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The Importance of Community Engagement: Or How to Run a Successful Bachelor Fantasy League

Hello all you skeptics out there.

Now, I don’t believe that you can find true love on a reality show, but I do believe watching 30 ladies chase the dream (in the company of nearest and dearest friends) is a goddamn blast. I’ve fallen prey to the guilty pleasure, and ABC’s The Bachelor franchise has dug its talons deep.

I’m not alone. The Bachelor and The Bachelorette average a 2.1 Nielsen Rating among adults 18-49, and mainly affluent women – viewers have an income 34% above the average television watcher. The show’s resurgence began in 2013. Viewership is sky high and I expect it only to climb (7.59 million viewers this week – oh you don’t say?).  Some note the upswing might have been due to the introduction of return contestants (choosing a new Bachelor from contestants on The Bachelorette), but those in the know, know…it’s all about that social.

The rise of the second screen, group viewing, and ‘celebrity’ social participation made Mondays-at-8 a must-watch. You can’t tweet with your friends or vie for ‘favorites’ if you’re not at your laptop while the show is actually on. Nor can you score the ultimate win (attained by my sister, Abbe, this week), in the form of a retweet straight from the bachelor himself.

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Before the show was re-invigorated, the bulk of its viewers were romantics, not cynics. Now, viewers watch with an eye for drama. The rise of hate watching fuels this online grass-roots resurgence. As they say, misery loves company. The real-time conversation, curated by the hive-mind of fans, isn’t part of the equation when you watch on your own. The show also features tweets at the bottom of the screen during live events, giving fans even more incentive to post. Fans have parties and form Bachelor fantasy leagues, increasing the offline chatter and further cementing the series ubiquity.

It’s clear that the show was in a slow decline before it got a swift social kick in the butt. It’s saving grace? Fan involvement.

I, in turn, have fostered my own community (of hate-watchers.) I run my own fantasy league. We have weekly gatherings, live tweet the show with friends across the country, and drink a LOT of wine. It keeps me in touch with the women that I love – even when TV shows me women I don’t love. This mutual connection makes the whole ordeal worthwhile.

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It’s live tweet time!

Here’s how to run a successful league:

Bachelor Fantasy League: The Desolation of Soules – Rules and Regulations

My fantasy league game has a rose-based points system:

1 pt per rose ceremony rose
2 pts for the first impression rose
2 pts for a rose given on a date
2 pts for a fantasy suite invite

These three are all worth more as the contestant will not receive a rose during the rose ceremony.
2 pts per rose once we’re in the top 5 (add one if it’s on a date)
3 pts per rose once we’re in the top 3 (add one if it’s on a date)
5 points for the final rose

Participants choose eight ladies, and rosters are due before the first episode. During the first episode, players earn points for all of their picks that made it through elimination.

After the first episode, participants categorize their eight ladies into five picks and three reserves. If you don’t give your picks by the start of the show, we work in alphabetical order. You get points from your five picks only, and if you lose team members due to elimination, you can pull from your reserves (your choice of who to pull from the bench) until you run out. At the end of the game, the participant with the most points wins the pot (or however you want to divvy it up).

It’s also very important to have a hilarious name for your Fantasy team.  (Ex. Team Two Chrisses are better than Juan, Team Soule Plane, or Team She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy)

Good luck!

Sources:

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/tv-ratings-bachelor-state-affairs-764955

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/11/business/media/after-rough-patch-the-bachelor-wins-back-viewers.html?pagewanted=all