the sports section

FrancesaCon Is a Real Thing, and It’s Happening in February

Mike Francesa attends the 7th annual Safe at Home gala at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers on November 13, 2009 in New York City.
Mike Francesa. Photo: Jim Spellman/Getty Images

The online community that’s formed around Mike Francesa’s radio show is a wonderful thing. There are multiple fake Francesa Twitter feeds, the brilliant Mike Zaun parody videos, and countless other people who obsess over the host’s quirks — discussing, mocking, and sometimes even commending him. Clips from his show can go viral in no time. (The most famous example is the time he appeared to fall asleep on the air.) And blogs breathlessly report the details of stories like Francesa’s involvement in the ongoing feud between Keith Olbermann and some of WFAN’s hosts. The community of Francesa watchers is so active, in fact, that a gathering was inevitable. And so: Prepare thyself for the FrancesaCon.

FrancesaCon is being organized by the site Next Impulse Sports, and one assumes it will be similar in nature to SantaCon, but with a roving army of Francesas instead of Santas. It’s set to take place on Saturday, February 1, the day before MetLife Stadium hosts Super Bowl XLVIII. Yesterday, someone even called in to Francesa — who has no use for the Internet, or the people who talk about him on it — to ask if he’d heard about FrancesaCon. You’re not going to believe this, but he hadn’t.

Obviously, this event sounds like a blast. In part, that’s because Francesa makes it easy for people to have fun at his expense, and they often do so in really creative ways. (That Francesa is a Luddite who doesn’t really understand this phenomenon only seems to add a layer of fun for everyone else involved.) But those who laugh hardest at Francesa are often his oldest fans — those who grew up with him on WFAN but also recognize his flaws. (On-air gaffes aside, he can be extraordinarily arrogant, though there’s no denying his influence in the world of New York sports media.) Many of these Francesa watchers kid because they love.

As for the event itself — which carries a disclaimer that it’s not endorsed by the WFAN host, as if there were any doubt — here’s hoping it involves not just a mob of people dressed as Francesa (collared shirt, stethoscope-style headphones, Diet Coke in hand), but other associated characters: We want to see Mad Dog Russos and John Minkos and Al Alburquerques. February 1 is a little more than ten weeks away, so you’ve got plenty of time to perfect your costume.

FrancesaCon Set for February