The Economy Of Fantasy Sports

August 27, 2012

Sept. 5 is right around the corner and that means the beginning of another season of the National Football League. For a lot of people, myself included, the beginning of the NFL season means the beginning of another year of fantasy football.

This year, as I prepared for my upcoming fantasy drafts I started to wonder how many people waste their time like I do – sitting in front of a computer reading articles about who to pick and who to avoid this year. It turns out, a lot more than I could have imagined.

In the United States and Canada alone, more than 34 million people participate in a fantasy sports each year. This number is continually growing, with more than 2 million new players each year.


Fantasy football is easily the most popular fantasy sport, with almost 24 million people playing it each year. Fantasy baseball is the second most-played fantasy sport with more than 12 million annually. Surprisingly, fantasy racing clocks in at third on the list, with almost 8 million players.

Other fantasy games include:

This continually growing market is starting to have a larger impact on the economy, as well. It is estimated that the fantasy sports industry generates more than $800 million in revenue each year. On top of that, advertising, player fees and spending related to leagues have a $2 billion impact on the economy.

As if those numbers weren’t enough, the average fantasy player spends 30 minutes a day managing his/her team, totaling close to four hours a week of lost time at work. It doesn’t seem like much but when you add all of the time people spend setting lineups and making trades, employers lose around $9 billion in productivity a year.

With numbers this big, the world of fantasy sports is a gold mine for the advertising and marketing industries. Fantasy sports players are dedicated to staying up-to-date with their players’ statistics and this means going to websites, watching as many games as possible, downloading smartphone apps, etc. Companies like Toyota have created special online campaigns, like the Hall of Fame: Legend of Fantasy Football, to attract new customers.

With the amount of time and money people are spending on fantasy sports, I no longer feel that I am the only one with an obsession. Due to the growing obsession, fantasy sports will only continue to expand, drawing more players, more advertisers and creating more of an economic impact.