Rex Ryan isn’t the only one who likes to get freak nasty with the ladies and show it off. Some people get ink and others name their fantasy team after their true loves.
Stoke City players, including Jermaine Pennant who is currently on loan with Wolves, participate in an internal fantasy soccer league as a way to build team camaraderie. The oft-troubled winger’s career has been checkered on and off the pitch but he shines when it comes to fantasy team names.
The old axiom of “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is” still holds water. The American Fantasy Football League promised it’s league winners $500,000 in prize money for people signing up, paying for their site and participating in their leagues. Unfortunately for the people who signed up for this site, the AFFL has no money and cannot pay it’s winners.
The site was set up in such a way as to get around the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act which effectively prevents gambling online by stating the prize money up front. The bad thing is, they never got enough people to sign up to justify the gigantic payout and now still owe $475,000 in prize money payouts to its customers. Too make it worse, they have $850,000 in current liabilities with no cash coming in to save them yet.
“The problem is that we front-loaded money as entry fees came in. I shouldn’t have assumed we were going to get a certain level of growth. Had we known we weren’t going to get the growth, we wouldn’t have made software changes. Then, we wouldn’t have set the prizes as high as we did. People think we’re running away with the money. We’re not running away with any money; it went to the business.”
Whoops. Looks like they overestimated things a little bit. They should have followed another old axiom “Promises are like babies: fun to make, but hell to deliver.”
The largest payout in fantasy sports history has just been offered and it is not for the sport you think. As you can probably guess from the bosomy lady above, this payout isn’t for fantasy football…it is for Fantasy Fishing. FLW Fantasy Fishing is paying out over $1.7 million in cash and prizes (boats, cars, trucks, ATVs, personal watercrafts, gift cards and more) during the Wal-Mart FLW Tour which includes a guaranteed $1 million cash grand prize to the winning fantasy fishing team.
So for your chance at the millions, you have to create and rank your own pro angler team of 10 anglers you think will place the highest in the each of the 7 FLW Tour events. The lucky fella who earns the most cumulative points over the seven events wins a cool 1 million bucks.
“Fantasy sports history will be made,” said Irwin Jacobs, chairman of FLW Outdoors. “Anyone could win and become the first-ever fantasy sports millionaire just by playing FLW Fantasy Fishing.”
“With the popularity and profile of professional angling on the rise and with the first-ever, recently awarded $1 million first-place payout at the 2007 Forrest Wood Cup, we knew it was time to give the public an opportunity to win as well,”
Yes, fantasy sports have gone too far. The shocking thing is not that you now can become a millionaire from a fantasy sport, its that you can actually have a freakin’ fantasy fishing team. I thought fantasy poker, golf and Nascar were bad, but this is possibly the dumbest thing I’ve heard of.
And yet…I am going to have to play in it just for a shot at that damn million dollars. Curse my love of the ever weakening dollar! What is next for fantasy sports? Is there fantasy spelling bee yet? Fantasy Competative Eating?
The Deuce has tried to stay away from offering up fantasy football advice to the masses…mostly because we do not want to help out or tip our hand to our fellow fantasy leaguers we’re drafting against. In this case, we must share. University of Cincinnati professor Michael Fry (in the center of the picture) along with his students have studied and analyzed fantasy football drafts so much, they wrote a paper on it that was published in the Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports. What they found might change the way you look at the draft forever. Fry Says:
1. A traditional maxim in fantasy football is to draft two running backs in the first two rounds because RBs are seen as being the most valuable. However, this year our model generally recommends against this strategy. There are only a few (really two) sure-fire RBs and then a deep crop of 2nd-tier RBs. Thus, our model often recommends taking a RB first, then taking a top QB or WR next and coming back for your 2nd RB later.
2. It can often be a good decision to draft one of the top defenses (generally the Chicago Bears or Baltimore Ravens) earlier than most people would suggest. If you miss out on these top defenses, then you might as well wait until the very end of the draft as there is too much uncertainty in how other defenses will perform. The same is often true for kickers.
3. But the main point is that if you feed garbage into the model, you get garbage out. If you are convinced, for whatever misguided reason, that the Cleveland Browns QB (whoever that turns out to be) is going to be a star and you rank him first, then guess what, the model is going to tell you to draft him very high.
So there you have it, don’t do what everyone else is doing by drafing all RBs…go against the grain and get your top QB and WR picking up your 2nd RB later. Then, shoot for a defense earlier than everyone else and lock down one of the top two. Seems so easy doesn’t it? You only have yourself to blame now if you lose you dumb bastards.
The best line I’ve saved for last. Fry goes on:
“It amounts to this: you have a set of choices that people can make. They all want the best player available and sometimes people just go for that player, regardless of what they really need. All you really want to know — in fantasy and in real drafts — is what set of players is not going to be available when your turn comes up.”
That is some deep shit right there. My pants are getting tight from the excitement. Sunday, I am dominating my draft. Mr. Fry could be a true American hero…unless I finish dead last again. Then I’m coming after this braniac bitch.
In the realm of the interactive sports experience there are many options a fan can choose to feel more immersed in a sport or league that they are not actually a part of. There are fantasy sports full of keeper leagues and auction based player selection, all of which allows a fan to “own” their team and guide it to victory in their leagues. The leagues themselves are fun and allow for a lot of social interaction between members with drafting, trading, smack talking, etc, taking place even when its the off-season.
