Why Pro Sports Would Improve with a Fantasy Draft Every Five Years

Matthew GilmartinSenior Analyst IJanuary 30, 2009

Fantasy sports drafts are the ultimate example of parity in sports (which, according to dictionary.com, is defined as “equality, as in amount, status, or value”). Every team in the league gets a fair shot at drafting the best team possible.

Pro sports would be better if every five years they held fantasy drafts for players with one or more years of experience. The current draft for rookies would stay in place the way it is (except for the NBA, which should really do away with its current lottery system).

As they are right now, pro sports set many of its teams up to get blown out every night (the Sacramento Kings, Detroit Lions, Seattle Mariners, and New York Islanders come to mind). Constant losing discourages fans, players, and coaches, no matter how much the latter two try to deny it. The simple fact is: No one likes to lose.

When a player is always trying to figure out and rectify what’s wrong with his game, playing the game he loves becomes a chore. The same goes for a coach who is always trying to figure out and fix what’s wrong with his team. 

These teams who get blown out every night don’t have bandwagon fans because being a fan of a terrible team isn’t cool. 

That’s bad for the organization’s well being because bandwagon fans who are only at the games to be seen make up the majority of any good team—and prosperous organization’s—fan base. 

I mean, how many true diehard fans do you really think are out there compared to bandwagon fans? Probably not many. To see what I’m talking about, consider how many fans of your favorite local pro team there are at your school or office if the team is doing well, or in the playoffs.

There are probably a lot more than there are when the team isn’t doing well.

The lack of bandwagon fans who “love” to go to the team’s games cuts into the organization’s projected income. Pro sports franchises are businesses first. They can’t operate successfully without plenty of money to spend.

The lack of revenue prevents the team from improving by acquiring better players. A nightmarish cycle of losing results, creating resentment among the players, fans, and maybe the coaches. 

A fantasy draft would eliminate this situation completely. Each team would get a fair shot at selecting quality players. Better players make a better team. Teammates learn how to play with each other. The team improves, and it gets fans, who come to the games and put money into the organization. Problem solved.

The league can also benefit from this solution. If all the teams are able to compete every night, bringing in more fans, not only is that more money in the organization’s pocket, but the league also gets more revenue from ticket, food, and merchandise sales. It also reaps the benefits of the spike in TV ratings.    

A perplexing issue to fans is the cost of going to a game. Between tickets, food, and merchandise, fans can easily spend hundreds of dollars at one game. Ticket prices alone are astronomical. If you have to pay so much just to get into a game, with extra costs tacked on during the game, don’t you want to see an entertaining, close game?

But maybe you watch games at home. Sporting events take a lot of time, between two and upwards of three hours. That’s time you frequently have to create in your busy schedule. But if your team gets pummeled, don’t you feel as though you created the time you used to watch the game for nothing?

Even if your team blows out the opponent, you still don’t walk away with the same feeling of satisfaction that you get after seeing your team win a close game.

Finally, the five-year period between drafts would give teammates ample time to develop chemistry. Boy, would it be pretty to watch skilled teams with good chemistry.

Fantasy drafts would be a great thing for pro sports. But they are unlikely to be adopted by pro sports any time soon because the current draft systems work well (most of them, anyway) and because of the salary-cap system.

I guess that's why they're called fantasy drafts.