Fantasy Football, Women and Networking.
Recently while flying back from a client gender strategy consulting session, I was re-reading Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean-In, when I glanced at the women next to me and she was reading ESPN’s 2015 Fantasy Football Preview. We shared a laugh that she was reading about football and I was reading about women’s leadership advancement. For the next hour we talked Fantasy Football. How did her team do last year? What was her draft strategy? What were her favorite research sites? Did I have any advice? Personally I am in three different leagues (one Championship and two Play-off berths), and it is one of my most guilty pleasures. I was born and raised a Packers fan, (and yes bring on the hate mail all you Seahawks fans). An ideal Sunday is to sit for 12 hours and watch 4 to 6 games at once, (thank you Direct TV). Like many men, I love football. So does my wife. And so do many women.
The number of women playing fantasy football in the United States and Canada more than doubled since 2007, growing to 8.3 million in 2014, according to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association. Women now account for more than 20% of all fantasy football participants. According to the National Football League, women now make up nearly half the league’s fan base; 375,000 women attend NFL games each weekend. And forty-six percent of the 2014 114 million Super Bowl viewers were women, higher than this year’s Oscars, Grammys and Emmys combined.
I attend and speak at numerous women’s leadership events and talk to a lot of women. A common question I am asked is “Should I take up golf so I can do business on the golf course?” My response is always the same; take up golf if you like it but it is a hard game to learn and master and you will need to invest a lot of money. And if you’ve never played you will need to practice a minimum of 8 to 12 hours a week just to be a decent, not good golfer.
Rather than take up golf – join a Fantasy Football League.
Nix Golf. Network Using Fantasy Football.
Even if you know nothing about football just do it. Most are free and it’s easy to start. Fantasy Football has become a leading social networking forum for women and will give you something to discuss with the men in your office for the next 5 months. Not only will you learn pointers about the game, set — strategy for your team you will have plenty to talk about at your office.
(And yes, before I get more hate mail, I do coach and engage men in my training sessions to talk about other things than sports at work to be more inclusive of those at work who aren’t into sports).
Everyone talks about football. No, you don’t have to watch 12 hours of games on Sunday’s but if you can come in and complain that your Fantasy team lost because the Dallas Cowboys kicker missed a chip-shot field goal in the last 13 seconds of the game your co-workers will be impressed.
If you won because Aaron Rodgers threw a 50 yarder to Jordy Nelson to beat the Seahawks, (it’s going to happen Week 2, just a prediction), your co-workers will be even more impressed. Finally, if you know that Aaron Rodgers is also dating Oliva Munn, you will get huge bonus points.
Sign up, read-up and have some fun.
Are you ready for some football!!!
Are you in a Fantasy Football League? Share your experiences in the comments section – what is the reaction from your family, colleagues, and friends? Any pre-game tips?