Fantasy sports are games in which people put together imaginary teams of real players in a professional sport. The owner of a fantasy sports team takes control of all of the aspects necessary for managing a successful team, from making trades with other participants, to deciding which players should take the field or sit on the bench. Millions of men and women participate in fantasy leagues of all sports, including basketball, baseball, and soccer, though fantasy football is one of the most popular in the world.
No matter the sport, every fan thinks they can run a team better than the current management. With fantasy sports, you can test that hypothesis.
Sometime during the middle of the 1990s, the dream of every sports fan was made a reality with the creation of fantasy sports. Fans were given the chance to “draft” players drawn from the NBA, NFL, NASCAR, NHL, NCAA and even golf to their imaginary team. They could then manage their team in whatever fashion they desired. They could call up new players, drop players and set line ups.
To many, managing a fake sports team might appear ridiculous. However, fantasy sports is now a very serious business spawning its own economy. Today, sources from Fantasy Sports Trade Association indicate that in excess of 30 million Americans are taking part in a number of fantasy football leagues. Combined, it is estimated that last year, they collectively spent $11 billion.
Is Fantasy Sports Legal?
For the majority, it’s all about having fun with colleagues or friends. However, for several others, credit to a new breed of startups, it’s now turning into a full-time paying job. A big reason for that emanates from an obscure loophole that exists in the American legal system on gambling.
- In the US, sports betting is illegal except in Nevada. However, that has not in any way stopped people from engaging in it. America has a long tradition of betting money on fantasy types of games like football.
- This is why previews and news articles for huge National Football League (NFL) games as well as college football games are often quoted with terms like “point spreads.” Ideally, these are the expected difference in final points between two competing teams, the basis of Las Vegas betting.
For many decades, Americans who are living outside of where betting and gambling is legal (Nevada) have conveniently employed bookmakers who have solid links with Vegas to place their wagers. Across the United States, authorities in the majority of states have simply turned a blind eye towards the popular American cultural phenomenon.
Which Fantasy Sport Is the Most Popular?
Some of the more popular fantasy sports include fantasy baseball, basketball, and other several smaller leagues. However, fantasy football is the easiest to play and it remains by far the one with the biggest following and most participants. This sport has a big following from the football “obsessives” all the way to the “geekier” types who in reality would not imagine playing the real brutal and highly strategic game that is uniquely tied to the American way of life.
The Mechanics of Fantasy Football
Yearly, before the actual football season kicks off in September across America, groups of people come together to form their own leagues that will play this fantasy sport. These leagues are made up of invented teams, comprising of invented combinations of actual players drawn from your favorite League.
- For those who love football, it would be the National Football League. You could for example, pick Tom Brady from the New England Patriots to be your quarterback, Odell Beckham Jr. of the New York Giants to play as your team’s wide receiver, Marshawn Lynch of the Seattle Seahawks to be the running back, and so forth.
- Prior to the commencement of the season, an imaginary “fake” draft gets held whereby everybody participating selects their members of the team based on their performance over the previous season.
- Subsequently, the actual performance of real players in actual NFL games—calculated on objective statistics such as catches, passing yards, runs, and actual touchdowns—will determine how the various fantasy teams perform in a league.
- Actual money typically gets pooled at the commencement of the season. This money gets distributed to the winner at the conclusion of the season. Typically the fantasy season finishes about 7 days prior to the conclusion of the regular NFL season.
The Growth of Fantasy Football
A newer format is now promising to even wring more cash out of the ever growing fantasy games industry. Some big and expanding startup companies such as DraftKings and FanDuel are now making it possible for participants to only pay a token charge so as to enter into public leagues that last for only a single week. For this kind of arrangement, you will not need to have ongoing commitment.
- Rather than play with your friends, now participants can play and compete against persons who are typically unknown to them, but for higher stakes; a bigger money pool.
- For instance, Sunday Millions, the biggest public league from FanDuel, guarantees a payout of approximately $2.25 million each weekend. The first place receives $250,000. Other prizes of as little as $50 get allocated to the nearly 21,000 participants of Sunday Millions.
- Earlier in the year, FanDuel was able to secure $70 million from investors who included NBC Sports Ventures, KR the giant private-equity fund, and what has been termed as a major coup by reviewers: the NBA.
- FanDuel takes about 9 percent cut on each entry fee by clipping the ticket. If it doesn’t get enough people to sign up each week, it loses money. If FanDuel gets sufficient sign-ups, they make a good profit, this being essentially a scale business.
The Las Vegas/Nevada Connection
Close to a million Americans are now taking part in various week-to-week fantasy football leagues during the season peak. In fact, with such huge money up for grabs in terms of prizes, a good number of Americans are now trying to eke a living out of these fantasy leagues.
Some estimates have reported that last year Americans spent close to $160 billion on illegal sports betting which amounts to nearly 44 times what was spent in Nevada on legal gambling.
The connection and links between the standard betting methods and fantasy sports are strong. Lots of the FanDuel’s executive team members, for example, have histories working with online gambling.
Other Popular Fantasy Sports
After football, the next two most popular fantasy sports are fantasy baseball and fantasy hockey. These two fantasy popular sports in America are pretty similar. The two definitely will consume a lot moreof your time, however. This is particularly so when you are in a sports league where daily lineups need to be set. However, instead of a single weekend game to establish who wins and the loser, with fantasy hockey and basketball, you get an entire week of games.
As a fantasy manager, this is much less frustrating simply because if your team experiences a sluggish start, they have an opportunity of making it up the coming week. In both fantasy baseball and fantasy hockey, the rosters are lot deeper, plus you get many more spots you can fill on your team. As a manager, you really must know all your team members as well as the sleeper breakouts that may assist your team.
For those who are uninitiated in matters of fantasy basketball, put in its simplest form, you also draft real-life players from the NBA to form your own fantasy team. The performance of those players in your fantasy team will be dependent on how they perform in real-life games of the NBA.
In any fantasy sport, the most important thing is to have the ability to talk smack to your friends. However, that is only possible if you select the most suitable fantasy league. Your ultimate objective is assembling a team of players who will perform better in terms of several statistical categories compared to your opponents’ team. That simple!
Who Is the Ultimate Winner?
If you are the busy type who plays only casual sports, then fantasy football would be recommended for you. It runs throughout the year, only breaking during the winter period. In addition, it is most widespread across America. On the other hand, with both baseball and hockey you actually get to have a better notion of what real sports managers do in actual life managing real teams.
The next time you find your team losing and you are yelling at your PC screen, you’ve only got yourself to blame!
With the entry of one of the biggest sports leagues in America (the NBA) as well as a leading broadcaster (NBC) and both coming out to explicitly back this thriving industry, it would appear to be a very sure and safe bet to say that fantasy sports are here to stay, in some form or shape. What this could imply it that it could turn into a 2-horse duel between DraftKings and FanDuel for the control of this quickly growing short-term money market.
No matter the dynamics, the truth is that the fantasy games boom is aiding to promote interest in real football in America. This is coming at a crucial time as the sport is experiencing great pressure due to endless scandals and growing violence on the field.