How Fantasy Football Has Totally Changed the Way Fans Watch the Game
Thanks to advances in technology, football fans are no longer limited to watching NFL games in person, on over-the-air channels and radio, or waiting for tomorrow’s newspaper to get the latest information on team and individual performances. The Sports Techie blog is thrilled about the role sports tech has played in developing the fantasy sports industry into an augmentation of a fans’ daily lifestyle.
Cable and satellite TV have made it possible to watch nearly any game. With just an internet connection and an inexpensive mobile smartphone, fans can now get game stats and analytics in real time from just about anywhere. It’s created an environment where the fantasy football and NFL broadcasts feed off each other, and it has dramatically changed how many fans watch the game.
Changes in Television
It is easy to take for granted all the modern conveniences that go into running a fantasy football league (FFL) in 2015. All you need is laptop or mobile device, access to broadband or Wi-Fi service, and a way to watch the games at home, or in a sports bar.
ESPN, CBS Sports and Yahoo websites make it easy to draft, manage rosters, define league rules, and track scoring. You can get real-time scoring through these sites or a mobile app, and most people can watch any game with a subscription to a satellite television service. To find more details, click here for TV in your area.
Many years ago, watching NFL games from home was a limiting fan experience. You were often limited to seeing either regional coverage, or a nationally covered game determined by networks or a Monday Night Football matchup. Watching any other teams was only possible through abbreviated halftime highlights.
This environment would not have lent itself to running FFLs, which, believe it or not, are believed to have originated in the early 1960s with a league formed in 1962 in Oakland, California.
Back then, a secretary would track the scores, ensure that rosters were valid, and collect league fees. It was a manual, labor-intensive process that was highly prone to error. The league’s founder had access to office equipment including typewriters and mimeograph machines for keeping owners up to date on the status of their teams.
Fantasy Football is Big Business
According to Forbes, as of 2013, approximately $11 billion was spent by FFL owners to form leagues. This is more than the $10 billion in revenue the NFL earned, making the FFL market larger than the original market it’s based on.
For all fantasy sports, it is estimated that $15 billion is spent by team owners. Once advertising and ‘intangible costs’ are added, the industry could be anywhere from $40 to $70 billion in size for all sports. Since 11 out of every 15 dollars spent by team owners is spent on fantasy football, applying this 11/15 ratio would make the football portion of the industry about $29 to $51 billion.
Big Winnings Potential
Owners can win a lot of money playing fantasy football. The Fantasy Football Players Championship Main Event is a full-season league that pays $300,000 to the winner. According to the Edmonton Journal, Jared Beisel, a 25-year-old man from the area won $1 million the first week of the 2015 season on DraftKings.
The enthusiasm for fantasy football has changed the way that fans watch the game. If your favorite NFL team falls out of Super Bowl contention, you still have a reason to follow the game if your fantasy team is doing well. Of course the complexities of league rosters can also lead to the strange phenomenon of rooting for your favorite NFL team as long as a certain player, who’s on a rival FFL owner’s roster, does not score.
One-week leagues like those found on DraftKings or FanDuel, are a great option for FFL owners whose full-season teams have tanked, or do not want to manage a team for an entire season. Fans no longer watch football in the same way that they used to and fantasy football has a lot to do with it.
Sports Techie, the Nevada Gaming Control Board recently decided that “daily fantasy sports” is betting when money is paid out so any company operating in this gaming space must now obtain a state license to precede henceforth. This ruling, surprisingly but logically includes eSports and businesses such as Vulcan.
Preet Bharara is the U.S. prosecutor in New York that took down the business of online poker four years back and is now probing the daily fantasy sports industry to find out if it indeed does violates federal law. By now most Americans have seen the advertising onslaught on television and the web conducted by FanDuel, DraftKings and other DFS companies during NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, NASCAR, PGA and UFC events among others. States, fans and teams are caught in the cross-fire of this supposed game of luck and chance with billions of unregulated dollars at stake.
The NY Times revealed that employees at DraftKings and FanDuel are using insider information to win cash prizes. It turns out that a novel $25 bet that turned into $350,000 in winnings finally broke the status quo in place for DFS and things began to unravel at Internet speed as government officials began to make it public knowledge that regulations are needed yesterday to insure that safe practice measures are in place to keep fraud, money laundering and other illegal activities from taking over the space. In what has become somewhat of a broken record, an “independent investigation” followed that decided his bet was made without big data taken from his employer thus his prize money was earned legitimately.
I have been around fantasy sports since before the introduction of the Internet so to see DFS take off is no surprise because it is fun to participate against friends and strangers alike but to to classify it as non-gambling is certainly a grey area as to whether this actually constitutes as sports betting.
Much like Powerball where groups of people pitch in funds together to buy thousands of dollars of lottery tickets in order to increase their odds of winning, DFS is flush with the same mentality taking the game out of the game. Your simple one dollar bet is going against tens of thousands of entries by one person or groups of players. To further offset this game of chance, big data and complex algorithms are backing up these savvy individuals and groups of players further stacking the odds in their favor and making common people winners like the commercials and adverts state, a rarity nowadays.
I tried my luck for the first time this year with NFL DFS because I live in Atlanta where it is legal to play while my former state of residence, Washington, has deemed all fantasy sports and fantasy football illegal. When you do your own deep dive into who wins a $1 million DFS prize it becomes obvious that the player’s that partake as a recreational habit are probably not the winners more often than not and it is only getting worse over time in my opinion. It seems to me that more and more of the winners are somehow part of the racket that DFS is, something our government and lawyers will get the the bottom of soon enough.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver wants a federal regulation of daily fantasy operators according to ESPN even though they are partnered with FanDuel and own small equity in the company using the terms “current law” as rational to continue with their slippery slope partnership.
I find it hypocritical that the NFL condemns gambling yet partnered up with FanDuel and still accepts advertising dollars from any DFS company while the lawyerism of sports protects their good standing for now. Deflategate was a win for Tom Brady and the NE Patriots because the NFL thought they had the law behind them. Look for leagues to jump off the DFS ship as is soon enough but not before collected additional capital gains.
NFL, w/strong stance against casino associations, now playing in Wembley, home of on-site betting windows/kiosks (though closed today).
— Andrew Brandt (@AndrewBrandt) October 4, 2015
With the first ever free streaming of an International NFL game this Sunday on Yahoo between the Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars being played in the UK and London, the online betting kiosks at Wembley Stadium are closed during all NFL games according to Andew Brandt. So what really constitutes a gambling affiliation for the league is as confusing as what an actual football catch is after all the instant replay gaffes this season and last.
So tonight during Thursday Night Football when the Seattle Seahawks play the San Francisco 49ers on NFL Network and CBS Sports, be sure to activate superstar Russell Wilson, think about activation aging Beast Mode and most likely sit the overrated Hawks defense that have given up fourth quarter losses in their four losses. If you want to win a DFS pool, try picking up borderline fantasy starters with big upside like 49ers wide receiver Torey Smith who may break a long touchdown or two or select the SF’s defense that are playing inside cozy and sustainable Levi’s Stadium as their local fans root them on for a chance to play at home in Super Bowl 50 which they host this season.
If you are in Generation Z, a millennial or a seasoned adult, I recommend you get your daily fantasy football on now as a rookie, casual or veteran player while you still can because before too long, it may no longer be legal to win big cash under the current business model of today.
Enjoy TNF, SNF on NBC and MNF in addition to the inaugural international live stream of a National Football League game on Yahoo this Sunday at 9:30 am ET while rooting on your fantasy football team and players to victory and hopefully a big cash payout while it lasts.
See y’all later in Seattle, Atlanta and around the world.
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