NORTH TEXAS -- NFL fans don't have much to cheer about right now with the league basically in hibernation mode, but in a couple weeks it'll be a Christmas in July as the National Fantasy Football Convention returns to DFW!
Don't be fooled by the name, though. While fantasy football players can get plenty of advice from experts, the event is more about giving fans a chance to mingle with (actual) players.
"The goal is to have each one of these people walk out with a memory," says NFFC CEO Andy Alberth, who co-founded the event with his cousin, former Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo. "You can come and get free autographs, photo ops, play on the football fields with the players, have one of the players let you wear a Super Bowl ring. It's a way to interact with players that you can't do when you go to a stadium."
Last year's inaugural event in Dallas - which was actually the third attempt at putting it on thanks to interference from the NFL- was a big success with both fans and the 50 players and personalities who participated. Word of mouth spread, and this year's edition in Fort Worth will feature 200 players and personalities, including players from every NFL team. And that's not all.
"We've got two football fields this year," says Alberth, "we have a home and garden section, a health and fitness section, an auto zone, we're going to give away two houses to injured [military] vets, and we're going to give a couple more trained dogs to disabled veterans, as well.
"It's growing fast. It's exciting."
Alberth says that growth could eventually include other sports, but for now the focus remains on football. And while multiple NFL teams and cities have reached out about hosting the convention in future years, Alberth says DFW fans shouldn't worry.
"I don't think I'd ever move it out of here. This is the football capital of the world. The Dallas Cowboys are the biggest team in the world. I mean, they breathe football here. I love just being around it."
You won't find any disagreements from us!
The convention is July 13-15 at the Will Rogers Memorial Center. Base tickets will get you in on both Saturday and Sunday, and an upgraded ticket package will cover all three days (you can save $25 by using the promo code "Mighty"--you're welcome!).
Note: appearance schedules will not be made public to give everyone an equal chance of seeing each player instead of having crowds build up in advance and blocking out other fans. So keep an eye out if you go and keep your camera ready - you never know when you'll bump into somebody!