In dynasty football markets it happens every day…the Dyfexit, the exit of one or several owners from their dynasty teams in dynasty leagues. As we’ve seen from the results of the Brexit today, if these results are unanticipated the impact on your team and your league could be catostrophic (from a purely non-economic, non-political social game point of view of course). The referendum for the UK to leave the European Union on the other hand has real, impactful outcomes to the world, both geopolitically and socially. So, with tongue firmly in cheek, let’s take a look at the very real lessons from the Brexit that we can apply to the decidedly less real world of dynasty fantasy football, the Dyfexit:
- Always listen to your constituents – The Brexit came about because the European bureaucracy could not and did not react to populist concerns in the UK. The lesson? As a dynasty commissioner, always listen to your owners. Be as flexible as possible in listening to their concerns and applying appropriate rule changes to the league to keep people engaged. This doesn’t mean you cave to every whim from every owner. It’s your job to discern what’s viable and fair and what may not be, but at very least you must listen to owners concerns and acknowledge them to some extent, even if change does not occur. In my main dynasty league, it started with no positional limits, a owner vote to approve trades, no flex positions and 2 divisions among many other changes. Over time, all of those rules have been reversed through league votes due to the desire of our owners. As long as it’s done and seen as a fair resolution, always listen and make appropriate changes.
- Anticipate changes for an orderly transition – Nobody watching the run-up to the Brexit vote wanted to believe the polls that said it was a close vote. Everyone watched the markets and bettors who put big bets on the Brexit not happening. They were wrong, and they had no backup plan. The lesson? Always have an owner exit strategy. Unless you are a close group of long-time friends, most dynasty leagues will have some turnover over time. As commissioner, it’s your job to anticipate that and to whatever extent you can, plan for it. Have some friends waiting in the wings to take over a team. Or if multiple owners leave think about how you would reduce from 12 to 10 (or 14 to 12 and so forth) and redistribute those rosters fairly. Always have an owner exit strategy, it makes things a lot smoother.
- Manage through the uncertainty – Nobody knows today what the real ramifications of the Brexit will be in the medium and long-term. What they do know is that the stress level is through the roof and there are a lot of emotional people wringing their hands today. The lesson? Be strong in the face of what could be withering personal and emotional attacks. I took over a free dynasty league three years ago that I was a participant in. The league had some bad apples in it and leadership basically gave up. Frankly, I liked my team and wasn’t ready to give it up so I took over. When I did almost half the league took off, which wasn’t a problem for me as I have plenty of friends to bring in and stabilize the league, which I did. One particular bad apple stayed and continued to make the league and myself very uncomfortable and he basically taunted us and forced my hand to take his team away, which I did. He did not like this and went to social media to drag my name through the mud. It was sour apples and gratefully most people saw through it, but it was not fun for me and created a lot of stress in the league. Three years later, the league is thriving and there is no stress, only fun. Sometimes as a leader you have to make decisions that in the short term will create a lot of stress but in the long-term will stabilize your league. Don’t be afraid to make those decisions, be prepared to manage through the short-term uncertainty.