The game is a fantasy, but the money is all real. 

“Maria, can I come over and borrow some movies? Your father is going to be busy all week with fantasy football drafts.” 

It’s that time of the year. The season of crunchy leaves, pumpkin spice everything, and football. But for many people, my father included, football season means Fantasy Football season. Where regular sports enthusiasts get to put their knowledge to the test and pretend to be scout, recruiter, and coach of their very own star-studded football team. Men, women, and children across the country are swept up into the fantasy football frenzy; getting drunk on player statistics and practice drafts. Old league trophies are polished and cell phone data plans are put to the test. 

But how did fantasy football become such an intoxicating industry? Can you believe that before the world of podcasts and smartphones, people used to play fantasy football with paper and pencil? Let’s take a look at what fantasy football is, how it grew into a $20 billion industry, and how you can get a slice of that profitable pie. 

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A “brief” history of fantasy football

Before we can delve into the finer details of fantasy football and consumer spending, we first need to take a look at how fantasy football even came to be. Believe it or not, fantasy football existed well before the internet and podcasts.

What is fantasy football anyway?

For those of you who live under a rock or are just really good at tuning things out, take a quick look at fantasy football (specifically Head-to-Head) in a nutshell. Remember the sports video games where users get to compile their dream football team that they then play to try and win the game? It’s kind of like that, but minus the game console, and it lasts for approximately 17 weeks. 

First up – there is the league. Just like how the NFL is filled up with various football teams, fantasy footballers create a league and fill it up with teams. Using my family as an example, my brother is in 4 separate leagues. A family league, a work league, an old college league, and an old job’s league. Think of each of these leagues as multiple NFLs. 

Let’s take the family league – this consists of my brother, a cousin, two uncles, my grandma and an aunt sharing, and my dad. So that league has 6 teams each hosted by a player (with the exception of my grandma and aunt that are in on it together). All that’s left is for each team to be given a respectable name (mine would be the Fluffy Unicorns).

Now that we’ve got our league and our team names, the teams need to build up their fantasy rosters with real life football players. At the start of the season, leagues will host drafts where teams in the league take turns choosing football players to join their fantasy team. And by “join their fantasy team” think of it like just writing them down on a piece of paper. 

Image ℅ FanSided

Once that player has been picked up by a team, no one else can pick them because that would just be silly and impossible in this very serious fake game of football. But what can happen is throughout the season, players can choose to change their full team roster by dropping players and picking up others. So if Grandma drops a quarterback that you want, you can pick that player up if you’re fast enough. 

So the draft happens (in fact, there are multiple practice drafts, lucky drafting outfits, I wouldn’t be surprised if some have a whole draft day regimen to appease the Fantasy Football Gods. But that’s neither here nor there). After the draft, each team in the league now has their initial player roster. Players then create their game starting lineup, meaning players pick which members of their team they want to start the game with and which players to sit on the bench for that week. Once final picks have been made, the starting lineup is submitted to the league platform and picks are locked for the week. It is only until then that you find out who you are playing against for the week. Will it be father against son? Brother against brother? Will Thanksgiving ever be the same? 

It’s finally game time. But it is not just a singular game, it is actually “games” time because fantasy footballers are going to be engaged in multiple football games at once. And when I say engaged, I mean sitting in a leather chair watching other people exercise on the TV.

Since the football players that make up Dad’s Fantasy team are not on the same real life football team, fantasy footballers will watch how the players perform in each of their respective teams games. For example, a fantasy lineup could have its quarterback in a game with the Washington Commanders, a running back with the Dallas Cowboys, and offensive lineman on the Greenbay Packers. 

The way fantasy footballers score points is how each of their fantasy players perform in their own games, based on a specific scoring system. If you want the full rules and scoring details, you can find that online, but the basic idea is a quarterback will get a certain number of points for however many yards they throw in an entire football game. Same with the running back, only running (and scoring), and so it goes with other players. 

