In the Queen song “Bohemian Rhapsody” Queen front man sings, “Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?”

The same question could often be asked of those playing fantasy football each fall.  With the 2020 NFL season starting shortly, I recalled my last encounter with fantasy football while reviewing current data about the popular pastime.

According to the Fantasy Sports & Gaming Association, there were 59.3 million people playing fantasy sports in the USA and Canada in 2017.  As of 2019 there were an estimated 45.9 Million fantasy sports players over 18 in the United States alone. According to a 2019 survey conducted  by the organization, demographics for fantasy sports — not just football — include the following:

  • 81% male, 19% female.
  • 50% are between the ages of 18 -34 (average age is 37.7).
  • 67% are employed full-time.
  • 47% make more than $75,000 (national average is 34%).

football-67701_1280

The Sports Management Degree Hub clarifies that, “Of the 56.8 million players, more than 40 million play fantasy football.” The website further shares that fantasy sports participants spend an average of $465 a year on fantasy sports with fantasy football alone operating in an $18.6 billion market. That’s $6 billion more than the current estimated NFL revenue, and 4.5 times the current value of the NFL’s top flight team, the Dallas Cowboys.

I fielded two fantasy teams: The Shawshank Receptions in 2013 with work colleagues and The Dubai Deflators in 2015 after I had been living in UAE for a year — both times using ESPN’s app and website.

While my experience was limited, it allowed me to entertain the following 10 takeaways into ideal practices to maximize success and minimize conflict:

  1. Accept Reality
  2. Act Strategically
  3. Adapt Effectively
  4. Collaborate Honestly
  5. Embrace Unpredictability
  6. Lose Graciously
  7. Play Competitively
  8. Think Confidently
  9. Trade Fairly
  10. Win Gracefully

If you play fantasy football (or fantasy sports of any kind) what has your experience been — and what tips would you share with others interested in participating?

Facebook favors the bold. Okay, technically fortune favors the bold, but I was recently bold on Facebook and that risk paid a handsome reward. On the morning of Monday, October 19, 2015 I saw a Facebook post by Robert Scoble announcing his arrival in Dubai for Gitex Technology Week. Intrigued, I reached out to the noted blogger, technical evangelist, author, and futurist whom I have followed virtually for many years.

He replied to my comment quickly and then, via direct message, graciously invited me to a dinner that night hosted by Rackspace Hosting. As it turns out, this would be one of the most exceptional experiences of my life. I found myself mingling with more than two dozen technology industry insiders and thought leaders at the Exchange Grill in the Fairmont Hotel (near the Dubai World Trade Centre where Gitex was happening).

Ben Parr, Robert Scoble, and Matthew A. Gilbert, MBA.
Ben Parr, Robert Scoble, and Matthew A. Gilbert, MBA.

I had the pleasure of getting to know people from Afkar.me, Cazar, Middle East Global Advisors, Rackspace HostingRockefeller Innovation, SQREEM Technologies, uBeam, and other impressive organizations. I also chatted with Ben Parr, former Mashable editor and author of the book Captivology, along with Creative Content Agency founder and DJ Raj Kotecha, plus Dubai-based social media personality Literally Anika.

We talked about a range of topics including:

  • Behavioral Intelligence
  • Being an Expat Entrepreneur
  • Big Data
  • Burning Man
  • Fantasy Football
  • Future of Robotics
  • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Mobile Phone Industry
  • Next Steps for Twitter
  • Predictive Analytics
  • Self-Driving Cars
  • Wireless Battery Charging
  • Venture Capital and Innovation
  • Why Facebook is “Where It’s At”

Having both grown up in the San Francisco Bay Area (with an interest in journalism and technology), Robert and I found ourselves sharing memories from the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. We also talked about being fathers to sons with an autism diagnosis. It was an enriching experience getting to know someone I knew much about and with whom I had much in common, but before that evening had never met in person.

As a lifelong learner it was an opportunity to immerse myself in an ocean of ideas to inspire my research and catalyze my creativity. As an educator it was a chance to connect with individuals who want to enrich my classroom as speakers and strengthen my students’ learning via internships, involvement with business incubators, and engagement in experiential education.

It was a night unlike any I have experienced before; it was definitely a moment when I was delighted to not be the smartest person in the room (as the popular saying goes). I look forward to what dreams may come from this transformational evening.

Thank you, Robert Scoble!