Five Communications Lessons to Learn from Fantasy Football

By: Eliza Garry, Account Supervisor at PRLab 

October 9, 2018

As a passionate fan of both college and professional football, the fall season is one of the most exciting times of the year for me. Find me following my favorite players and teams every weekend. Fantasy football is a way for me to share my passion for the sport with my friends who also share this interest. This season, I am the commissioner of a fantasy football league of nine women. This experience not only adds an extra aspect of excitement to the games each weekend, but also taught me some helpful lessons on communications.

  1. Find the right people for the job

Fantasy Football isn’t for everyone. Some people don’t know anything about the sport, others don’t have the time for or interest in joining a league. The first challenge for a fantasy football league commissioner is to assemble the league members. A functioning league needs at least six people in order to make the football season fun and competitive. As the commissioner, I had to track those six plus people down. Because it is an online platform, league members can be anywhere in the world so I reached out to 13 friends of mine all over the country to invited them to join the league. After three people turned down the invitation to join, we ended up with a total of 10 girls, all eager and excited to participate. Each person then proceed to research the NFL leaders to assemble their best possible teams.

This taught me that not everyone is going to want to be a part of the same initiatives as you for a variety of reasons. Finding the right people is extremely important. The ideal league members will be excited to be a part of the group and that will become evident.

  1. Use the right software

With the popularity of fantasy football, a variety of online platforms are available for fantasy football play. Each platform is presented by a different sports entity and has different features. Popular free platforms include ESPN, NFL, and Yahoo Sports. Popular paid platforms include DraftKings and Fanduel. Each platform includes a paid component that can do the math for you and put values on different aspects of the game such as a touchdown or interception. For my league, we opted for the free version because we wanted to just compete for fun. As the league commissioner, it was my job to select the platform and set up the league. I ultimately chose ESPN. I made this selection because I was familiar with using the ESPN website for other sports games such as the March Madness Bracket Challenge. Additionally, ESPN has an easy to use interface that is accompanied by a convenient app.

Technology is a large component in effective communications so having access to the proper software is extremely important. With the wide variety of platforms for all of your communications needs, communications professionals must research and evaluate the options before selecting the right program to meet your needs. 

  1. Determine the best communication channel

With all of the league members being scattered throughout the country and running on different busy schedules, it became important for me to determine the best way to communicate league happenings and reminders. I initially sent individual text messages to league members to invite them to join but this method was not going to be effective for league-wide messages. I decided to create a facebook group. This is proving to be the best option for us because we could post events, polls, updates, and photos in one location.

Finding the optimal communication channel is an important aspect of working with a group of people, especially if not everyone is in the same place.

  1. Plan a successful event 

In order to bring together this group of football-loving ladies and make the experience as much fun as possible for everyone, I decided to set up a draft party for us to do our fantasy draft together. I invited all of the league members, as well as some other people that didn’t want to participate in the football aspect but wanted to be a part of the group. I set up a poll on  facebook to find the best date and time for everyone then invited them all over to draft our teams together. In order to include the participants that are not located in Boston, I set up other devices to FaceTime them into the party. I communicated event updates and logistics through a facebook event I made on the facebook group. This group also allowed us to coordinate who was bringing which snacks and drinks.

Event planning is a fun but sometimes stressful aspect of communications. Through this experience, I learned the importance of preparation and working together. Each participant brought something different to the event and we all worked together to select a date and time that worked for us all and included the members from out of town.

  1. Remember to follow up

Reminding people to complete tasks (such as completing their ESPN registration, accepting the invite to the draft party, or remembering to set their weekly lineup), is an important aspect of a high functioning league. In order to help people keep track of fantasy football tasks, I needed to follow up individually. To do this, I sent text messages to people to get them to complete the required tasks.

Following up with anyone is a crucial aspect of communications. After sending out a pitch to reporters, a communications professional should follow up to ensure coverage. Additionally, when applying to jobs, it often helps to follow up to demonstrate continued interest and professionalism.