How To Run A Successful Auction

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Tips for Running a Successful Auction League

How to run a Fantasy Football Auction for the 2013 season? Is it all about auction values, player rankings and draft kits?

I’ve been the commissioner of an auction league for 4 years now.  It started off as an experiment, a way to shake things up a little from the mundane way my friends and I played fantasy football for the previous decade.  We now have waiting list of people trying to get into the league.  Actually last year one participant weaselled his way out of going to his wife’s cousin’s wedding so he wouldn’t lose his spot. It’s addictive.  You have the ultimate control of your team because any player is available to you.  You are not handcuffed by a random draft order.

Like any league, you want things to run as smoothly as possible, and every year I’ve changed things a little bit in the attempt for 100% efficiency and satisfaction for the participants.  Here are a few pointers that will help make your league a success and more importantly a highlighted day on your buddies’ calendars.

1. Organization is Key!!

I know this may sound obvious but I can’t stress enough how important this is.  You need to make sure you outline every rule for the league and the draft itself and have them on hand in order to settle conflicts when they arise.  I have drawn up a league constitution that contains everything from draft rules to league scoring to how our waiver wire process works.  There is a copy waiting at every draft station and we review it as a group every year before we start the draft.

As the commissioner, you not only have to make sure the league and draft runs smooth but you want your own draft to be organized so you can focus on drafting the best team possible.  You don’t want to waste time explaining details and worrying about helping other participants which will take your focus away from obtaining a winning squad.  I ensure the entire draft area is set up hours in advance and all the food is bought and prepped the day before to make for faster cooking on draft day.  I set up all the tables and chairs, have the draft board hanging on the wall, and get all my personal draft tools and research set up so I’m ready to rock and roll once the guests start arriving.

2.  If you feed them, they will come

Don’t be cheap with the grub.  If you offer a nice spread then people will have a good time.  The draft will take a long time so I am constantly making fresh popcorn to snack on as we draft.  We always have other snacks such as chips and various forms of salted, cured meats on hand as well that will pair nicely with your choice of ale.  We also eat a dinner after the draft is over that features cuisine from the winner of the previous year’s drafts favourite NFL team’s city.  Last year I smoked 2 pork shoulders and made po boys with slaw and jambalaya because a New Orleans Saints fan won the year before.  Once the draft is over, it’s nice to sit around the draft board eating and discussing all the “What the hell were you thinking” results of the last few hours and see who is the pre-season favourite.

3. To drink or not to drink?

I personally encourage you to have alcohol at your draft…it is mandatory for every participant in
our draft.  It provides comedy and it can help pass the time if you blow your entire budget on your first 3 picks.  You will see some of the dumbest picks after some of your buddies have finished off
half a case of Coronas.  Who gets into a bidding war for Brian Hartline?  I’ll tell you who, the two drunk Bears fans.  Plus if your tolerance is higher than your friends then you can reap the benefits as they all over spend.  Just make sure your buddies all have a ride home after the draft.  You don’t want them sleeping on the floor of your basement bathroom or under your pool table.

4.  The Right Auctioneer

This is probably the most important role on draft day.  Being the auctioneer is a thankless job.  I would never do it.  You stand in front of everyone for hours trying to keep the draft moving writingcropped-ffa-favicon.png down every pick on the draft board.  It’s definitely not for everyone.  We’re on our second auctioneer.  The first year the auctioneer we had wasn’t even a football fan. He didn’t know who many of the players were and he had no idea what a football draft would be like, but he was the only person I could find that was willing to do the job.  He also ended up as the drunkest guy there which didn’t help.  We didn’t get him to do it again.

Our current auctioneer doesn’t play fantasy football but he is a football fan.  He keeps the draft moving at a good pace.  Most importantly he likes doing the job.  He likes watching how the draft unfolds, and even though he’s not in the pool he follows it throughout the season.  We provide him with anything he wants to keep him coming back.  He has a bottomless cup of his choice of beverage for the entire evening in order to keep him happy.  If you find a good auctioneer you hang onto him like your first born and cater to them to keep them wanting to come back.

5. Make it a Spectacle

You want to create “buzz” and keep people coming back.  If you do something unique and out of the ordinary your guests will remember it.  By making sure they are comfortable over the entire draft process they are going to be relaxed and eager to do it again.

We present the trophy to the previous year’s champion before the draft begins.  It’s like a championship team raising the banner and getting their rings at the home opener the next season.  One of the participants in our draft makes sure he brings enough Cuban cigars (we live in Canada) for every participant that wants one.  If you can provide them an experience they don’t duplicate any other time of year, how could your guests not enjoy themselves?  Once word gets out how good your draft is you’ll have all kinds of people wanting to join.  Like I previously mentioned, we now have a ranked waiting list in case a spot opens up in our draft.

The ultimate goal of any draft is for the participants to have fun.  If they have fun then they will want to do it again and again and they will look forward to the following year.  If you can make the draft process as enjoyable as possible then that sets the tone for a very enjoyable season.  If you use these tips then I guarantee that you will be well on your way to the most enjoyable fantasy football season you will have ever played in.  Let the battle for bragging rights begin.  What better reason is their to play this game?

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2 comments
tomwondra
tomwondra

Do you use a spreadsheet or software to track on auction night? If so, what do you use?

UncleBucketts
UncleBucketts

@tomwondra in our big live auction our Auctioneer posts all picks and costs on huge sheets on the garage wall. Very easy to track. On the live online drafts ESPN and yahoo sited do a great job of tracking numbers. Sorry nothing fancy at our end.

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