In the Queen song “Bohemian Rhapsody” Queen front man sings, “Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?” The same question could often be asked of those playing fantasy football each fall. With the 2020 NFL season starting shortly, I recalled my last encounter with fantasy football while reviewing current data about the popular pastime.
According to the Fantasy Sports & Gaming Association, there were 59.3 million people playing fantasy sports in the USA and Canada in 2017. As of 2019 there were an estimated 45.9 Million fantasy sports players over 18 in the United States alone. According to a 2019 survey conducted by the organization, demographics for fantasy sports — not just football — include the following:
- 81% male, 19% female.
- 50% are between the ages of 18 -34 (average age is 37.7).
- 67% are employed full-time.
- 47% make more than $75,000 (national average is 34%).
The Sports Management Degree Hub clarifies that, “Of the 56.8 million players, more than 40 million play fantasy football.” The website further shares that fantasy sports participants spend an average of $465 a year on fantasy sports with fantasy football alone operating in an $18.6 billion market. That’s $6 billion more than the current estimated NFL revenue, and 4.5 times the current value of the NFL’s top flight team, the Dallas Cowboys.
I fielded two fantasy teams: The Shawshank Receptions in 2013 with work colleagues and The Dubai Deflators in 2015 after I had been living in UAE for a year — both times using ESPN’s app and website. While my experience was limited, it allowed me to entertain the following 10 takeaways into ideal practices to maximize success and minimize conflict:
- Accept Reality
- Act Strategically
- Adapt Effectively
- Collaborate Honestly
- Embrace Unpredictability
- Lose Graciously
- Play Competitively
- Think Confidently
- Trade Fairly
- Win Gracefully
If you play fantasy football (or fantasy sports of any kind) what has your experience been — and what tips would you share with others interested in participating?