At last spring’s 2016 MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, during the “Rise of Big Data in Sports” panel, Angus McNab, Head of Content Distribution for North America, Opta/PERFORM Group, put forth the idea that the future of fan engagement would be more about individual players than teams. Check it out at 50:20 of the video:

“…in terms of personalization in sort of the public sphere in the next two-three years if you speak to…Facebook… is probably the shift from “I follow a team” to the people who… like Shane Battier… him going to watch his kids play and everyone’s trying to be like Steph (Curry)…and throwing up shots from all over the place… the personalization is coming at an athlete level… more and more fans and kids in particular are following athletes… as much as they follow a team… that and personalization and driving it forward is where we’ll have to pay so much more attention in the future… “

If you add that observation to the current fantasy craze where people intensely study and select the best possible players in order to create their own personal teams, you start to see where McNab is coming from.

And you start to ask questions like this:

If you’re – say – living in the San Francisco area – how important will the Golden State Warriors be to you relative to your separate love of Steph Curry or his possible place in your fantasy team?

Or as a perhaps better example, if you’re living in Manchester and like everyone else in the world you currently have both Ibrahimovic and Aguero in your Fantasy Premier League team, won’t you be cheering for and enjoying the exploits of both brilliant players, regardless of your allegiance to either United or City?

We don’t imagine the team picture will disappear altogether from the sports conversation but we can fully appreciate what McNab is saying about the increasing focus on individual players.

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BPITW FPL Table GW3

It took until Game Week 3 but the sniper, Marko V, has been taken out. John V’s Pep City team recorded a league high 60 points to move into top spot.

Pep City had two Dream Team members in Jonny Evans (8 pts) and Eden Hazard (11 pts). Jamie Vardy earned the team 8 pts as a result of scoring his first goal of the season. Most important to the Pep City performance was a backline and goalkeeper that netted 4 clean sheets due to the ugly nil-nil draw between West Brom and Middlesborough:

BPITW FPL Leader GW3

Special mention goes to Ian V whose 53 points moved him into a respectable third-place position.

The Fantasy Premier League now takes a break due to the international schedule and resumes with GW4 on Saturday September 10th.

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Remember – this year’s BPITW FPL champion will receive a one-of-a-kind BPITW necklace which I suppose could read, “Best (Fantasy) Player in the World”:

Best Player in the World Necklace

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