It was recently announced the AFL Dream Team competition is being rebranded as AFL Fantasy.
As well, the traditional design of the competition is set to be challenged through the introduction of free draft-based leagues.
Now the decision to rebrand Dream Team is not a huge surprise when you consider participation levels have been in decline for the past two years, indicating the interest of the semi-committed was beginning to wane.
It was clear something had to be done to invigorate user interest and get more people engaged with the game – so an overhaul was ordered.
At this stage it’s impractical to predict if users will embrace or reject these changes, however it is clear that if the AFL does not also overhaul their strategy for engaging users outside the competition space, all of the changes will be in vain.
I am talking about the content produced by the AFL Media department, which is published to AFL.com and aims to support and promote their fantasy competition.
In 2012, AFL.com published just two weekly articles that related to Dream Team, with a sprinkling of other content only appearing following heavily publicised incidents such as the injuries to Gary Ablett and Nathan Fyfe.
The bulk of this content was also retrospective, meaning it provided users little in the way of informed analysis which could help readers overcome the various fantasy related hurdles that appear throughout a season – an essential aspect of writing for fantasy sports.
Providing users with regular engaging content is a simple function the AFL have so far failed to fulfil; this is an area that desperately needs improvement, regardless of any brand revamp.
Studies have shown fantasy sports users possess an above average desire to source and consume sports content, as there is the chance that by doing so they might gain an advantage over their competition.
In 2013, the AFL needs to vastly improve how they fuel users’ desire for fantasy related content.
Enabling users to engage with quality fantasy related news and analysis (that is produced in large quantities) will result in improved competition and more satisfied users.
In the end it could be the difference between success and failure for the AFL Fantasy rebrand.