By Matthew Perry
One of the most popular questions on campus today is, “Who is on your team?” Each and every year fantasy sports continue to grow in interest across all ages. Men, women, teenagers and even senior citizens are starting to build a team.
Fantasy sports has been around since a little after World War II with the concept of picking players and winning the contest based on their performances. Fantasy sports in 2013 had 33 million people participating in the United States alone, according to Fantasy Sports Trade Association (FTSA).
Professional teams have also noted the growth in fantasy owners and are starting to accommodate them by putting Wi-Fi throughout their stadiums. Fantasy sports is starting to grow from just a hobby essentially to a part-time job.
On average a person watches 6.3 hours a week of football. Compared to someone who plays fantasy football, they watch 8.6 hours a week of football according to FTSA. Bigger television networks have begun to realize this and air fantasy specials on their networks to help you build the perfect team. For team owners who get an opportunity to join prize-leagues, it makes the competition that much more exciting.
Prize-leagues give the owner the choice to put money down on the league and if they win, not only do they hold bragging rights until the next season but, they also get the reward. On NFL.com an owner can put 45 dollars down on a league and if they win the owner receives a signed autograph jersey worth 400 dollars.
Though, there are some people who do not see the interest with fantasy sports. Talking with Alex Pearce, a junior at Radford University, he does not see the appeal to it.
“Many of my friends did it but just never saw the fun in a game you have no control over,” Pearce said. “I have decided to give fantasy a chance this year and see what it is all about, since my roommate and suitemates were doing it.”
There are many people though who draft numerous teams a year and during every game their laptop is up and ready to check the points that are being put up by their players. Evan Scheible, a senior at RU and Pearce’s suitemate, is one of those.
“Every year I do multiple drafts because I have a lot of friends and that gives me a chance to face them all,” said Evan. “The fact that you can be a general manager and control who is playing and who is going to get you points is fascinating. So I always have my laptop, checking the scores.”
So why is fantasy sports becoming so popular? It could be the opportunity to win prizes, to feel like you know more about the game or maybe just to have bragging rights over your friends.
Nathan Pirino, Pearce’s roommate and a sophomore at RU, thinks that having bragging rights over your friends is what makes fantasy great. “For a few years I have played fantasy and it’s awesome getting to demolish other owners, especially if you know them,” said Pirino.
But, will fantasy last forever? Probably not because eventually some newer and better type of way to play as pros will be invented. For now however fantasy is on the rise and does not look like it will be slowing down anytime soon.