When the week’s worth of games are done, the points are tallied for each team in the league, and everyone finds out who won in their respective match ups (assuming this is a head-to-head league). A leaderboard is updated with who has the most wins, and it starts all over again. New player lineup (not a new draft, just creating a new line up) and new match against a fellow league player. This continues on for approximately 17 weeks (with a few bye weeks in there), and then the players with the most wins advance to the playoffs.  

So what about those mid-season roster changes that were previously mentioned? Players are able to make adjustments to their entire team with midweek roster changes through trades or pickups and drops. For instance, if a football player gets injured in a game and will most likely be out a few weeks, whichever fantasy footballer has that player on their roster is going to want to move them out of the lineup because that player obviously isn’t going to be able to score any fantasy points.

It is considerations like these that makes a fantasy footballer want to have good quality tools at their fingertips. The second a football player is announced at being out a few games, fantasy footballers are going to be dropping that player and wanting to pick up “free agents” or other football players to fill the new gap in the roster. 

As previously mentioned, after each game fantasy footballers will have accrued various wins and losses that impacts their ranking on the leaderboard. By the end of the season, the teams at the top of the leaderboard will advance to the playoffs. Whoever wins the playoffs will then become the proud owner of a trophy, money, or the all important bragging rights. 

Still a little confused on how the game actually works? You can check out this great article by ESPN who created a 5-step fantasy football guide for beginners.  

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When was fantasy football invented?

My brother and Dad have been playing fantasy football since 2013. Wow, almost 10 years. What’s insane to think is that the actual game has been around since the early 1960s! A part-owner of the Oakland Raiders wanted more than just to partially own a team, he wanted to pretend that he was a coach too. Wilfred “Bill” Winkenbach created the “Greater Oakland Professional Pigskin Prognosticators” league with the base rules of what we know today. As Chris Towers of CBS Fantasy puts it: 

Of course, scoring in that early league was quite a bit different. First off, they drafted two quarterbacks, four halfbacks, two fullbacks, four wide receivers or tight ends, plus two return men, two kickers (two kickers!), two defensive backs or linebackers, and two defensive ends — you started one QB, one fullback, two halfbacks, and two TE/WR. You were rewarded 25 points for all offensive touchdowns, 25 for a field goal, 10 for an extra point, and 200 for special teams or defensive touchdowns — which feels like a bit too much value for kickers, if you ask me.

Image ℅ NaplesNews.com

Another big difference between fantasy football in the 60s and now was drafting and putting together a lineup. It was done through…wait for it…snail mail. Womp womp. The league commissioner (we have those now too, it is someone who takes the lead on the league, keeps track of the rules, organizes the draft) would have to track down the statistics from all the games in the newspaper and mail those out to all the players in the league! 

By 1980, a group of students in Ohio founded what is considered the oldest fantasy football league that is still in operation: the Indoor Football League. Personally, I think they could have come up with a snappier league name, but I guess it does the job. 

You can read more about the original fantasy football leagues in this rather extensive Wiki article

How fantasy football has evolved over time

Anything that has started in the 1960s and is still popular today obviously means it has grown. But to simply say that fantasy football has grown in popularity is a gross understatement. It is difficult to find a precise market value of fantasy football, but it is safe to say that as of this writing, the fantasy football industry is worth at least $20 billion USD, with some projecting growth as high as $40B between 2022 and 2027. 

Infographic from Medium.com and FCFL.io showing the evolution of Fantasy Football from 1961 – 2018

What is incredible to me is seeing how much the game has exploded within the last 10 years. A quick fantasy football history Google search will yield thousand of articles each with their own timelines and infographics. The above timeline shows the evolution from 1961 to 2018. Another great infographic that specifically looks at the market research side of fantasy football is from the online periodical Sports Management Degree Hub.

