Fantasy Sports – Is This the Real Life?
One of my favorite hobbies is fantasy sports. If I were a little older, I’d probably be working with ESPN, Yahoo, Draft Kings or Fan Duel to pioneer their fantasy sports lines. However, I was born about 10-15 years too late, thanks Mom and Dad.
I believe I like it so much because I become invested in the success of varying teams or athletes that I wouldn’t otherwise be. Furthermore, I can compete with my friends, coworkers, and family; as a former athlete, I love and seek out competition. Additionally, it’s gambling without the social label of gambling (although I think that perception is changing). There are others that empathize with me and the rising level of fantasy sports proves that.
There’s even a “Fantasy Sports Trade Association” (FTSA). I didn’t know that until google searching it 5 minutes ago.
The FTSA has posted on their website industry demographics and I’d love to share a few facts with you from their site:
- Average age: 38.6
- College degree: 66%
- Full-Time employment: 67%
- Household income over $75,000: 51%
- Players that “pay to play”: 70%
Here are the most shocking stats that I want to convey separately, for more emphasis:
- The average amount spent per year, per player over the age of 18 is $556.
- From 1995 to 2005, the estimated number of players has grown from 3 million to 12.6 million (400% increase).
- From 2006 to 2016, the estimated number of players has grown from 12.6 million to 56.8 million (450%).
- 8 million people multiplied by $556 per player makes this about a $31.5 billion industry, annually.
I know what some of you are thinking: “why in the world would someone drop $550 on fantasy sports?”. Usually the response is “But honey, I can win $5000!” (demographics show 66% male, 34% female, by the way). It’s clear, given these statistics, that this is a hobby of middle aged men with discretionary income to do so.
I know that I spend about $80 each year between two football leagues, basketball brackets and the fantasy golf I organize. I have yet to win in 8 years playing. Maybe I should stop. Maybe I should get better.
I think I’ve done a pretty good job of explaining the industry and probably the negative aspects. Therefore, what are the benefits of fantasy sports?
For me, I think the best example of a benefit is that there’s a sense of comradery between those who are in my league. Every week you have a common topic to discuss, talk trash, and join together for. One league I am in has people stationed all around the United States so this is an excellent way for us to keep in touch.
Most others would cite the love of the game, potential monetary gain, the chance to compete again or maybe they like living vicariously through their players. I know that all these reasons might be true but none of them really hold a candle to my first point.
At this point, I’d love to tell you about a fantasy golf game I’m going to create for the FedEx Cup Playoffs coming up. If you’re interested, let me know and I’ll get you on the email list. There’s my shameless plug.
Who knows where the industry will go in the next ten years. It’s hard to imagine it getting much bigger but 20 years ago, the guys who were drafting baseball players off large cardboard posters at the local pub beg to differ. The advent of high speed internet has revolutionized the capabilities in fantasy sport. Maybe there will be a breakthrough in the next 5 years that will once more push the boundaries of fantasy sports. Maybe not.
I’ll be here, still playing, probably still losing money, but I’ll let you know.