Taunting an opponent in the NFL draws a 15-yard penalty.
Taunting an opponent in fantasy football, well, that’s pretty much the entire point of playing.
But timing is everything. Sending a text or email bragging about your victory hours or days after the final scores are tallied and you’re declared the winner is considered unsportsmanlike conduct.
You have to do it right as that final field goal goes through the uprights, when the heat of the moment and the crescendo of emotion makes such an outburst just a passionate celebration.
That’s what makes adding video chat to your fantasy football experience such a perfect idea.
Everyone’s on hand for every vital play no matter where they watch their football across the country. And you can get right up in each other’s faces when the big moments come and victory is decided.
Get Interactive with 75 Million Fantasy Footballers
If you’re like the majority of the more than 75 million Americans who play fantasy football you’ll only get together with the rest of the players in your league once a season at the draft. Even then, companies like ESPN, Yahoo, and CBS offer only minimal text chat services during live drafts.
That’s not a lot of personal interaction for a pastime that’s supposed to be built on a social foundation.
And while social media has redefined how football is consumed and marketed, there are few fantasy related apps around that offer much more than old-fashioned chat room messaging. And I use “few” by way of a coverall for the one rogue fantasy-related video chat service that may be out there somewhere, because the truth is: I just couldn’t find one.
Again, this area of the game is dominated by the big two of football fantasy, Yahoo and ESPN. But these apps are more about the practicalities of fantasy, about keeping track of live scores, managing your team, and sending a short but sweet text jab at your opponent.
So maybe what’s needed here is for fantasy players to take matters into their own hands and add their own video element.
DIY Video Conferencing Sports
The essential element to bringing everyone together for a shared fantasy football marathon is finding a video conferencing service that’ll comfortably handle a dozen or so callers.
FreeConferenceCall.com offers exactly that–free video conferencing–and their claim of being able to host up to 1,000 callers should leave you pretty confident they can handle a link to your circle of football friends. The cost-free nature of the service is also a bonus, considering fantasy footballers are already spending $11 billion a year on their passion.
The service also provides free screen sharing, which means you can dedicate one chat computer to keeping track of the scores and stats as they flow in and share it among the group.
Next you’ll need to make sure everyone can be seen and heard. I’m not going to encourage you to rebroadcast football games without the express written consent of the NFL, so we can assume the actual sporting visuals are a BYO affair.
While just about every laptop and certainly every mobile device comes equipped with video chat compatible cameras, consider getting an affordable plug-and-play external camera to improve the visuals and give you a wider field of vision so you can get a little animated in your touchdown celebrations without disappearing from view.
Aside from a solid internet connection, that’s all you’ll need to get your entire league together, wherever Sunday may take them across the country, to watch the biggest moments in your fantasy life.
Add a Hall of Famer to Your League
Of course, if you want to get next level on the fantasy football video chat experience you could always add an NFL Hall-of-Famer to the mix.
While NFL stars and other celebrities have been quick to endorse fantasy sports, brag about their expertise, and offer up their names as ghostwritten league contestants, none has yet capitalized on the chance to become a fully-fledged fantasy presence.
Imagine if you could sign up for the video conferencing version of fantasy described above, but have one of those chat windows filled by a football legend like Joe Montana.
Charity groups raise millions by staging gala dinners around celebrity appearances, so how much would football fans be willing to part with to share a Sunday each week of the season with Joe Cool?
All the 49er legend has to do is sit himself in front of video chat screen for a few games each week, share his wisdom on the whys and ways of the game, and tolerate some gushing fans, and he could raise a hefty stack of cash for the charity of his choice.
Such a setup could become a whole new revenue stream for retired athletes.
How much would a Cowboys fan pay for the chance to do their touchdown dance in front of Montana as that final, game-winning kick sailed through the goal posts?
Image Sources: Flickr CC Users Stuart Seeger and Eric Molina