There is an entire blog in the form of an infographic that maps out all the demographics and market research of fantasy football from 1988 to 2015. Normally I would not reference data that is so old, considering the most recent information from Sports Management Degree Hub is still nearly a decade old. But what is incredible is that the highest amount, the big deal dollar amount for the industry in 2015 was $56.8 million dollars. We are now in the latter portion of 2022 and the industry is sitting easily at $22 billion dollars, yes with a B, and projections are still going up up and up again. 

I don’t think the minority owner of the Oakland Raiders had any idea what he was getting started when he created the Greater Oakland Professional Pigskin Prognosticators. 

If fantasy football is free, how does it make money? 

Ok, so now we know how fantasy football came to be, now let’s look at the spending opportunities for consumers. I am sure I am leaving out other categories, but these are the top ones to consider. And when I say consider, I mean I’m going to use these categories to illustrate how you as a small business owner can get a slice of that sweet sweet pie. After all, don’t we all want to make it rain? 

League Platforms 

A fantasy football league has to have a place to live. In the old days it was pen and paper, but now it is all online. But where online? Exactly. There are so many platforms that people can choose to utilize when they are setting up their leagues. Yahoo, CBS, ESPN, NFL, FanDuel, Sleeper, Flea Flicker, the list can really go on and on. It does appear that Yahoo and ESPN are the top two platforms for a mix of easy interface and quality content. Other things to consider when picking a platform is the number of teams in your league, if you need streaming in app, and how open you are to add-on purchases. 

Small Business Owner: you are less likely to be able to break into league platforms for monetary gain, but if your company specializes in complex web builds, web to app configurations, or tech support, for example, then you might be able to get your toe in the door to a very lucrative position.

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League Fees

An obvious money maker in fantasy football are the league fees. Now these league fees are not necessarily going directly to CBS or ESPN or even the NFL. My brother’s old college league is a money league where players have to have a buy-in if they want to play. And when the end of the season comes, that money is divided up into 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places. So while that money doesn’t go to the industry itself, it is money going into the economy. Some people are in leagues where 1st place takes home a couple thousand dollars. Well, that’s a trip to the beach funded by a fake game. 

There are then other league games (Daily Fantasy) hosted by big names like CBS, ESPN, and the like where a portion of the fees go to “platforms” as previously mentioned, or other small print details. 

Small Business Owner: When considering league fees, think beyond just the fees themselves. Most smaller leagues have players electronically send their fee to the commissioner of the league to hold until the end of the season and the payouts are awarded. For a small business owner, you have a few options here. Mainly, focusing on how you can make the commissioner’s job easier. You can offer a techy 3rd party platform to collect payments, send automated reminders to players to submit fees, and even include a page with all the league rules. You can also offer all of the same information but in inexpensive downloadable templates. Whatever will make organizing league fees & rules easier for the commissioner is your way to making a profit. 

Printed Media: Books, Magazines, Newspapers

In this digital age of constantly changing information, printed media can become out of date quickly. But back when the game first was around, it was the only way people could get large sets of football data! People would call into radio stations to get stats updates. In ‘87, the first national magazine to be dedicated to fantasy football was published under the snappy name Fantasy Football Index (which is still in circulation today). 

Image ℅ FantasyIndex.com 

By 1990, newspapers got involved by hosting their own fantasy football competitions, periodicals including Arizona Republic, the Detroit Free Press, the Los Angeles Times, and the Miami Herald. How did people sign up? With the good old fashioned corded telephone. 

Let’s flip back to today’s era. There are books out there, such as Matthew Berry’s 2014 Fantasy Life: The Outrageous, Uplifting, and Heartbreaking World of Fantasy Sports from the Guy Who’s Lived It, player profiles such as the 2022 Fantasy Football Almanac, strategy helpers such as Fantasy Football Winning Strategies: Improve Your Game Against Friends, Family, and Co-Workers, or the classic Fantasy Football for Dummies. 

Magazines will run the gamut from entire issues being dedicated to fantasy football, to regular sports magazines that run special editions or segments on the fantasy game. As for newspapers, I now consider sports columns to be synonymous with fantasy football when it is the appropriate season. Columnists now have a whole new way to engage in the sport with their readers by giving them real context to the stats or player injury reports. No longer are they reporting on a player’s broken leg, now they are reporting that the player will be out for the season so fantasy footballers need to make changes to their rosters. 

