Fielding Football Fantasies

By Staff

Athletic Management, 16.5, August/September 2004,

Taking a cue from several Major League Baseball teams, the University of Notre Dame, in conjunction with Global Football, hosted its second annual fantasy camp for Fighting Irish football fans in early July. The five-day, four-night camp gives fans an intimate look at what it’s like to be a member of the storied Fighting Irish football program, and provides extra funds for both the athletic department and coaching staff.

“It’s the greatest way I’ve seen to directly tie rabid fans into the university and the football program,” says Patrick Steenberge, President of Global Football and the camp’s organizer.

Steenberge has tailored the camp so that it requires minimal effort on the university’s end. Notre Dame provides Steenberge the facilities and access to the program’s coaching staff, as well as some marketing help in the form of alumni lists. Steenberge does the rest.

This summer he charged each participant $4,290 and attracted 52 campers, including 10 returning from last year’s camp. After expenses are paid (including salaries for coaches and staff), half of the money goes to the Notre Dame lettermen’s club, and half to Global Football. Steenberge hires both past and present Notre Dame coaches and players to instruct the campers.

Participants are taken through a series of workouts and practices, which culminate in a camp-ending flag football game held at Notre Dame Stadium. Campers receive the same game and practice gear worn by current Notre Dame football players, and are introduced on the field by longtime Notre Dame public address announcer Mike Collins.

Steenberge says that participants come from all walks of life, and range in age from 23 to 70. Most did not play college football. “The only thing they really have in common is their love of Notre Dame football,” Steenberge says.

For more information go to