Throughout 2011, Make Me Social will publish Socially Made, a review of social media’s continued evolution in both influence and commentary.
While Tim Howell is our resident social site reviewer at Make Me Social, I asked him if I could take the reins for a post to discuss a specific topic.
When two different billion dollar industries have an overlap in key demographics, there is often a question on whether they will collaborate or compete.
However, with social media and fantasy football, the joining of forces seemed inevitable.
Over the past couple weeks, a number of new fantasy football social games have been launched in association with the start of the NFL season, something that allowed the developers to breath a sigh of relief, not just because their creations were successfully brought to market, but because as they were developing and testing their product, they always had to keep their fingers crossed due to the lockout putting the beginning of the season in jeopardy.
However, it all came together, and by early September, several apps were ready to go.
Now, I knew I wasn’t going to abandon the leagues I have been part of for years, but did want to take the time to explore some of these new ventures. So, the question became how to choose one. In my opinion, for a fantasy football-type game to properly utilize the platform of social media, it has to take advantage of the unique aspects of the medium, while also differentiating themselves enough from the traditional fantasy football game that true fans have been enjoying for more than a decade.
A game on social has to be interactive and communicative and take the ability to compete with a larger group to the next level. One of the best examples of this is the newly-launched Matchup Huddle (www.matchuphuddle.com) because it purposely doesn’t try to replace the traditional fantasy football experience; rather it tries to enhance it by giving like-minded football fans the ability to offer advice while also spurring competition.
This new, free game, housed as an app on Facebook, takes the conversations football fans have every day during the season and extrapolates it out to the social media community. At its most basic level, Matchup Huddle presents you with a series of choices between two football players. You must simply pick which one will do better that week. The more you are right, the higher you rank, the more valid your opinions become (and the more potential you have to win prizes).
Sound easy? Not so fast. There is a lot more. Here is a quick tutorial.
Headquartered in one of the Meccas of football – State College, Pennsylvania – Matchup Huddle LLC was created by Nittany Lion alumni, and because they are surrounded by some of the most energetic and knowledgeable football fans in the country – as well as nearly 40,000 individuals that fall into the Facebook Generation – they are in the perfect testing grounds for an app like this (Penn State’s Daily Collegian agrees with this sentiment).
Matchup Huddle is just one example of this budding niche industry of social sports games that is on the cusp of growing exponentially, similar to how their older sibling – traditional fantasy sports games – has. Their ability to compete will be based on how they adapt their product as the social media world evolves. The key will be to make it more unique, without losing the essence of what makes the game fun.
As we learned this week at Facebook’s f8 conference, there is a growing desire to share new types of information across the world. Was this statement made to reflect more pertinent, global issues than social sports games? Perhaps, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some good matchups this Sunday, and I for one am glad I have a place where I can compete against some of my fellow football fans located in all corners of the planet.
Greg Morgan is Communications and Content Director for Make Me Social. With experience in industries ranging from sports to state government, Greg focuses in crafting messages for all types of clients in an effort to perfect what he calls “versatile communications.” Born and raised in West Hartford, Connecticut, he remains a loyal UConn Husky fan, despite now residing in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.