Podcasts 

Podcasts. I swear they exist strictly for True Crime enthusiasts and fantasy footballers. There are highly produced podcasts with a group of big name talents as the hosts who are all discussing the ins and outs of fantasy football. And they are serious about it! They definitely do cut up the entire show, but when it comes to stats and making roster changes it is all down to business. What I find especially incredible is how these shows are even able to exist since they are free to listeners. So how are podcasts a top fantasy football industry money making machine, when they are free to the consumer? 

Advertising

The podcasts are either outright sponsored, have sponsored episodes, or sell ad space where the hosts will read a script regarding a product or service. My dad has gotten super into podcasts, and it was all because of fantasy football. Well color me surprised when he started talking about relevant products and services that are out on the marketplace. Like, how did you know about Omaha Steaks, Dad? Or the day he said he knew about my home security system and said “I heard it’s really great. My guys love it.” And you guessed it, his “guys” are the podcast hosts. So advertising/sponsoring on podcasts is a symbiotic relationship because the podcast gets money from outside businesses so they can be advertised, and the outside businesses make money from sales generated by the podcast’s huge audience. 

Sell cheat sheets

Picture it: Middle School, 1999. Your teacher says that you can make your own index card cheat sheet for the upcoming test, OR you can buy one from her directly. What would you do? 

That’s my Sophia Petrillo attempt at making a point. Fantasy footballers are more than capable of compiling data on their own and creating little cheat sheets on players for draft day. OR fantasy footballers can buy ready made cheat sheets from “the pros”, i.e. the guys who get paid to talk about fantasy football all the time. 

Some people jump on the chance to buy these cheat sheets, many of which are relatively inexpensive, whereas others choose to spend their money elsewhere.

Podcast Merchandise & Trophies

My personal favorite piece about fantasy football are the trophies. Probably because it involves shopping and/or crafting, but regardless it is my favorite part. Some leagues are intense and have real honest to God trophies. Others…well they walk more on the comedy side of life. My brother’s trophy in his allergy clinic league was an inhaler spray painted gold and attached to an intricate (and ugly) candle stick. Much to my sister-in-law’s chagrin, he wanted the trophy to sit on the mantel in a place of honor. 

Behold: The Golden Inhaler

For those who are not as crafty, players can also purchase ready made trophies from a variety of retailers. One group of retailers being fantasy football podcasts. While I might roll my eyes at this notion, I also can’t blame them. If I were playing a game that my favorite Instagrammer was into, and she had a line of trophies I could buy – I probably would! 

And then of course there are other general ways that podcasts make money other than what has already been mentioned here. Perhaps that will be its own blog post one day. 

Small Business Owner: In all honesty, breaking into any part of fantasy football media is going to be tough. Not difficult in terms of being able to write out all of your knowledge of the game, or set up a podcast. Those are relatively easy. But what will be difficult is to turn a profit in a market that is already so saturated with highly produced products. Getting the attention needed to make the cost of goods worthwhile is going to be one tough cookie to crumble. Instead what you can do is look at this portion of fantasy football profitability and consider the question “how can I make this easier for consumers”. If there are all the books, magazines, newspaper articles, podcasts, sell sheets – you name it – out there, then why not make it easier to find. Create listicles of the best blog posts, or the top podcasts. Split the topics into sub-genres, such as blog posts for the new player or a how-to page for commissioners. 

Another option is rather than recreate the wheel, be a part of the wheel. Reach out to companies in the middle that could benefit from your skill set, and pitch yourself. The top creators in the industry won’t need any help. The bottom of the barrel isn’t going to be seen. But those groups in the middle, the ones who still make the first google page, or possibly the 2nd – those are the groups you want to pitch to. They have enough income to pay someone for help, and enough readers to make it worth it.

