The Business of Fantasy Football

It might be called fantasy football, but the industry’s profit is very real.

 

Over the last decade, public perception of fantasy football leagues has shifted dramatically – and more people are playing now than ever before. Once a fringe hobby for diehard football fans, fantasy teams are now common occurrences among offices, friend groups and families. The industry’s audience expands every year as parents involve their children and employers see it as a teambuilding opportunity.

 

Although fantasy football is widely accepted now, it hasn’t always been that way. Dissenters thought the hobby was for nerds, and lawmakers up to Congress debated whether it should even be considered legal based on its gambling nature.

 

Threatened by the rising popularity of 3rd party fantasy football leagues, the NFL tried to push back. It wasn’t until 2010 that the NFL released its own version of the game, eclipsing previous leaders Yahoo and Fleaflicker. Once the NFL decided to embrace fantasy football, it exploded in popular culture. Analysts suggest it has even impacted scoring within actual games. So as not to disappoint the massive fantasy following, the NFL has tweaked defensive rules to rack up points on team scoreboards.

 

As fantasy continues to gain momentum in football culture, everyone is trying to get in on the deal. DirecTV is launching a fantasy football channel, a venture bolstered by an advertising campaign featuring none other than NFL poster children Peyton and Eli Manning.

 

That the league’s leading quarterback would star in a commercial about fantasy proves the industry is not what it used to be. All told, the business has raked in profits upward of $1 billion through cable deals, endorsements, buy-in fees, draft guides and advertisements.

 

The industry has been on a steady incline since its inception, and there’s no reason to believe that will stop.

 

“Our recent survey says we gained another 2 million players from last year,” said Paul Charchian, Fantasy Sports Trade Association President, in a FOX Business article.  “The numbers keep growing and it’s a pace we’ve been keeping up for years.”

 

If you’re passionate about sports and looking for a way to get your foot in the door, fantasy football is opening up myriad new opportunities for jobs in sports. Sports journalists are covering it, sports marketers are promoting it and television broadcasters are always talking about it.

 

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