Like most of America, the SSCS team has taken a liking to fantasy football. In our spare time away from work some of us participate in our own “just for fun” league, and it’s a pretty cool thing. It brings together professionals from a wide range of departments: sales, support, development, and, yours truly, the communications department. Sports are the great equalizer; it seems that goes for fantasy football, too. (The only drawback is our wife gets irked because we want to watch more football than ever!)

Anyway, we had never played fantasy football before and our first thoughts were, “How hard could it be?” In the days leading up to our draft, we continued to think that even though some of the SSCS team members we’d be going up against were seasoned vets. In fact, we got a little unnerved one day when we were in the lunch room and overheard some in-depth analysis from one of the competitors. I mean, this guy was taking it to a whole other level; a level I didn’t even know existed outside of ESPN and the NFL Network. Yeah, that serious.

But over the next few days our concerns dissipated like memories of a bad dream and I found myself at the local Buffalo Wild Wings on draft night. Bottom line: my concerns should NOT have dissipated. The selection process was completely automated; a minor detail which we guess the league commissioner thought we could figure out on our own. Well, we figured it out, alright—BY THE THIRD ROUND. Good thing the system makes what it thinks is the best available choice for you if you miss your turn.

Or maybe that’s not so good.

We were relieved at first. Our draft ended up being rated “B+” by the system, and we won our first game. Unfortunately, we were routed in our next two, performances that earned us system ratings of “D+” and “F”, respectively.

It’s probably not too early to say, “Wait ‘til next year.”

If you’re wondering what this has to do with C-stores, well, it turns out that one of the industry’s leading providers of marketing solutions is going all in on fantasy football. To us it makes perfect sense, given our industry is one of the most intrinsically American, making it an ideal match for what has become a national pastime in its own right.

The name of the vendor is KickBack Rewards Systems, and it in its second year of providing a customer loyalty/rewards card program used by participating C-stores crafted in the style of fantasy football. KickBack cardholders earn a new fantasy football player every time they use their KickBack Points card at the register up to a total of nine players. Cardholders earn Fantasy Football points based on their players’ game performance every week. At the end of the season, the cardholder with the most points wins a trip for two to the Big Bowl Game. Convenience Store Decisions has a nice write up on the program here.

This may not be the new loyalty paradigm envisioned by Mark Johnson in last week’s blog posts), but it certainly is a creative spin on rewards points.

Just between us, however, a trip to the “Big Game” pales in comparison to the championship belt the winner of the SSCS league gets to hold for a year. (If you don’t believe us, check out the picture at the top of this post).