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Smartphone Applications

Smartphone apps are another great way for fantasy footballers to have all the information their heart desires at the touch of their fingertips. Apps don’t just have to be for drafting or the league platform. In fact, I learned that my dad and brother each have different sets of apps that they use as reference materials throughout the week. One app is best for breaking news (player injury reports) and another is best for scores. While a lot of these apps are free, we all know that the “free” comes with strings. 

If the app is truly free, then there are going to be ads. And the ads make money the same way they make money on Podcasts – it is a symbiotic relationship. I will say, the ROI on app ads is going to be less than on a podcast, but also consider that podcast ads are often for more expensive items than app ads. 

Another way that free apps come with strings is that the base app might be free, but the really good content requires an in-app purchase or subscription. For some people, the base app perfectly suits their needs. But others don’t mind paying a nominal amount per month for an extended suite of information. 

Small Business: Apps are of course going to be the best for businesses who focus on app development. So if you are an app developer, the same advice goes as in the previous section. Look for fantasy football platforms or blogs who have solid reviews and web traffic, but aren’t so big that they are pumping in millions of dollars a year. The middle of the road creators are the ones who will be looking for a new way to break into the big leagues and an app can do just that. Make their league platform an app. Turn the blog into a resource center app. Build in mock drafts, practice games, perhaps even toss in for-fun games. Add a kid-friendly version so the parents can start teaching their kids early on about how fantasy football works.

Another way small business owners can get a slice of the fantasy football pie is to manage the ad spots on existing fantasy football apps. This will be more for marketing companies such as Pangea Marketing Agency. Creating and managing ad spots can be a headache for someone who doesn’t specialize in advertising. And keep in mind – these ads are not for the fantasy football app itself, but rather an advertisement for a product or service that might pique the interest of a user of the app. An example of this could be advertising a package of templates players will find helpful to their game. Or a merchandise website that has swag and trophies (for more on this, see merchandise).

Television

Yes, we have finally made it to television. The biggest thing that fantasy football has done is give sportscasters a new way to engage with their audience, in the same way that columnists now can. Fantasy football has shaken things up in a real way. ESPN hosts are talking about their own fantasy football teams. It’s like being in a worldwide book club with your favorite celebrities, where you all get to fan over the plot twists and character entanglements. 

Beyond having a more enhanced way of interacting with audience members, fantasy football has also stopped people from “cutting the cord”. Think about it. How many people do you know who still have cable? Now that you have that small number of people in mind – how many of them have it for sports? And then how many of those sports are just football? I realize I’m making a massive leap by saying people who still have cable have it just for fantasy football.

But what I can say is that the cable package add-on of RedZone exists purely for fantasy football. As in, RedZone only covers football games. Imagine having an entire channel purely dedicated to a single sport that isn’t even year round. It is mind boggling. At least the other sports channels bop around to other sports throughout the year.

But no, RedZone provides viewers the ability to watch multiple football games all at once. When a game gets boring it moves to another game, so it is non-stop football engagement. Fun Fact: My brother had to get rid of his RedZone subscription because he would spend 8 straight hours watching football rather than helping his wife with their kids. 

Image ℅ My.Dish.com

 Another impact fantasy football has made on television and network channels is the NFL Channel and other sports TV packages. Consider a lot of the streaming services. When they are relatively inexpensive, say $8-10 a month, they have a lot to offer. But what do they not offer? Live sporting events. Hulu doesn’t have sports, but Hulu Live does.

What’s the price difference between ad-free Hulu and Hulu with live sports? Well if you go with live sports but with ads it is a difference of $57 every single month. Want to skip the ads? That’s going to be $63 a month difference. I don’t even pay that difference a month in regular streaming subscriptions. 

Small Business Owner: Unfortunately, television is another segment of the fantasy football industry that a small business owner is pretty much unable to access (with the possible exception of some ad agencies, particularly in local markets). But what is important to consider and remember in this section is how much people will spend their hard-earned money to gain premium access to improve their entertainment. And that is an important lesson for any industry.

