Today seems like a fine day to face a cold, harsh reality that’s been festering for far too long: fantasy football sucks. It’s terrible.
Go ahead, say it with us slowly: “Fantasy football is terrible.”
Feels good, right? Because it’s genuine. Year after year you shell out your hard-earned cash, only to watch some guy named Murph sail to the finals with a team he 100% auto-drafted at the beginning of the season. You deserve a new brand of virtual general management—one that’s up to date with the capabilities and advancements of modern technology. Turns out, there may just be one such brand on the horizon.
Your Call Football is a revolutionary new gaming app based on real football, with real players and coaches, and real user control. Tonight they’ll kick off the third and final game of their inaugural testing season, as users around the world play via Your Call’s livestream app, dialing up offensive plays from the comfort of their own homes for teams to execute on the field. Think of it as Madden with less reliance on CPU—and professional athletes competing in lieu of tiny virtual figurines.
As President of Your Call, Julie Meringer, breaks it down, the concept is essentially a merger of three business models: professional football, professional broadcasting and gaming technology. Fans can use the app to compete against friends (similar to fantasy football) or compete for a grand cash prize. And the ways in which users receive points is simple:
- If the play you called is successful. (If not, you could lose points.)
- If the play selected fails, but you picked a different play.
- If you pick the same play the coach voted for.
Ah, yes. That last part is important. The two head coaches roaming the sideline keep things running by loading a bundle of three plays into the app for fans to choose from. This prevents users from dialing up the worst play calls imaginable (say, three reverse hail marys in a row), because the professionals on the field—most of whom are ex-NFL players or athletes with ambitions of reaching that level—have feelings, too. Rest assured, the two coaches lending a hand are no joke. For the time being, they’re former NFL head coach Mike Sherman and former NFL running back Merril Hoge (!).
As for the live action, the games themselves don’t require much structure or fanfare. They’re played down at Dodgertown in Vero Beach, Florida, to a crowd of 200-300 people. As Meringer explains, “We really don’t need a big stadium because it’s built for the fans at home.” Though she does add that about 50% of attendance is also competing on their phones, so they're likely just as invested in the outcome as you are.
The users at home, of course, need a streaming platform with enough power and efficiency to keep them right up to speed with the players on the field and the information coming in from the broadcast booth. That’s where Phenix comes in. The Chicago-based software company is capable of streaming live video and production with practically zero lag time. Kyle Bank, Phenix's Director of Development, put it in perspective: the NFL and other professional sports leagues tend to have about 18-60 seconds of latency within their broadcasts. Phenix provides under one second of latency—if any at all. This not only opens the door for Your Call’s success, but for further ventures into eSports, eLearning and, yes, the wild (and recently legal) world of sports gambling.
“Imagine placing a bet on a Tiger Woods putt in real time,” Bank hammer-drops over the phone. I have imagined. And I have concluded that this is both a fantastic and highly combustible idea.
Your Call Football’s end game is a little more direct: to keep the momentum rolling into a financially successful television model. Since an annual infrastructure isn’t as paramount as it might be within major sports, Meringer has her sights set on two or three seasonal runs a year of 6-10 games each.
You can download the app and tune into tonight’s action for a firsthand experience. Kickoff is set for 8:25 PM ET. The potential victory will feel so sweet, and the loss won’t come at the expense of a Murph.