Chicagoans turn fantasy 'Bachelor' into latest gaming craze

Diane Pathieu Image
Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Chicagoans turn fantasy 'Bachelor' into latest gaming craze
Two local Chicagoans are turning fantasy "Bachelor" into the latest gaming craze.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The game of love is reaching a whole new level for fans of "The Bachelor" as two local Chicagoans are turning fantasy "Bachelor" into the latest gaming craze.

It has all the drama of fantasy football on a different kind of playing field: "Bachelor" fans roots for their favorites, scoring points along the way.

Players accumulate points for any kissing, laughing and, of course, crying. And there is a lot of crying.

Website creators Matthew Gray and Jake Siddall explain how the game works. Much like a fantasy sports league, you pick your reality show, draft a team, form a league with your friends and earn points based on what the contestants on the reality show do.

The whole idea started six years ago with a spreadsheet and a disappointed Gray.

"I was reeling off another terrible fantasy football season, and at the same time, 'The Bachelor' was about to launch its season with Jake Pavelka and I went to their website, reading the bios of the contestants and thought 'who is going to win?' I was trying to predict who might win and it occurred to me we can do a fantasy game for 'The Bachelor,'" he said.

In the years since, the idea exploded and expanded from Gray playing with his friends to people has never met from all over the country.

"When I first started, it was like five, 10 people, and now we are in the tens of thousands," he said.

A year and a half ago, Gray brought in Siddall to redesign the website, called "Fantasy 4 Reality," and it has grown, they say, astronomically.

"Last year, we thought it was really impressive to have 100 people on the site at one time, this year we got to 600 people all at one time," Siddall said.

The game has become a phenomenon among women and men all across America. "Bachelor" fantasy leagues are even discussed on the show.

But what about a "Bachelor" rookie? It doesn't take long to pick up skills and rack up points.

ABC7 Eyewitness News reporter Diane Pathieu chose Jojo and scored big during her romantic date with Ben at Wrigley Field. Three kisses racked up 30 points.

Veteran player Lindsay Margolis was Pathieu's biggest rival and her pick Lauren B. is a favorite to win it all.

"I have four out of the six remaining, and I tell everyone I know that I am dominating my league and I take it really seriously," Margolis says.

So the friends gather together to watch all the kisses and tears until the final girl gets the final rose.

The website makes a little money through advertising, but Gray and Siddall hope that it will grow into a full time job.

The site also covers other reality shows besides "The Bachelor," and the duo are currently creating leagues for the Oscars.

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