The first Fantasy Football Convention is coming to Walt Disney World at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex on August 22 and 23. All fantasy league participants can experience total football immersion prior to their league draft and the September 4 kick off to the NFL season. The convention represents the first large scale ESPN fan event at Disney since the ESPN the Weekend was discontinued three years ago. The event will include attending a live broadcast of Fantasy Football Now on ESPN2 and rubbing elbows with ESPN on-air talent.
Tickets to the event cost $349. Events on the first day include at an ESPN Tailgate Party hosted by Trey Wingo. While tailgating, attendees can enjoy games and mingling with the ESPN talent. Familiar on-air personnel will include Adam Schefter, Sara Walsh, Matthew Barry and Chris Mortensen. Before attending the Fantasy Football Now broadcast on the second day, ticket holders are also eligible to attend a special Disney character breakfast featuring all the familiar Disney characters wearing atmosphere appropriate football gear.
Hosting a Fantasy Football Convention hosted by ESPN at Walt Disney World makes great business sense for the sports and entertainment giants. Fantasy football is a multi-billion dollar business. Forbes estimates that each of the 32 million league participants spend an average of $467 each season. The $15 billion fantasy market now exceeds the $10 billion total NFL revenue each year. In addition to the money spent by participants, the Fantasy Sports Trade Association estimates that each person engaging in fantasy football spends about three hours a week managing their team or teams. While their estimate of “managing” probably is inflated with trash talk time, those playing can spend quite a few of their work and leisure hours involved with fantasy football.
From its early years, participating in fantasy football leagues has become much easier. Fantasy players no longer need to submit paper lineups to a commissioner and calculate their own scores. Everything is taken care of online once the player sets their lineup each week. ESPN fantasy hosting is a favorite among league participants. The network has even upgraded their ESPN Fantasy Football application. The upgraded app includes alerts for injuries, scores and league trade proposals.
Having the Fantasy Football Convention at Walt Disney World is helpful for Dads looking to keep their families occupied while attending to “important” league business. Leaving home for a couple days of football immersion might not always play well at home, but bring the entire family for a Disney adventure makes the situation more tenable for all involved. The Disney character breakfast even allows a tie in between the football and the child fantasy worlds.
For those looking to jump start their draft preparation, attending the inaugural ESPN Fantasy Football Convention is a fun way to get up to date on the NFL and enjoy a great time at Walt Disney World. The cost is not cheap, but may be worth the expense if a short family vacation can be wrapped into the event.
Commentary by William Costolo