What is fantasy sports?

Fantasy sports have been discussed and gaining more attention than before, we have heard about it quite often nowadays, and a million others play it too. Yet, there are many people who still don’t know about what it really is and how it works. Actually, fantasy sports are online prediction games where you put your fantasies by selecting your virtual team against real sports players. You earn points based on real-life statistics that are converted into fantasy points. The better your player performs in real life, the higher your fantasy points.

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What is fantasy sports?

A fantasy sport is a game where the participants assemble imaginary teams (it could be on paper, or using baseball or basketball cards) using real players from a different professional sports team. So, for a UEFA champion’s league team (football), you could have one striker from Liverpool, a defender from Bayern, a goalkeeper from Atalanta, and a mid-fielder from Barcelona, etc. making your team of 11 players in a certain manner with their fixed virtual weightage decided before each fantasy game.

Similar to fantasy football, fantasy cricket has become a major part of the world of cricket in the current scenario. For every game, the suspense and experience are heightened by the inclusion of such fantasy cricket games.

Online Fantasy Cricket sites like Dream11, Game of Guru, and SuperFantasyLobby provide cricket fans a way to showcase their passion for the game.

Began as a fantasy and fun game played among friends and groups became now a multi-billion global business with a judgemental influence on real, live sports. Many of the same corporate interests involved in pro-sports have gotten on the fantasy bandwagon (Time Warner, which owns CNN, has invested in FanDuel one of the biggest fantasy sports companies).

Fantasy sports give fans an opportunity to pick the best possible team and compete with fellow fans in a contest worth money and bragging rights. You might have had countless instances where you expected a player to score a goal or score in soccer or a fifty beforehand in the cricket match. You play against other managers and their teams. Everybody manages a roster by adding, dropping, trading, and selling players to keep winning.

How do fantasy sports works?

In the fantasy playing arena, there you have to select your players and making your virtual team, (also referred to as a draft) in which players that you think are good. At the end of the completion of a real game, the statistics are compared and compiled. For example, in the real world, after the end of the week’s play, 5 players from 5 different teams performed the best. In the virtual world, you had those 5 players in your fantasy team. Put two and two together, and you have had a wonderful time at the weekend’s play!

You can track statistics of your players through apps and websites, and keep an eye on their performance. There are usually two types of leagues in fantasy sports: one in which you can compete against friends and people you know, and the other in which you compete against strangers (Public Leagues).

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Real vs. Fantasy Sports

Real-life or traditional sports usually occur over an entire season. For example, if you and your friends draft teams in September, then you would not be able to find out who won until the season is over in January. This also means that you are stuck for the whole season, with the same players that you drafted at the beginning of the season unless there is a chance for a trade.

Daily fantasy sports, like the name suggests, is different. It does not last a whole season. It simply lasts a day. The daily fantasy football draft software helps you pick your players in the morning, and by the time the games are over in the afternoon or evening, you will know who has won.

Another difference between the two is that, while regular fantasy sports are focused on a year-after-year league basis, daily fantasy sports is played online with random competitors that you matched with.

There is also a factor of money. Sports league sites like DraftKings can comprise of hundreds of thousands of competitors, each paying a few dollars to enter. The result is that the winner can end up winning millions of dollars in prizes.

With all the glitz and glamour of this online sport, there is bound to be some criticism. The next section will debunk some of the misconceptions regarding fantasy sports.

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Who plays fantasy sports?

About 10 million teenagers are playing fantasy sports alone in the USA, however, the USA has 56 million sports freaks who are engaged in playing fantasy sports. According to estimates STATS Inc, about 19% of adult men play fantasy sports, compared to 9% of women.

Players are based on income levels. Players that earn more than $50,000 account for 16% of the players, while only 10% of players with lesser incomes participate in the game.

A total of $18 billion is spent on fantasy sports annually. By comparison, $140 billion is wagered on real sports and $70 billion is spent in lotteries.

Is fantasy sports legal?

Yes. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, which Congress passed in 2006, specifically says fantasy sports are allowed under federal law because they are classified as a game of skill rather than a game of chance. The only caveat is that players may not bet on the outcome of a single game or the performance of a single player.

But fantasy sports are banned in five states — Arizona, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, and Washington. The Fantasy Sports Trade Association is lobbying to change the laws in those states.

Are there regulations?

Right now there really is no government authority that oversees fantasy sports, the way gambling regulators oversee sports betting in Nevada.

The recent scandal involving DraftKings and FanDuel could bring calls for greater government oversight of the industry, if not calls for an outright ban.

How big a business is fantasy sports?

Big. Overall, the industry brings in about $1.5 billion a year in revenue. Most of that money comes from advertising on the sites. Sites such as DraftKings and FanDuel pay out more than 90% of the fees they collect as prize money in order to attract players to the game.

Many of the major media and Internet companies such as Disney’s (DIS) ESPN unit, Yahoo (YHOO) and CBS (CBS) have become major players in the business.

DraftKings and FanDuel have each raised about $300 million from investors and have valuations in the billions. Their investors include sports leagues such as Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, and the National Hockey League, as well as owners of several NFL and NBA teams.

Wrapping up

In spite of some legal aspects and Govt pressure, fantasy sports are growing at an exponential pace and cornering space as an internet sports industry. The entire sport itself created a phenomenon and does not seem to lose popularity. Moreover, because of high influence from social media is also contributing extensively to providing popularity to the sport.

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