The growth of fantasy sports

How fantasy sports are sweeping the nation

Photo+courtesy+of+Rishi+Datla
Photo courtesy of Rishi Datla

Photo courtesy of Rishi Datla

Photo courtesy of Rishi Datla

Rishi Datla, Author

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Fantasy sports are taking over the nation. According to businessinsider.com, there will be an estimated 56.8 million who will be playing fantasy sports this year in the US and Canada alone. These numbers are on an upward trend; this year there is a 36% increase of people playing fantasy sports as opposed to last year. With this staggering growth one may question what makes it so appealing.

First, a user creates a league where they can invite friends. That league then holds a draft where users in the league can draft players to fill their line-up. Depending on your player’s game to game statistics, each player is awarded a certain amount of points each and the the team that collectively has more points wins the matchup.

For many people the appeal of fantasy sports comes from the betting aspect of it. Some leagues have pots for overall winners of the season, while others are game-to-game bets. But many people, usually users who are under the age of 18,  play in free leagues where there is no money on the line, just a friendly competition.

Most agree that fantasy sports elevate the overall experience of watching an otherwise regular game of football, basketball, baseball, etc. While this may be the case, others also think that fantasy sports takes “the human” out of players and people start to see them more as assets than they do human beings.

When talking about the Colt’s running back Chris Carson’s injury, and people’s “lack of compassion,” Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman says, “This is really devastating. I think a lot of people, a lot of fans out there have looked at players less like people because of fantasy football and things like that. You go and say ‘Oh, man this guy got hurt,'” Sherman said. “But you aren’t thinking ‘Hey man, this guy got hurt, he’s really physically hurt and he is going to take some time to recover and it’s probably going to affect his mental state and now he has a long rigorous rehab.’ You are thinking, ‘Oh man, he’s messing up my fantasy team.” These thoughts are shared by many of the athletes playing in such professional sports leagues.

In contrast, veteran Cardinals’ receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who has never played fantasy football but sees its benefits for the NFL, says, “It’s great to see people playing and bringing fringe fans to the game.” It is true, however, that the professional sports leagues like NFL and NBA are benefitting from fantasy sports, with it drawing in many more fans to their games.

There is a common misconception that only men play fantasy sports; although they may be the majority, this is not true. According to fsta.org 34% of all users that play fantasy sports are female. Battlefield sophomore and fantasy football player, Kailey Garrett, says, “I like how unpredictable and exciting fantasy football is.” While talking about how she got into it she says, “I heard some of my guy friends talking about it and it seemed fun.”  With the demographics for fantasy sports also expanding, its growth doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon.

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