Consider what the takeaway from your product or service is, and map out all the ways a consumer can gain access to it. If it is entertainment – to what monetary level is a consumer willing to spend? How much quantitatively do they value their concept of fun? If your product or service is related to organization, then consider what value a consumer will place on their own peace of mind. So when it comes to fantasy football, you might not be able to start the next RedZone, but you can learn how RedZone came to fill an elevated entertainment need and made a heck of a profit doing so.

Merchandise 

And we are back to merchandise – my favorite. This is easily the most obvious money maker in the fantasy football industry. If you can make it they will come. Quick – think of the tackiest souvenir shop you have ever laid eyes on. Got it in your mind? Ok now make everything in there be fantasy football themed. Yes, it is in fact possible and yes, people will buy it. 

I decided to do a little research and think of the most random items one can purchase and still have it be fantasy football themed. Here is what I came up with: 

Small Business Owners: As you can see, we have finally reached the category in which so many small business owners can participate. Merch! Think swag, knick knacks, gag gifts, league trophies, clothing, and all things pets. You can take custom orders or offer huge variety through drop shipping. Are you more crafty but less salesy? Be the other side of dropshipping and actually create the products! 

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The (Wo)Man, The Myth, The Fantasy Footballer

Why are people going nutty for fantasy football? In case you haven’t gathered, I’m not a football fan. Why I decided to write this article is truly a mystery, but hey I’m here and I’ve committed. But that does make me really sit and consider why grown adults across the world (mainly US, but fantasy games are international) absolutely lose their minds when football season starts. But then I looked down and saw my sticker of Hermione holding a stack of books. Which made me think of Harry Potter World at Universal. And the massive stacks of dough I readily threw down so that I could walk into the wizarding world that JK Rowling created. And that’s when it hit me: Getting to walk along Diagon Alley or take the Hogwarts Express is to me as getting to create a dream team of football players is to them. This is their time where they can engage with a favorite pastime in a whole new way, with each week bringing new and unpredictable challenges. So when I think of it that way, it’s pretty cool for them. 

Up to this point we have established the why, now let’s look at the how in terms of purchasing decisions and fantasy football. Players can choose to spend as much or as little as they want in this game, because it’s the game where everything’s made up and the points don’t matter. Oh wait, that’s Whose Line Is It Anyways…I digress.

Players can certainly purchase products and services for themselves, but to me the real money maker here are the gifting opportunities. My dad is impossible to shop for. He’s 62, retired, and his main hobby is staying at home and watching sports. How on earth am I supposed to continue coming up with amazing and unique gifts for him at least 3 times a year? That’s when I’m actually glad that fantasy football exists. It’s like the dad version of Target – whatever you buy is sure to be a winner. 

I asked two fantasy football fans in my family about their relationship with fantasy football – and learned a lot in the process

Aside from buying gifts for our fantasy footballers, I did want to revisit what they would buy for themselves. I wanted to see how fantasy football impacts their own purchasing decisions, and how those choices are received by others. Naturally, I conducted a very professional interview with my brother – age 35, and my dad – age 62.

For some demographic background, my brother is married of 10 years, has 2 small kids, and is established in his career. My dad is married of 38 years, has 2 grown kids (ahem, hi), and is retired. It is all of our hopes that the below information will help give you a better understanding of how some people view fantasy football, and perhaps give you some ideas on how you can break into the fantasy football Industry. 

How many leagues are you in?

Brother: 4

Dad: 2, but used to be 3

How many people are in each league? 

Brother: Work (16), Family (6), School (12), Old Work (10)

Dad: Family (6), Son’s School (12)

How many of your leagues have trophies? Does it get passed person to person or does the winner get to keep theirs? 

Brother: Only 1 has a trophy, and it is passed from winner to winner. The others are bragging rights and/or money. 

