Fantasy sports is a simple game that started out decades ago, and slowly blossomed into a billion dollar off the books gambling industry that continues to gain popularity each year. Being a fantasy manager offers fans the unique opportunity to feel more important, make the big decisions they’ve always wanted to make and perhaps win some money in the process.
The days of you and your buddies having a league are over – now all of the girlfriends, wives and even kids want a piece of the action. Fantasy sports is changing the way fans participate in the game and some might say even creating it’s own subculture within the sports community.
Mobile devices giving easy access to players
Internet and social media has played a huge role in boosting fantasy sports’ popularity by essentially making it effortless to join, research and play fantasy games. When sites like CBS Sports began creating free online commissioner services that could keep track of your league’s stats and transactions, it suddenly became a wide open world for people to join fantasy leagues. You don’t even need to know someone who has an opening, just browse through the endless lists of public leagues on any major hosting site!
Due to mobile apps, it is now easier than ever to play whatever fantasy game you choose to become a stats-obsessed fan of. Fantasy has become such an intricate part of the sports world that it is now hard to imagine watching sports without it. The extra intrigue and chance to cheer on your drafted squad brings appeal to all types of fan; including people who normally wouldn’t bother watching a game
A New Type of Fan
Coinciding with the fantasy sports revolution, we are seeing a new, broad base of educated sports fans arise from the woodwork at a level we have never seen before. People who have never played a serious game of sports in their lives will rattle off statistics that you didn’t even know existed, and this happens all the time.
Sure, there are your casual fantasy players who pick up a magazine with rankings the morning of their league’s draft day, show up, make a few picks and hope for the best. More often than not, however, you will find league mates showing up with their own cheat sheets, stat projections and other media to help give them the edge.
Winning a fantasy league is all about stats, the understanding of matchups and the general “ins and outs of” the game itself. It obviously takes some luck to win any fantasy league regardless of the sport, but you have to have a pretty solid knowledge base to put yourself in that position to get lucky enough to win.
How Fantasy Sports Have Made Real-Life Sports More Popular
Due to fantasy games, the average sports fan now knows much more than ever before. One could say that we are living in a world of stats junkies. Even among my own circle of friends, our sports conversations evolve year by year as we learn more about the games.
Fantasy sports also gives watching the games an entirely new meaning. I’ve watched some awful matchups that would normally barely intrigue even the most hardcore of fanboys just because of the game’s stake on my fantasy team. Suddenly, this game is the decisive factor in whether or not I win my fantasy matchup. How many of you have been in the same boat?
It’s almost like being a fantasy team manager breeds an obsession for more. NFL fans need Sunday Ticket or RedZone access to follow not just their favorite team, but their entire fantasy squad. Soccer, Baseball and Basketball fans all find themselves in similar places of semi-desperation. Even NASCAR has its own fantasy league now!
Looking to the Future
Fantasy sports will continue to evolve, and perhaps become more obsessive and immersive over the next couple of years as technology keeps improving. How has fantasy sports impacted your viewing habits? Sound off in the comments below and let us know your thoughts. In the meantime, I’m off to research the Oklahoma City Thunder’s performance trends on the second night of back to backs while being on the road during March and April – you can never be too prepared, after all!