Fantasy sports, you have met your match.
Meet Fantasy Politics, a game that, coming fewer than three months before the presidential election, could hardly hit at a more opportune time, its creators say.
"The mission of the company is to educate Americans about their political leaders and the political process," Aaron Michel, CEO of the Hub startup, said. "It's an addictive game. It's catnip for political junkies."
Michel and his co-founders put together Fantasy Politics with their own team of seven political advisers, including Josh Ginsberg, the national field director of Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney's 2008 campaign; Scott Fairchild, campaign manager for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the former White House chief of staff to President Obama; and Scott Ferson, the late U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy's former press secretary. Each has a "small" equity stake in the company, Michel said.
"It's got all of the right ingredients," Ferson said of the game. "It's informative in the same way fantasy sports is: If you're involved in it, you're going to be more informed than the casual observer. And it's a lot more fun than scratching a lottery ticket."
People have the option of playing at no cost for bragging rights or paying $25 to compete for cash and prizes in the national championship that fantasypolitics.co will roll out in two weeks.
Those who play for free join a league with other people they know, and each person puts together a team of eight incumbents, candidates, recent former politicians and pundits. Each team, in turn, accrues or loses points based on the real-life actions of its members.
Scoring is based on 15 political-momentum metrics, including polling data, numbers of Facebook fans and Twitter followers, campaign fundraising numbers and Nielsen ratings.
In the national championship, players will not have to join with people they know; they will choose their team and begin playing against other paying participants.
"As a guy who was never that into sports, I like to cover more intellectual topics, like politics," said 35-year-old Benjamin Stingle, who considers himself an independent.
"So I'm kind of excited to have my version of a fantasy game, but about the issues I care about."
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