Dad: 1 is bragging rights, the other is money

What are your top 3 must have physical items for fantasy football

Brother: Drafting uniform (multiple jerseys should outfit changes be required to improve luck, plus a hat), Beer, Computer

Dad: Cheat Sheets for each draft, research I’ve gathered, computer

What are your top 3 must have technology items for fantasy football

Brother: Computer, fantasy football app, 3 specific websites for research

Dad: Devices (iPad, Computer, AND phone), Apps, Mock Drafts

Have you made any purchases for fantasy football that your wife or other family members could not understand? 

Brother: Buy-ins for fantasy leagues in general ($250)

Dad: Stepping up the cable package to include RedZone & NFL Channel

Is there a specific product you would like to purchase that relates to fantasy football? 

Brother: Big awesome trophies that are specific to each league style/vibe. That and/or host a live draft where everyone flies in and we use a big drafting board and make a whole event out of it. 

Dad: Not in particular. All I want is for the entire family to join the family fantasy league for the 17 weeks of family entertainment (sorry Dad, not happening). 

Specific items needed for commissioner? 

Brother: No specific items are needed, but a commissioner gathers any league fees, recruits teams to join the league, sets the league up in the platform, and is a resource to players. 

Dad: Needs a certain level of information to run the league and answer questions. If there is a live draft, then a large board. 

Products that you own 

Brother: 1 fantasy football t-shirt and 1 tumbler. I would absolutely buy myself t-shirts. 

Dad: RedZone & NFL Channel, Paid subscription for the Ultimate Draft-kit Cheat Sheet, Play daily fantasy games through DraftKings (puts in $250 at the start and I play off that sum for 16 weeks of fun). For me it is more about the value of the entertainment rather than the physical item. I have received gifts from my family that are fantasy football themed. 

How much does fantasy football impact your decisions in terms of internet speed or television packages? 

Brother: Not anymore. I used to have RedZone but had to discontinue the service as I would accidentally watch football for 7-8 straight hours (and my wife wasn’t too pleased). 

Dad: Does not impact my internet speed (unless its drafting day), but it did impact what cable package we signed up for so that I can have access to RedZone and the NFL Channel. The lower priced packages had everything but these two channels. 

How do you participate throughout the season? Watch the games, scores, etc.? 

Brother: I keep my computer open with the league platform website, and other stat and score websites so I can follow along in real time. That and I will have a game on the TV. I end up watching my computer more than the TV since the games on TV are often delayed. 

Dad: Watch as many of the games as possible – I prefer to get my information in seeing how the players perform rather than strictly read about it or look at scores. I watch through RedZone or I record the games and watch them later. I also stalk the apps and news articles throughout the week to see what player changes there might be for line up and roster changes. 

How much does fantasy football impact your calendar of social events?

Brother: It does not but only because I do not let it. I will still go to social events, participate in meals, etc. But that doesn’t mean that I won’t still get push notifications for lineup changes that I can make remotely. 

Dad: It does not but only because I do not let it. My preference would be to sit and watch football and sports all the time in general because I just like sports, but I do step away to spend time with friends and family. My phone is key to being able to make fantasy football changes and still interact socially with others. 

Fantasy football is more than just a money-maker

So there you have it! More than you could have possibly ever wanted to know about the economics of fantasy football. I know I’ve learned way more than I ever thought possible, and actually have a higher respect for the game. A lot goes into it, as I actually only touched the tip of the iceberg. There are two other different types of leagues (Total Point League and All Play League), as well as an entire gambling section to fantasy football where mathematicians and statisticians are able to make as much as $5 million a match.

What I enjoyed seeing come out in my research is how much of the game is actually social. For a game to be so entrenched in watching TV and staring at a computer screen, it is a remarkably social game. In my family league alone I can see family members engaging with one another on a much more regular basis. My brother is staying in touch with old friends from college, despite going on to get busy careers and raise children. Even my mom is learning the fantasy football lingo and showing an interest in my dad’s new hobby. 

Fantasy Football: bringing families together since 1963 (and making truck loads of money doing it).

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