In video games, you have team manager simulation software which allow you to play GM and team owner doing all the necessary things behind the scenes to allow your team success on the field. For those who actually like to play the game, like in the wildly popular Madden series, there is the franchise mode (adding a team manager simulation to actual game play), the superstar mode (allowing a player to control and guide an athlete throughout his playing career, even importing players from the college video game) and even a life simulation game unto itself with the NBA Ballers world of playing the game to accumulate as much stuff as possible. There is even a social aspect to the games with video game leagues, tournaments and online game play growing larger and larger amongst gamers.
It is obvious that sports fans like the interactivity of playing owner, general manager, coach, and/or the players themselves in a variety of formats as well as the enjoyment of the social interaction between other sports fans who participate in the same activities. If anything, look at the sports blogging community for further proof of the latter point.
So after all this comes my question…when is the sports MMOG going to become a reality and if its done correctly, will it be the next big thing in sports fan/gamer community?
The massive success of the World of Warcraft MMORPG has spawned millions copycats, it is only a matter of time before someone sees how much money is being spent and made on fantasy sports, sports video games, and even sports blogging and sees the massive potential for the sports MMOG.
In poking around on the internet, I found there are a few companies who are vying to be the first to successfully market this idea. Before I continue though, you should know I’ve never actually played Warcraft or Second Life or any MMOG so take my opinions with a grain of salt.
Football Superstars: A soccer MMOG which allows its players to create a soccer player, control that player from his perspective, start out training and playing soccer with friends in a park and eventually become good enough to play professionally, earning money “with which you could buy the best that life can offer. Lead the life of a football superstar in a Utopian world…”.
Basically, instead of experience points you earn money, instead of those guilds of online warriors, the players form teams. So this is more of a “Warcraftian” approach at the sports MMOG, only without the missions and tasks I would assume. Seems kind of limited, but for those who cannot play soccer in real life, I guess it could be fun. Kinda like you could go outside and have a real life, but instead you play the Sims.
Football Manager Live: Taking the popular Football Manager series and turning it into a MMOG. It seems to be a mix of the original Football Manager game, fantasy sports, and auction leagues all in one. You start a club from scratch, set-up mini-leagues, bid in player auctions and compete in live matches while controlling the tactics of games in real time, balancing finances, customizing your club and stadium and buying and selling players, auction style.
This seems to be a different approach to the MMOG. Looks to be more like a fake fantasy league, which can be fun, but ultimately appears to be missing the point of the MMOG.
Empire of Sports: Finally, not a soccer MMOG. This game encompasses the entire world of sports. You create your character and develop their skills playing in a variety of games including basketball, tennis, skiing and a series of gym and fitness games, with more to be added. They make a point of saying these are not mini-games, but fully interactive and simulated versions of these sporting events. You then can travel around to a bunch of different “city centers” with facilities and services to help develop your character’s athletic talents.
This game seems to be more of a Second Life/Sims way of going about things, in that it is more of a social experience but still has its own way of providing a “leveling up” experience. You don’t seem to be a part of any team here, just one person going about the business of becoming very good in the virtual world of sport. They don’t make reference to any sort of money or anything, so I wonder what you can do other than develop your character’s body by playing games and get good at them, all while meeting and talking to people online. Seems like it needs to be a bit more massive to be a MMOG.
Shot Online: A golf MMOG. You develop your golfing character to become a golf pro. If you practice every day and compete against players with different skills your character can to “level-up” their abilities. There are team matches to get money, tournaments, the ability to just purchase in game money, realistic and rare items to find and purchase in their mall, clothes to purchase, quests (to get those items I presume) and item exchanging with other gamers in the virtual world.
All in all, this one seems to be the most complete MMOG out there…probably b/c its one of the few that is actually active. It has all the basic components of any MMOG out there. Seems like it wouldn’t be bad if the golfing was actually good…which I have no idea b/c I didn’t download it.
Ultimate Baseball Online: A baseball MMOG which allows a player to build their own character or become part of the community by creating teams, joining leagues, playing in tournaments, becoming a reporter(?), or managing the game as a GM (Game Master). If create your own team you make a team name, hometown, team motto, and preferred game times so that players can see what your team is all about. Then, you must recruit players (other gamers in the virtual world) and improving your team page with a team logo and news for people to read. Once the team is done, you can join a league for league play and play against people of similar skill levels. You can also develop your player’s skills through practice, pick up games, and joining a team and playing in league games.
My first impressions are that this doesn’t seem as involved as the golf game and appears to be more like an online version of any baseball game you can play on an Xbox or PS3 only with a bit more control over things. Far less social as well I would think.
That’s all I could find, anyone else have any out there (text-based games excluded)? Is anyone going to come out with a football or basketball game out there that would take over the market? We have many successful versions of the parts of what goes into a successful MMOG, but will someone put them all together for a genre changing sports MMOG? If the Warcraft, fantasy sports and sports video game market is any indication, surely the interest is there…its only a matter of time. Better yet, when it does happen…who will be the sports MMOG Leroy Jenkins (see below)?