THE BLOG

Fantasy Leagues Are No Longer Just for Sports

06/10/2015 06:06 EDT | Updated 06/10/2016 05:59 EDT

Since I started blogging for The Huffington Post earlier this year, I've tried to focus on topics that have little, or even nothing to do with sports. This is because outside of this space, I'm also a regular contributor at a fantasy sports website, so I try to use The Huffington Post platform as a way to differentiate myself and expand my readership into other areas.

So, for my first Huffington Post Blog, as a kind of transition for my readers and twitter followers, instead of writing about traditional fantasy sports topics, instead I attempted to explain man's fascination with fantasy sports. I didn't talk about statistics or strategies, but rather why men (for the most part) love playing in fantasy leagues.

Since, I have continued to believe that if anyone could ever duplicate "the experience" of fantasy sports, and find a way to apply it to other genres outside of sports, it could be a huge success. Recently, I believe I have found a couple of great examples that have successfully transitioned the fantasy sports experience, and brought it to new pop culture audiences.

The first example is a fantasy format that has found a unique balance between traditional fantasy competition and something just about everyone can relate to. Hollywood movies. What I love about the game is that while Fantasy Movie League has been set up in a familiarly weekly competition format, like many traditional fantasy sports leagues, it really doesn't matter if you are an avid movie goer, or if you haven't been to see a movie in the theaters in years. Anyone has the opportunity to do well.

Each week participants try and predict which movies will generate the highest box office gross revenue. From week to week, you are tasked to select what movies you want to play in "your" eight movie theater. So the better the movies you select perform in real life, the more Fantasy Movie points you earn.

So in much the same way with fantasy sports, you get to pretend you are a real life pro-sports General Manager, with Fantasy Movie League, you get you to play the role of movie theater General Manager.

What I think is interesting about the premise, is that the group that put together this initiative is led by ESPN fantasy sports analyst Matthew Berry; one of the most well-known and influential fantasy sports analysts in the business. In other words, it wasn't put together by someone who was anti-sports, but instead by someone who wanted to broaden the reach and appeal of fantasy games in general, to an audience outside of sports.

Similarly, another great example I discovered was also founded by another well-known fantasy sports analyst, Pat Mayo. For the past few seasons, Mayo has been running his own unique Fantasy Bachelor league. Instead of keeping track of hits, goals or player statistics, you earn Fantasy Bachelor points for predicting on-camera meltdowns, or drunken shouting matches.

A great bonus about this fantasy league is that throughout each Bachelor season, Mayo offers regular video updates on his YouTube Channel. During these video segments, Mayo recaps the profiles of both The Bachelor and the competing contestants, to help players put together a type of Bachelor Dream Team, to try and help players earn the most points throughout the season.

So, even if you are nothing more than a casual sports fan, but you have seen the wide appeal fantasy sports has for your friends/boyfriend/husband who play regularly, maybe this might be something you want to give a try.

May the fantasy force be with you...

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