I wanna play too!

We’re a game-playing society . . . and I’m not just talking about the psychological ones agents try to play on producers when negotiating contracts.

Everything’s more fun when it’s a game. Learning how to spell, driving long distances (punch buggy!), and even dieting.  People like to win, to finish, to reach their goal . . . in the game of life.

Games have always been used in marketing, but thanks to the video game generation, we’re in the midst of a gamification explosion.  The simple axiom is this:  Get people to play your games, and they’ll be more engaged with your product.  Impressions don’t become simple impressions any more.  They become hooks that dig deep into your customers’ subconscious.  And what’s fantastic about gamification marketing is in most cases, if the game is good, the customers have no idea that they are being reeled in deeper and deeper by the company doing the marketing.

Perfect example of a game that has deeply engaged its fans and without a doubt added to the bottom line of its industry (and is now an industry unto itself?)  Fantasy Football.

If you don’t know what Fantasy Football is, it’s a role-playing game that allows you to build your own “fantasy” football team with players from different teams, and compete against other players.  The winners are decided by the statistics from the actual football games in the NFL.

I was listening to two “dudes” talk about their upcoming draft on the subway the other day.  They were so amped up about their upcoming “season,” and they spent the entire ride from 72nd to 23rd (on a local!) talking about which players from which teams they were after.

And there’s no question in my mind that because of their fantasy football game-playing, these virtual General Managers were going to be more inclined to:

  • Watch NFL games on television
  • Purchase tickets to see an NFL game live
  • Buy merch (guess which players’ jerseys they’d want)
  • And more

And they had no idea.  Because they were in the game zone.

And that’s when I got supes-jealous.

You see, there’s Fantasy Football, and Fantasy Baseball.  Basketball too. And yep, even Fantasy Golf.

And oh wait, there’s even Fantasy Bowling!

So where’s Fantasy Broadway?  Come one, someone, figure out how we’d do this.

Ok, truth . . . I’ve always dreamed about starting a league myself . . . but have stumbled over how it’d be modified for our unique season.  The guys at the Crazytown blog threw out an idea a couple of years ago (in which they actually referenced my board game) and they seem to be close.  And BroadwaySpotted has done something like it as well.

But it has yet to roll out in a big time official way.

And I want to play.  Don’t you?  Fantasy Broadway.  Sounds so much fun. And you and I and thousands of theater fans could spend their subway rides talking about how you wanted Patti LuPone for your show but your buddy got her first.

And then you and I and those thousands of theater fans engrossed in the game would be more inclined to, yep, you guessed it:

  • Watch video content of Broadway shows
  • Purchase tickets to see a Broadway show
  • Buy merch (guess which show jerseys they’d want)
  • And more

So some Broadway/Math/Game expert out there, figure this out.  Tell me how it works in the comments below, and maybe, just maybe, we’ll get it built.

And my show will gross so much higher than yours.


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  • Scott Briefer says:

    Gamifiction is my expertise. I am a IA/UX designer by career and as my partner is on the spectrum – and a video game addict – I learned years ago the significance of making certain tasks “a game”.

    Recently, you wrote about Broadway Booster, basically a social media game. One of the key component of a successful game is the reward system. Sadly, Telecharge hasn’t clearly outlined this aspect of the game, yet. I believe a big mistake.

    Anyway… I have been thinking about turning Broadway into a game for several years. Besides your fun game, there is Mike Farrell’s brilliant Broadway – now out of print – Broadway boardgame. Sadly, I’m not sure if there is the “audience” for this venture. I hope I am mistaken. I love Broadway and like you, would love to see it thrive.

    In the meantime, I will continue to contemplate a new and unique game based on Broadway culture.

  • Sue says:

    Leave the football to the sports fans, who will pay so much for tickets that athletes can have multi-million dollar contracts. Instead of making a game of Broadway, just secure rights and write “Candy Crush Saga–the Musical” and tickets will fly out the door.

  • Hi Ken,

    It was so cool to hear your reaction to a “subway series” type of situation… well almost. I am going to put my mind to percolate ideas based on your observation… I think it has real merit because there is something coming between performing arts fans and sports fans. My initial thought is that theater and the arts are subjective… ticket sales won’t convince a sports fan that a show is worth dropping upwards of a hundred bucks for a two-hour show. But statistics are the domain of the majority of our fellow/parallel audience. Something that they can hang on to, a real absolute way for them to say why they loved a show. For lots of baseball fans coming to the dinner table (or the local bar) telling the guys that “Kinky Boots” was great isn’t enough. Saying “Remember that Cyndi Lauper – man, she’s one of the only 80’s pop star to make it big on Broadway. Paul Simon of Simon & Garfunkel lost (FILL IN THE BLANK) millions on Cave Man. She’s returning (FILL IN THE BLANK) dollars to backers vs. Paul Simon’s (FILLIN THE BLANK). The producers stastistics are …. on and on. We look at the Broadway weekly grosses that’s info. that can be marketed to far more people than currently are.



  • Meg says:

    A few years ago, there was a Fantasy Congress game. That model might be a starting point for developing Fantasy Broadway.

  • Cheryl Palmour says:

    I would love a game like this. I’d buy it and make up my dream cast for plays.

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