Fantasy football fallout

By FRANCISCO ZAPATA

Americans traditionally gather every Sunday in support of their favorite NFL team and focus on the win or lose nature of the game.

In the last decade, however, more and more people are watching for the statistics of players they “own” in their respective fantasy leagues.

Good or bad?

According to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association (which apparently exits), 56.8 million people in the U.S. and Canada participated in fantasy football in 2015. That’s up from 41 million in 2014.

Who could’ve predicted that fantasy football would spawn a multi-billion dollar business?

The number of American fantasy football participants has nearly doubled since 2012, and is continuously growing, while generating more than $70 billion in revenue a year. Anybody want to play fantasy football?

Many believe that fantasy football is illegal outside of Nevada due to its betting nature. However, fantasy football gambling has been deemed legal by the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.

It is considered a game of “skill” and not a game of “chance,” which allows average Americans to spend up to $465 in investment money for their fantasy team(s), according to Fortune magazine.

Fantasy football has been good for the NFL because it has drawn in more viewers. Americans are more intrigued than ever to watch teams of players whom they “own” in fantasy leagues.

This leads many Americans to watch football games they otherwise probably wouldn’t have. (They might have 10 favorite teams but that’s fine.)

Fantasy football affects what sports packages I have on TV. To watch as many games as possible, I bought the NFL package. I find myself watching multiple games at once just to keep tabs on all of my fantasy players.

One can join a wager fantasy league on DraftKings or FanDuel. There are also free leagues on ESPN, Yahoo and NFL.com.

No experience in football is required to see what all the hype for fantasy football is about. There are now fantasy football TV shows, magazines, podcasts and articles devoted to helping you maximize your fantasy team’s potential.

I’ve been watching football for nearly my entire life. I know people who know nothing about football or have only started watching within the last few years due to fantasy football.

Disturbingly, I’ve been bested by them on some occasions.

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