What do you do when you’re a die hard sports fan, but watching the games on TV or in person just isn’t cutting it for you? This is where the growing trend of fantasy sports come into play, giving sport fanatics a chance to become more involved with the game in a unique way.
A fantasy sport is an online game where participants assemble virtual teams made up of real players from a professional sport. These teams compete based on the statistical performance of those players in actual games. The performance is converted into points that are compiled and totaled according to a roster selected by each fantasy team’s manager. In fantasy sports, team owners draft, trade and cut players, analogously to real sports.
According to the Fantasy Sport Trade Association, throughout a single year, over 36 million people will play some form of a fantasy sport, whether it’s a daily league or a season-long league compiled of other sport enthusiasts. The most popular online fantasy sport to play is football, which is estimated to have over 27 million players currently.
People play for many different reason, but it has become such a frenzy among football fanatics because it enhances the NFL experience by giving fans the opportunity to grab a small piece of the thrill that’s involved with actually operating an NFL team.
“I’ve always been a huge fan of playing fantasy football because it makes the sport so much more exciting,” Jesse Kolinic, ‘18, said. “I watch the games a lot closer now since my team depends on these players performances. If they play good, then my team wins and if my team wins, then I have a chance to win money at the end of the season.”
Another reason many people play these online games is so they have a chance to earn bragging rights over their friends and to make money. Most season-long leagues collect money from each player at the start of the season to give to the league champion when everything is said and done. However, there is a lot of controversy surrounding the daily fantasy sport websites because sports betting is illegal in most states.
Fantasy football leagues also increase individual bonding because each season starts with team owners getting together for a draft and during the season, they stay in constant communications for trade offers, smack talk and league voting. Even in the course of a very busy day, league members make sure they stay in contact and up to date on everyone’s team.
No matter what an individual’s reason is for playing a fantasy sport, it’s hard to argue that it’s a growing trend that is changing the way people interact with athletics and offers them a distraction from the hectic pace of life.