Fantasy football dates back to the 1960s, but only in the last decade or so did begin to compete for dominate of the sports landscape. Three Western Michigan University grads are taking the fantasy concept somewhere it's never been before - to marching bands.

For the uninitiated in the band culture, there is a 'pro' league of marching bands for those who kept their trumpets and trombones after high school called Drum Crops International, DCI for short. These drum corps rep a city and have names that resemble sports teams: Rockford, Illinois is home to the Phantom Regiment, for example, while Jersey Surf hails, obviously, from New Jersey.

The newly launched allows fans to craft a fantasy drum line by selecting elements of several corps and gaining a score based on how the corps score at their competition. They are judged on their proficiency on aspects like music and marching.

The minds behind Fantasy Marching are 3 former members of the WMU Bronco Marching Band, John Pinkster, Kyle Gulau and Will Alderman. They told about their new endeavor,

What is Fantasy Marching?
Fantasy Marching is a reality-based competition where you are the corps director of your very own world class drum corps. You host auditions in your league, and then participate in the competition season across the country. As real corps do all the work, your fantasy corps acquires points based on actual on field results.

Why did you decide to do this?
The three of us have been working on various side projects and we’d always been interested in creating some sort of app. With all of us having experience in the marching activity through marching and teaching, it just seemed like a good fit.

Our motivation came from some late night discussions about the rise of sport analytics and fantasy sports over recent years. The marching activity is notoriously misunderstood by the general public because we have judges that determine the final score and no true “head-to-head” competition. Recently though, NCAA created the college football playoff committee. They literally put together a group of judges to decide who would make “finals”. We thought it was interesting that football, the most popular sport in the country, suddenly shifted to a system of judges to determine top groups. So we looked back at the marching activity and started to wonder why we didn’t have a popular outlet for “band stats”. Why is it that I know how many times Tom Brady has won in the state of Colorado when it’s snowing during the playoffs? But I don’t know how many times the corp that posts the best score in Allentown goes on to win finals? After talking in circles around these concepts (and others!) we decided that we wanted to see our activity in a similar light that other professional sports enjoy. The best way to try and prove that concept would be creating a game that’s driven off the data and trends of the activity in real time.

Drum Corps International holds an annual event in Southwest Michigan at Kalamazoo Central High School called Legends Drum Corps Open. The 2016 event is planned for July 31. Here are the corps who are scheduled to compete.

7th Regiment - New London, CT
Blue Saints - Sudbury, ON
Legends - Kalamazoo, MI
Les Stentors - Sherbrooke, QC
Music City -Nashville, TN
- Burlington, NJ

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