Over the course of the past couple of weeks, millions of Americans took part in a Fantasy Football draft. Casual fans were chivalrous and accepted a league invite from a friend, while a throng of diehards prepped for months with hopes of assembling the next Fantasy Football juggernaut.
Perhaps even the President himself, Barack Obama, took an hour or two out of his campaign efforts to draft his 2012 squad. Obama, though, is a hoops guy. And he’s a tad busy at this time of year.
ESPN’s Rick Reilly once swayed him to compile a team during his first presidential campaign run.
This time around, he may have bigger fish to fry. Move over, Aaron Rodgers.
With the first-overall pick in the 2012 draft, the United States of America selects …
Courtesy of the Associated Press
Well, something like that.
America is on the clock
Yes, the social interactive game enables users to select politicians instead of running backs. President Obama and Republican Mitt Romney take center stage as the consensus top picks, but it goes much deeper than that.
Team managers are not only asked to select a “dream team” of presidential nominees, but a multitude of candidates running for Congress, as well.
Courtesy of Mashable.com
It’s the who’s who of politics right at your fingertips. Every right move will be lauded, while every wrongdoing will be scrutinized. The rules follow almost the same guidelines as Fantasy Football, with weekly waivers, scoring, trades and 12-team leagues. Instead of tallying points for touchdowns, “players” are rewarded for honesty and engagement.
According to an MTV press release, scoring is based on both user interactions as well as how the candidates themselves perform. Politicians are scored on the following criteria: constituent engagement, honesty, transparency, civility and public opinion.
Data compiled by objective (or biased) organizations such as Real Clear Politics, PolitiFact and the Center for Responsive Politics will help rank politicians based on these factors. Team managers are also awarded points by answering a set of daily questions, signing up for a reminder to vote and registering to vote, as well as reading news articles on partnered sites, BuzzFeed.com/politics and POLITICO.com.
Young voters chose … and lost
Way, way back when Kris Kross made me wanna jump, MTV’s “Choose or Lose” campaign commenced to encourage more than 20 million youths to register to vote. For two decades, Choose or Lose reached out to millions of young voters. The network branched out with several other initiatives, such as P. Diddy’s “Vote or Die” campaign.
Today, with unemployment hovering around 8.3 percent, those who chose in 2008 feel they’ve lost anyway. So MTV nixed the 20-year-old brand and decided to transition to the “Power of 12 Campaign,” with Fantasy Election ’12 at the center of it all.
“Building on MTV’s nearly 20-year Emmy and Peabody Award-winning political legacy with ‘Choose or Lose,’ MTV’s ‘Power of 12’ campaign is built specifically to reflect the Millennial generation and changes in the economic and political climate, and is designed to empower them to have a major impact on Election Day and beyond,” MTV said in a release.
Reaching out to young voters today is much more than setting new trends, or just being cool. It’s about throwing all your eggs in one basket—i.e. online initiatives, particularly social media. MTV senior vice president of public affairs Jason Rzepka calls the trend the “gamification” of youth culture.
Roughly 45 million Americans aged 18 to 29 are eligible to vote. But a recent Gallop poll revealed a mere 58 percent of those voters say they will “definitely vote.” That’s down 20 percent from 2008.
Coincidently, the Fantasy Sports Trade Association says that 1 in 5 people between the ages 18 to 34 play fantasy football. Rzepka is hoping Fantasy Election ’12 can rally troops from all over the country—no matter if they’re political types or not.
“What if people spend as much time researching the backup tight end for the Seattle Seahawks as they spend for the person running for congress in their district?” Rzepka said.
MTV should know a thing or two about pop culture, right?
So how can we win?
It’s all about the Millennials, baby. We’re the most tech-savvy and largest American generation ever, outnumbering Baby Boomers by more than 10 million. You’re welcome, Facebook.
Turning the election into a challenge is serious business. Millennials want to step up to the plate and deliver. When you add prizes to the equation, it’s a no-brainer.
Participants can vie for a grand prize trip for four to the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards, along with $25,000. Additional prizes include $10,000, high-definition TVs, laptops, among other things. In addition, MTV will award plenty of small prizes like weekly iTunes gift cards.
The more you stay in tune with your team and how your “players” are doing, the better chance you have to score big.
See you at the draft party
League drafts begin on Sunday, Sept. 9, with game play kicking off on Monday. Each week you have the chance to add star-studded performers and part ways with those being dishonest, and even sometimes idiotic. Come on, Paul.
My Fantasy Election draft is on Sunday as well. But I’m not prepared to sift through a jumble of politicians I haven’t heard of, nor do I care about. This, in fact, is the problem. But can you blame us (millennials)? National debt is likely to surpass 16 trillion during the Democratic National Convention, which began Tuesday in Charlotte.
That’s where Fantasy Election comes in.
“We’re hoping we can harness the power of video game play in a way that gets this election under the skins of our audience,” MTV President Stephen Friedman told the L.A. Times.
If you don’t know who to draft, MTV will automatically draft for you based on pre-draft rankings. Weekly “roster” changes and prizes call users to stay involved from day to day, even if they have no idea who Lynn Jenkins is.
Potential voters will have a vested interest if their team is losing points and they’re missing out on that $25 gift card to iTunes—or a shot at $25,000! They’re also more apt to track down why Congresswomen Jenkins dropped 1,000 points in any given week.
It’s not so much about being entwined in a broad range of politics. It’s about being current and, of course, voting on November 6.
It still remains to be seen whether or not Fantasy Election ’12 will catch on nationwide. Millennials seem as far removed from this year’s election as ever. But there’s no doubt MTV made huge strides in giving young voters every opportunity to absorb all they need to know during this election season.
Are candidates giving us the democracy we want? Are they addressing the key issues at hand?
This guy is about to find out.