for. I took my closest work mate at the time who I’d been getting into the NFL by doing fantasy games and letting him kick my butt at Madden… any way it was off the hook - hosted in a nightclub, free pizza, huge screens loads of genuine fans off the NFLUK forum and guest appearances by ex players and a live music group in concert pregame… I said then and there that was the kitty and by hook or crook I managed to attend every one for the next 8 or so years - sadly (and I don’t know why) but last year was the first year the NFL here in the UK did not put that party (called Super Bash) on.
However if you would like to know more about these parties I did do a thread on NFLUK some years ago to try and record the history of them I’ll find a link and add in here: Super Bash History Thread - NFLUK
Back to fantasy - also with the advent of the internet I started doing the fantasy games on NFL.com and after a year or 2 got fed up of being in leagues where people give up if doing bad - winning them was like a hollow victory so I decided to make my own leagues up but came up with rules to try and get competitive people in my leagues. I came up with angles like a USA v UK league and an International league to show Brits knew as much if not more than Americans on there sport (the first league) and later the International league was to give people pride that they was repping for there own nation. This worked and then from doing those games I started to run fantasy games for money with personal friends and work colleagues, this spread to friends of friends and finally I started advertising online like NFLUK. People played with me for years and back in 2014 after a few years of trying to join other peoples that never came to fruition I decided to try and organise my own live face to face offline serious league - to make it so decided to make it for a fair stake and that is how I came up with a live draft £100 money league that many of the people on this site joined.
However NFLUK did not want its site associated with gambling or any such things so one of the guys from my Original league created this website for that purpose and I changed the name to reflect the community we have here now - TFP.
From that league many of the guys have formed friendships and other leagues have spawned. It really has helped me make new friends that share the same passion for this sport I love.
Also over the years as some games have stopped I along with my friend McBear have carried on and run our own games via the internet and e-mail to keep them alive (like the now defunct First Down fantasy football game that went when the paper was wound up). We do some things different though and have tweaked it to work for us with different player values and have a game to incorporate the whole season (not just the regular season as FD’s game did).
Here is a link to the players list McBear and myslelf made up and priced up for this current season: Gridiron Players list 2016/17
& here is a link to the game rules: NFL FANTASY GRIDIRON (AMERICAN FOOTBALL) 2016/17 (Season Long Rules)
Feel free to take part your self next season… more the merrier.
Sorry about that but I just couldn’t stop myself as I think fantasy football has increased my enjoyment of this sport massively and helped me make many new contacts and friendships through playing fantasy games.