Fantasy sports started taking root shortly after World War II and are now played by millions of people all over the world and represent a multi-billion-dollar business that has an influence on actual live sports.
How Did It All Begin?
The first-ever fantasy baseball league was created by sportswriter Daniel Okrent in 1980 and although it fast gained popularity in the early eighties, fantasy football still hadn’t taken off until 1984 when The Fantasy Football Digest was coauthored by Tom Kane Jr and Cliff Charpentier which represented the very first document to put the rules of fantasy football on paper.
The rise of the internet in the early 90s completely revolutionized fantasy football and league scoring, which was once done by hand, was then automated. In 2008 the number of fantasy players jumped from 19 million to nearly 30 million with the arrival of the smartphone.
Today, around 56 million people play fantasy sports in North America alone with a total spend of $18 billion annually bringing in a revenue of $1.5 billion per year. Some of the best fantasy sports sites have valuations in the billions and include sports leagues such as Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, and the National Hockey League, as well as owners of several NFL and NBA teams.
How Is It Played?
Fantasy sports allows fans to pose as both the general manager and field manager of their team, choosing from real players in an online selection process. They then put together their fantasy team based on real game statistics.
Players use various apps and websites to track how their fantasy team is performing based on the actual performance of those players. Their team is pitched against other teams in either public leagues or private leagues with people they know.
Skilled players will take into account statistics, rules of the game, which players are injured, weather and many other factors when picking their players.
Statistics have found that fantasy sports players are young, educated, employed and have high household incomes. Over 70% of players are male with an average age of 32 and a college degree.
Millions of young sports aficionados across the world are now hooked on fantasy sports and the number is rising rapidly, demonstrating a consumer’s passion for the hobby and the innovation that broadens the appeal and landscape of the fantasy sports industry. Fantasy sports allow fans to participate in the greater drama of their chosen sport with tactical awareness and greater knowledge of the game.
What Are the Most Popular Fantasy Sports?
Of the 59 million people that play fantasy sports, 80% of those played fantasy football making it the most popular fantasy game. This obsession has emerged as a transformative force driving fan engagement in the football league.
Fantasy sports gives fans a personal interest in their chosen game, and it is this level of engagement that has increased viewing numbers on live sports. It has taken fans who supported a home team and given them a vested interest in every game played.
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