Andy Holloway, Mike Wright, Jason Moore, and Brooks Carmean are living the creator’s dream.
They make a full time living. All year long. From a podcast. About fantasy football.
As careers go, that’s a keeper if we’ve ever seen one.
They did it—in part—by deploying some tech wizardry to integrate Patreon directly into the content of their WordPress website.
A great product, a committed following, a dependable business model, and revenue to support the show and themselves.
Note** from Patreon’s awesome engineering team…
The guys from The Fantasy Footballers? They have mad tech skills. If you’re thinking, “This sounds great, but there’s no way I could do what they’ve done,” fear not.
W**e just launched a new set of integration tools for people who want cool revenue-building tools they can use on their website—but who may not be tech ninjas. More info here**.
Okay… back to the story…
We sat down with co-founder Andy Holloway to get the details of their journey.
If you’re a creator—especially a creator hoping to turn your project into a full-time living—you might want to take notes on this one.
What these guys did is a fantastic way to generate revenue—without alienating your audience in the process.
How The Fantasy Footballers Monetize Their Podcast (Without a Separate Membership Site)
If you visit the website for The Fantasy Footballers, you’ll find a huge library of information.
Opinions, analysis, breaking-news reports, recommendations.
Perhaps as valuable as anything else on the site (for fantasy players), you’ll find player rankings:
It looks like a standard chart you’d see on any fantasy football site.
Except, it’s not.
Visitors to this page can browse rankings from Andy, Jason, and Mike for all the fantasy positions—except one.
The “Flex” rankings—a combined list of all available players from the RB, WR, and TE positions—is only accessible for members who support the show at the $5/month level.
As a two-time office fantasy league champion, I can tell you the Flex position is by far the most difficult position to choose every week.
Which means, having access to an independent ranking of Flex-eligible players is huge.
If you click on “Flex” on the rankings site, here’s what happens…
If you click that “Join Now” button, you’ll be redirected to The Fantasy Footballer’s Patreon page and prompted to support the show:
Looks simple right? A redirect to Patreon for people to support.
Don’t be fooled.
This right here?
This is where the wizardry happens.
Integration Powers The Fantasy Footballers’ Business Model
It is one thing to have premium content (like Flex rankings) in a patron-only membership section.
The premium Flex rankings list is not the only reason people join the #FootClan, of course.
Some want the extra podcast the team puts out every week just for members.
Others want to play in leagues with other committed players—instead of just joining a generic Yahoo! League (where seemingly half the players stop paying attention after a few games anyway).
You could put all kinds of content behind an integrated membership section. Just to give you some ideas, you could create:
- Exclusive YouTube videos
- Early access to podcast shows
- Bonus content that accompanies your regular content (cheat sheets, shopping lists, coupons, etc.)
Whatever the content, what makes a membership section work (or not) is the experience for both you and the end user.
When a new member joins the #FootClan, for example, no one from The Fantasy Footballers has to lift a finger.
Instead, three things happen automatically:
- The new supporter becomes a member in the Patreon system and will be charged monthly from that point forward
- The supporter receives a login for The Fantasy Footballers’ main website—a WordPress site
- The supporter receives a login for the #FootClan’s private discussion forum—which is hosted by Discourse
With 5,000+ patrons currently supporting the show, these integrations save the team countless hours every month in support costs.
Which is time they can spend working on the show instead.
Andy put it this way:
“Am I going to spend 30 minutes a day having to create reports or authenticating people on the website? Or do I get to spend those 30 minutes making a better podcast that creates a better product for the user? That’s why these integrations exist. To make the process seamless.”
How You Can Do What The Fantasy Footballers Did (Without Knowing Code)
Over the last few years, Andy, Jason, and Mike custom-built these integrations between Patreon, WordPress, and Discourse on their own—with some help from our support team.
The guys aren’t programmers by trade, but all three worked for years at a company that built Facebook games.
Compared to most creators, they have exceptional technical skills.
You do not need the kind of skills Andy, Jason, and Mike have to create similar integrations between your content and Patreon.
You can use the App Directory, Patreon’s new set of integration tools for creators, which are designed to help creators monetize their audience using the content and websites they already own—without having to set up a separate membership site.
Note: If you haven’t signed up for Patreon yet, you can do that here.
How The Fantasy Footballers Got Started
For eight years, Jason ran a company that made games for Facebook.
Both Andy and Mike worked for that company, which was based in Phoenix.
The company grew rapidly during the craze that was Facebook games—growing to 25 employees.
But by 2014, Facebook games were fading fast, and the company was down to “just a handful of people,” according to Andy.
At that point that Andy decided to pursue something different.
Real estate, in fact.
“I actually went and was working on getting my real estate license,” Andy said. “That’s what I was doing when we first started the podcast.”
Andy and Mike launched the podcast in 2014 as a side project. Jason was also involved as a contributor in the background. He joined the show as an active co-host in 2015.
The listener base grew quickly, opening the team’s eyes to the possibilities of a year-round show.
“The way fantasy football players are—they never want to stop talking about it, even in the offseason,” Andy said.
They went “all-in” for the 2015 season.
The rest, as they say, is history.
“I’m happy to say I never had to sell real estate,” Andy told us.
Brooks Carmean joined the team as a full-time producer later on.
At present, The Fantasy Footballers publishes five shows a week during the football season plus an exclusive bonus show for #FootClub members.
In the offseason, they continue producing shows—two a week at a minimum—for a total of around 150 shows per year.
The show is also produced completely independently from The Fantasy Footballers studio in Phoenix, Arizona.
It is currently the highest rated fantasy sports podcast on iTunes.
Takeaways for Creators
Want to take your podcast, YouTube channel, or community to the next level and eventually support your full-time income(s) like the Fantasy Footballers??
Here are our big takeaways from our conversation with Andy:
1. Invest in Efficiency
It takes time to set up integrations. But for The Fantasy Footballers, they view that time as an investment.
Will it take you several hours to setup up an automated membership workflow for new supporters?
But, once you have it set up, will it save you 30 minutes a day for the next five years?
If so, that’s absolutely an investment worth making.
Because, when you spend less time doing administrative tasks (like manually setting up logins for new members), you have more time to spend as a creator.
As Andy put it toward the end of our interview: “Efficiency accomplishes better art.”
2. Create a Seamless Experience
For The Fantasy Footballers, their goal has always been to make it as easy as possible for listeners to become members and access their premium content.
Not just for the benefit of listeners—although that’s critical—but for higher conversions as well.
“We wanted to be able to deliver exclusive content to listeners in the most seamless way we could,” Andy said. “It’s been very useful in converting people who want to grab our premium projections or flex ratings or the other things we have behind the membership section.”
3. Set Your Guiding Principles
Finally, any creative project needs a few guiding principles.
For The Fantasy Footballers, their guiding principles are the first thing they talk about in the intro video posted on the show’s YouTube page:
- Good information
- Quality production
“We’re having fun here,” Mike says in the video. “We don’t want you to get bogged down in the spreadsheets. We want you to be entertained.”
Clearly, they’ve accomplished that—and then some.
In fact, with tens of millions of downloads every year and 5,000+ patrons, we don’t instant replay on this one, because the result is clear…
These guys have created a winner.
Check out the New App Directory: If you also want to easily integrate a paid Patreon membership tier to a feature on your site, like the Fantasy Footballers have done, check out Patreon’s new App Directory**. No coding experience required, we promise.