FanFooty Tutorial: Overview

What is "fantasy football"?
Fantasy football is a competition played between people like you, just for fun. The game allows you to try your hand at making the decisions of a real life Aussie Rules football coach, and compete with your friends, family or workmates at the same time. In short, the idea is to select a group of real players from the Australian Football League (AFL) to "play" for your fictional team, and then for the real-life statistics of those players to determine which team in your fantasy league wins your competition over the course of a real AFL season. The overall objective of the game is to see who amongst your fellow fantasy competitors would be the best "coach" if their fantasy of being a coach of a real pro sports team came true.

Fantasy football is similar to something that AFL fans are very familiar with: the tipping competition. In a tipping competition, each participant picks a team in every game each week of a real AFL season that they think is going to win. In fantasy football, each "coach" picks players every week who they think are going to play well that week.

The performance of real sportspeople in their professional league is given a certain amount of points for each real life game according to a certain system. Participants in these games "win" each week if the sum total of the fantasy points that the chosen players on their fantasy team scored on the real pitches and fields in that week's real games is more than the sum of his or her opponents' fantasy team. Thus, each week of the professional league corresponds to a week of the fantasy leagues and, through a ladder and finals system, you can feel just like you are coaching your fantasy team to ultimate victory just like a real life professional coach.

Why haven't I heard of it before? Is it popular?
Every year, millions of sports fans around the world sign up for fantasy sports services run by Web sites or newspapers focused on their favourite sport. American fans mostly play in NFL (gridiron) leagues, with baseball and basketball competitions also being popular, while fantasy English Premier League soccer is a roaring success in Britain. Fans either participate in a "public league" where they compete against randomly allocated strangers; or join a "private league" which is run by a friend, work colleague or family member so that their group can compete amongst themselves.

A small number of true blue Aussie sports fanatics have been running fantasy Australian rules football Web sites since 1996. However, all of the sites that have existed so far have been run on a hobby or amateur basis, with no marketing and a limited amount of features. FanFooty intends to change all that.

So what does FanFooty offer?
FanFooty is an independent fantasy football site. We are not owned by a newspaper or international media conglomerate, we are just two guys from Geelong (g'day from Monty and Tai!). We want to offer you a service for you and a number of your friends, family or work colleagues to participate in a fun game for as long as the entire AFL season, complete with real-time scoring updates, instant news, extensive player databases, full draft and trading systems, daily feature articles... all for as little as A$6.25 per person!

Oh, so I have to pay? Why aren't you offering it for free?
Yes, we do charge for running a league on FanFooty (A$100 for a full season, and A$60 for a half season, but more on that later). This site has required a lot of time and effort to build, and maintaining it with constant news updates, daily article content, and upgrading with new features throughout the AFL season is going to be a full-time job for both of us. We're very happy with the site as it is, but we want to build it to be even better, so those fees will help us invest back into the business for the future.

So is this gambling, like TipStar? Are there dividends or prizes?
While some fantasy sports competitions around the world do include a gambling element,the answer in the case of FanFooty's service is: no, no and no. The purpose of playing is to enjoy the competition with your fellow coaches. FanFooty does not offer dividends or prizes for the winner of each league. Commissioners of private FanFooty leagues are free to offer prizes themselves, of course, but that would have to be funded independently from the entry money he or she collects from all the coaches before it starts. Thus your commissioner might set up a scheme like this:

Sample FanFooty Fee Structure (amounts in Australian dollars)
Number of coaches:10
Entry fee per coach:$25 (making $250 total pool, collected by the league commissioner)
FanFooty fee for running a full league:$100
Leftover funds for prizemoney pool:$150
Prizemoney distribution:$100 to the winner, $50 to the runner-up

FanFooty is not able to hold or distribute prizemoney on behalf of league commissioners who decide to offer prizes in such a scheme.