The State & Growth of Fantasy Sports
Fantasy Football has become a standard in American culture. Thanks to easy drafting tools and apps, the growth of fantasy sports over the years has made the pass-time game easy for all types of fans. For some, fantasy football actually got them into football, for others, it’s brought them closer to family, friends, and co-workers as a fun bounding activity.
The number of Americans participating in fantasy sports increased gradually between 2015 and 2022. There were 50.4 million fantasy sports participants in the USA as of 2022. As people become more accustomed to the game, more variations of fantasy sports have branched off. Sports betting and DFS have gained popularity from this, along with those who play online poker games. When examining the ages of these American fantasy sports players, it was found that the largest majority of players (71 percent) were between the ages of 18 and 39. Meanwhile, data about the distribution of gender among fantasy sports players in the US showed that most of these players were male.
Demographics (from our 2023 survey)
- 64% male, 35% female
- 48% are between the ages of 18 -34
- 84% have a college degree or higher
- 65% make more than $50,000
- 60% male, 39% female
- 38% are between the ages of 18-34
- 79% have a college degree or higher
- 63% make more than $50,000
The funniest statistic may be that it is estimated that workplace productivity is reduced by 6.9% during the fantasy football season lol. That’s due to the water cooler trade talk along with recaps of the previous week’s performance. While companies may not appreciate the decrease in productivity, fantasy sports are a great way to get through those depressing winter months and can be good for team morale in the workplace.
Fantasy sports growth has also seen a surge from the variety of hosting providers. For years, there were only a few places to host your league. 22% of the total time spent on ESPN’s website in 2019 was on their fantasy football content. Since then, we have seen newcomer Sleeper appear as a popular choice. Sleeper’s new push comes as sports fandom increasingly orients around fantasy and other prediction contests. However, their constant love of re-designing UI has become annoying throughout the community.
There is also Underdog Fantasy, which has emerged as a serious player in the Daily Sports realm. Although the firm has various licenses and intends to start in 2024 with even more cutting-edge options, Underdog does not currently provide sports betting. But the main thing posing a danger to FanDuel and DraftKings right now is Underdog’s well-liked pick ’em-style fantasy game, which is a lot like player prop betting. According to Underdog’s website, those games are accessible in 31 states as well as Washington, D.C., but last week they were outlawed in New York due to ongoing discussions about whether or not they qualify as fantasy or gambling.
Underdog Fantasy is also the primary offseason staple for where to join in a best ball draft. In the fantasy football system known as “best ball,” each team’s optimal lineup is chosen at random. The players with the highest weekly score are automatically added to the starting lineup. This creates a fun draft-and-forget style fantasy game that allows fans to practice their drafting in the offseason for a small wager. At the end of the year, they have a chance to win a prize if their team performs well.
The Continued Growth
The average daily fantasy sports player spends $318 annually. This is a significant hobby spend, and is a major reason why new apps and sites are always trying to get into the game. Mobile apps have been downloaded an estimated 19.6 million times, 93% of those for fantasy football apps. That’s a crazy large number, and a huge indicator of how people like to view their team, join a league, or get stats and info.
Personally, it’s all about the app for me. If you’re trying to get into this industry and your app isn’t user-friendly, you might as well quit. I credit a lot of what makes Underdog Fantasy a success is their app.
What I’d Love to See
I have a million-dollar idea if anyone wants it. The Fantasy sports industry has so many types of games, but what it’s missing is a stock market-type game. The game would consist of buying fantasy stock prices of a player. As their career develops, they earn points in-game, but their stock cost would also grow. Bragging rights would revolve around investing “fantasy dollars” into a player at a young age and selling at a high price point.
I haven’t worked out all the aspects of this idea, but if Fantasy could somehow involve a stock market-type format, I think you’d have a brand new game that would attract a ton of the Keeper League/Dynasty League owners.
James is a diehard fantasy football fan who has been playing for over 20 years. He doesn’t have a favorite team, mainly from moving around a lot when he was a kid. This has to lead to many fantasy championships as James drafts with his head, not with his heart. James also plays heavily in Dynasty Football and loves DFS and Picking games. He’s excited to see where he can go writing for Gridiron Experts