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Blaze Real Time Fantasy Game Goes Live

Don Eisenbarth
Thursday May 9, 2013


During the Pre-Season Fan Fest, Utah Blaze owner Kim Brown talked about “a real time fantasy football that you can watch the Blaze game either here in the arena or at home. It will be another revenue stream that the Blaze can tap into. There'll be sponsors of things like that. It's a new 'game-ification' idea that's not being done anywhere else.”

 
This went live this weekend during the Utah Blaze – Spokane Shock game. The game is available to play at www.fantronsports.com. The website doesn’t seem to work very well on Internet Explorer, but works well on Chrome and on Mobile devises. The game is played by allowing the fan to chose any player from either team before each play. If that player does something recordable, the fan gets a set number of points. The game runs a risk/reward system because on some plays some players don't do anything.
 
For example, let’s say I choose Tommy Grady before a play. Tommy throws a 10 yard route to Aaron LeSué. LeSué is tackled by Paul Stephens in the open field. The following players get the following points.
 
Tommy Grady – 20
Aaron LeSué – 40
Paul Stephens – 10
 
I get 20 points for Grady. Any fan who chose LeSué gets 40. Any fan who chose any other player then these three, get nothing. In most situations, you want to pick the QB, but if you know who the ball is going to, you can get more points by choosing the WR. Choosing the QB also brings the chance for losses as every sack or interception causes you to lose points.
 
Also, if you pick a DB or a Linesman who causes sever havoc you can rack up the points. Let's say David Hyland picks off a ball on the Blaze 10 yard line, then takes the ball 40 yards for a Touchdown. That one play is worth 115 points.
 
I ran a simple strategy of choosing the kicker, kick returner, and quarterback on the extra points, kickoffs, and offensive plays respectively. I finished in 11th place with 834 points. There was a total of 43 people playing, and the top winners got prizes ranging from Blaze memorabilia, to a grand prize of a Rockwell watch (which is valued at $300) and cash prizes going up to $150.
 
Overall, my reaction to this new fantasy game is rather mixed. It's an interesting game, but it is actually difficult to play if you're actually paying attention to the game. If you focus on the game on the field and not the game on your phone, you'll find that you have Tommy Grady activated for minutes when he's not actually on the field, so you have to constantly switch in and out players to keep yourself on top of the leaderboard.
 
The game’s differencing feature from standard fantasy games is its real time aspect. This becomes a plus and a negative. While it is a new and unique twist to fantasy football, it also has the drawback of being rather useless to play using the AFL Live internet streams. The fantasy game goes as fast of the actual game, so watching the game with any internet lag will kill your chances to score or play. As most fans will watch the AFL games via the AFL Live stream, this could become an issue. However, it may be possible to play using the AFL Live game tracker, which has shown to be closer to real time.
 
There's also still many numerous bugs in the system of the program (somehow Mario Urrutia did enough to garnish 7665 points during the game versus Spokane), but as this is a program in it's infancy and probably has little to no time to Beta test, that's almost to be expected. Still, this is a new idea in a league needing new revenue streams and ideas to bring in the cash/fans to keep the game afloat. This real time fantasy game is an intriguing game to make the AFL more personal to the casual fan while bringing in a few extra bucks to the league, which ultimately could be a good thing.
 
The game is only available for Utah Blaze home games, so the next game available is the May 18th contest against the Iowa Barnstormers. The real test of the real time fantasy game will be the next home game against the Jacksonville Sharks on June 15th. That game is still scheduled to be shown on the CBS Sports Network, technically allowing anyone with the station nationwide to play real time fantasy football along with the Utah Blaze. 


 
Don Eisenbarth has been following the Utah Blaze since 2006, but this is his first year covering for ArenaFan. Born in Provo to a family of BYU fans and having graduated from the University of Utah, Don has enjoyed all sides of the Utah college football landscape for decades and is excited for the return of professional football to the Beehive State. You can follow him on twitter at http://twitter.com/bigdondoo
The opinions expressed in the article above are only those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts, opinions, or official stance of ArenaFan Online or its staff, or the Arena Football League, or any AFL or af2 teams.
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