As we slog through the NFL offseason lots of issues arise. As you know this is my dumping ground for random thoughts so sit back and enjoy my unfiltered takes on NBA Top Shot, retweet groups, tape grinders, internships, and more.
A firestorm erupted on social media over paid internships being a good or bad thing. At the end of the day whatever helps you get to where you need to go is the right path. Don’t begrudge someone for taking a free internship. If that is the ONLY way they can get their foot in the door, then so be it. Not to say companies shouldn’t be paying kids. They know the job market is littered with young, hungry folks who will work for free. Hell, that’s the entire business model of news media. Pay someone literally the bare minimum and when their contract is up, replace them with a fresh face from college who will work cheaper.
I was fortunate to get an internship at WTVH-5, the CBS affiliate in Syracuse, NY during the summer of my junior year of college. This was a free gig. I worked there one day a week in the sports department. I logged games and edited highlights for the evening news. I can’t say I learned a lot, but it was a fun experience. I just so happened to live in Syracuse and the internship was only once a week. If I had to work, go to classes, and do an internship multiple days per week it wouldn’t have been possible. It’s all about YOUR situation. If you find value in working for free, fine. If you feel you should be compensated for your time, go find someone who will pay you. Do rich kids whose parents pay their tuition have a leg up because maybe they don’t need to work a summer job? Of course. This isn’t new. But just because someone has an advantage financially doesn’t mean they’ll beat you in the long run. Talent, hustle, and work ethic can’t be bought on Daddy’s credit card. If you want to get ahead, go work your ass off and do it.
There’s a great line out there about being better than, less than, or different than in business. To me, this applies 100% to fantasy sports content creation. How many shows look exactly the same? Who is doing it better than the names we all know? Better question, who is doing something different? With the rise in technologies the opportunities to set yourself apart by simply taking a new path are great. That’s where I see the next steps in my content creation career. Hopefully, if the tech all comes together, we at the Fantasy Football Hustle will bring you content like you haven’t seen before in the fantasy football space. Funny, inclusive, different.
The sports collectible world has been turned upside down with the advent of NBA Top Shot. These “moments” are the latest in a shifting world of electronic assets. I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not in on these. I don’t like the NBA. I’m also not swimming in excess cash to dump on packs. Plus, I don’t think this fad has legs (I could be very wrong). Now is it a TREMENDOUS opportunity right now to make MONEY. You’d have to be a fool not to see it. In a few short months, they’ve acquired over 250,000 users who are willing to pony up major cash. You don’t see Top Shot ads on TV. You aren’t getting bombarded with direct mailers on pack drops. This organic volcano has oozed out of social media and has taken off in a way no one expected.
Here’s my biggest issue. I love that people are flipping cards and trying to make a buck. What I don’t see is a long-term collectibles market for these. If you have baseball cards for example you know that a Mickey Mantle rookie card carries weight because of what he did and what he meant. The memories he forged with a generation of baseball fans created equity. Some folks want that tangible piece of their childhood. I don’t see that with Top Shot. I can’t be sold that 50 years from now someone is going to want a 5-second video of Jerami Grant grabbing a rebound. I’m sorry, I just don’t. What will the technology look like down the road? A card is tangible. You can hand it to someone. You can display it. It’s a real thing. While the “Blockchain” technology behind Top Shot is cool, is it here for the long run? Think back twenty years. Most people didn’t have a cell phone. Desktop computers were the norm. Your Dad dropped 3 month’s salary on a Gateway 2000 so you could get on AOL and download an image of Cindy Margolis. Baseball cards were still a thing back then. Still tangible. Still valuable. Fast forward 20 years from now. What will tech look like? Can you even still display these moments you purchased? How will your investment be viewable and more importantly sellable? Once upon a time, I did emails on a Blackberry. Today I can speak them into my iPhone and Blackberry phones don’t exist. I’m not saying Top Shot is a bad thing. It’s just not MY thing. Good luck to all of you making money on it today. I hope you make a killing. Who knows, maybe this thing isn’t for the long term and doesn’t need to be. I have very smart friends like Cody Main (@CMain7) who may convince me otherwise. But I highly doubt the tens of thousands of you in line for packs see this as a long-term investment. THAT is my major issue. Where’s the demand down the road? Right now it’s a ton of people in the same demo trying to flip these to each other. Where’s the long-term market? Maybe it’s when China gets opened up to these, I dunno. You want to flip it and make a buck? I’m cool with that. I’ll be the dusty old guy holding my autographed collectibles in the basement.
If you want to read more about NBA Top Shot and the over $200 million they’ve done so far here’s a great piece from Forbes Magazine.
I HATE retweet groups. I’m glad others are finally coming around to this as well. I was once apart of several when I first got into fantasy Twitter. I quickly realized I had to bail. It’s great to share content. That’s how we all grow. What I don’t want to be is annoying and disingenuous.
While I’d love for you all to RT my shit, I don’t want you to do it unless you actually read and like it. That’s what the main issue is. If you aren’t reading the work and blindly clogging up other people’s feeds, who are you helping? You are soon to be unfollowed because you’ll be seen as annoying. What if the work is terrible? What if they say they want to murder kids in the third paragraph? Use your RT powers for good, not because you are forced to.
You might have noticed this graphic about teams in cap hell. Look a little closer and you’ll see most of the teams who have played in the NFC Championship Game from 2016 – this season. Winning comes at a cost. The Saints, Eagles, Falcons, Rams, Packers, and Vikings are all fighting to get south of the cap because they’ve kicked the can on the salary cap down the road year after year. Constant restructures and let’s be honest massive QB contracts set the table for this situation. Success has a price and the bill just came due.
More and more folks on Twitter tell me how much they are “grinding the tape." I’m going to call bullshit. Not that there aren’t many fine folks doing it like my pals at FFAstronauts.com. I trust very few people when it comes to really breaking down tape. I want guys who are former players, coaches or have trained eyes. Just because you found highlights of an all-22 tape on YouTube doesn’t make you Greg Cosell. I get everyone now needs a gimmick and has to be relevant 12 months a year but be careful who you get your info from.
While I’m ranting and raving (hey it’s my blog, you didn’t come here for X’s and O’s) I have to give a little advice to the fantasy community: sometimes less is more. You don’t have to tweet every minute of every day. It’s cool to go outside and experience real life. I know we all want to build a following but fantasy Twitter is more of an echo chamber and mutual admiration society than anything else. I’d venture to say the “audience” who seeks fantasy football advice isn’t even looking for content in March. So how much of what we see right now is just fantasy writer talking to fantasy writer? That said, those who want to be real often get ostracized, see rookie rankings. Groupthink takes over and original thought becomes foreign. I’m all for you being you. Look at this article, I’m not exactly applying for the PC police, but realize your audience wants the best of you, not every single piece of you.
Brian Drake is the host of the Fantasy Football Hustle podcast. He is a member of the FSWA and was nominated for Fantasy Football “Article of the Year” in 2020. He can be found on Twitter @DrakeFantasy.