I have heard a lot of talk about two reasons that the NFL is the leading league amongst professional sports.
- Fantasy football
I believe this is true. It makes the NFL very popular. That plus the limited time when it is on. Mainly on Sunday and one game on Monday. Usually a very popular game on Monday. They own both those days. Now with NFL, throw in late season
There is something that is not being factored into the popularity. Teams are popular because of brand loyalty. The two things mentioned above take fans far away from any time of brand loyalty. Well if you want to do well in either, you can’t be tied to any one team.
Amongst college sports, college football destroys all others as money maker. College football makes colleges like Boise State moneymakers. Money is the impetus behind why rivalries are being torn apart through conference realignment [even though there is no economic proof that it will mean more money]. College football makes a ton more money than all other sports combined.
But you don’t see fantasy college leagues sprouting up. Why? Dilutes the loyalty. And it will mean less money. Colleges are already taking a bath with the BCS. They aren’t going to waste more money by having fantasy, a non-money maker, into their dominion. Even worse if it takes fans away from colleges.
I think that most colleges would say they don’t like to see gambling either. Ultimately they know it affects loyalty as well. Nothing they can do to stop it. They would rather make money off it as well but that isn’t legal.
How does it affect loyalty? It should be obvious. Especially in year like this one. Where? How? I will demonstrate.
Who would have bet on Iowa State to beat Oklahoma State on a Thursday night when they had been slaying the rest of the Big 12 and what looked like a collision with LSU in the national championship game. Did you bet on the Cyclones? No! Did you even know that Iowa State was the Cyclones?
But did it affect the support of Oklahoma State as it went to the Fiesta Bowl. No!
Why? The bowl knew they could still make tons of money off Oklahoma State. Tons. Okie State fans are loyal. They spend money. They stick with their team. And they propelled their team to a win.
The loss of Justin Blackmon and Brandon Weeden won’t mean anything to a real Okie fan. Will traditional Oklahoma State fans flock elsewhere? No! They are just painting new black and orange numbers on themselves.
But with the Bronco fans creating a Cult of Tebow [of sorts], where does that leave the team? If he leaves, do those fans leave? Can a team really base who is on the field by fan appreciation? John Fox and John Elway sure did. They skipped Brady Quinn for Tebow.
[Quick aside, the idiots who talked about Brady Quinn possibly replacing Tebow are just that, idiots. Tebow skipped Quinn when he was 3rd string. Quinn is not getting into a Broncos game. Even if Tebow were hurt, which I don’t hope happens; the third stringer has a better chance of getting in then Quinn.]
The teams don’t make anything off of fantasy football. They don’t profit off gambling. They make money off putting butts in seats. That is there revenue stream. Selling official team gear online. Selling food and drinks at games. This is how they make money.
If you are just a Peyton Manning fan and not a Colts fan, ultimately the Colts lose. Trust, there are Manning fans. The Colts lose a lot. Especially since the Colts season was not good.
Fantasy owners just draft someone else. Gamblers bet on the Colts to lose. But if the Colts lose a butt out of a seat, they lose money. They can’t afford that. Literally.
Both gambling and fantasy football brings out the competitive nature in people. But does that mean there is actual interest. Does it translate into direct ratings? Moreover for the owners, does it put fans into seats?
Is more made off football than baseball or basketball. Specifically with gambling.
Most baseball fans are really team fans. Like me, I am a Phillies fan. Outside the Phillies, I am not really baseball fan.
Same with basketball, I am Sixers fan. Once they are out, which they finally made the playoffs last season, I am a casual observer.
But when the Raiders get knocked out, which has been a lot recently in the decade of despair. But I still watch as much of the NFL playoffs as I can. Why? I enjoy football as a game outside of my team. The other two, no.
I am hockey too and when the Flyers aren’t in it, I still watch the Stanley Cup finals. Now, it helps they went to the Stanley Cup Finals two years ago and the Eastern Finals last year. But I enjoy hockey enough to watch outside my team. Baseball or basketball, nope.
Maybe it is just a personal thing. But I don’t’ think so.
Ultimately, teams need to make sure they maintain team loyalty. How? Make the game experience the best thing about every fans week.
Fans can see live football in a ton of places. The college game is much more exciting, at least for now. Plenty of football fans do not live close enough the 32 cities to get to games. [Don’t get me started about Los Angeles]. But the owners 32 need to make sure that when anyone goes a game, that is the highlight of their week, month or maybe even year.
[The above is a poorly written opinion. No facts. First draft=Final draft]