Have Fantasy Sports Changed The Game?

    Posted by Jeff Hurrle

    Jan 7, 2014 12:37:00 PM

    First came sports, then came the internet, then came the immense popularity of online fantasy 
    sports leagues. But what has this done for the original sports? Some have noted a general 
    increase in fandom, even a shift in how sports are reported and broadcast. Others prefer to 
    believe that any spike in interest in their favorite sport is as organic as can be. No matter what 
    you believe, it’s hard not to speculate on this peculiar relationship between fantasy and reality.
    There are essentially two different types of fantasy sports fans: those who were fans before 
    fantasy leagues, and those who are fans because of fantasy leagues. The spectator experience 
    is unique for each faction of fandom, each rooting for a particular outcome in a given game.
    The lifelong fan roots for his favorite team; his desire for that team to win supersedes his desire 
    for points in a hypothetical game. The lifelong fan feels torn between the interests of his fantasy 
    and the interests of his favorite team, suffering pangs of guilt when a fantasy win means home
    team defeat. But as a sports fan, he ultimately enjoys the multifaceted spectator experience
    made possible by his true love of the game coupled with hiss participation in fantasy sports.
    Conversely, the fantasy-centric fan likely had a lukewarm taste for the sport prior to his
    involvement in virtual team management. He might be drawn to the chance to win some money
    in a fantasy pool. Maybe he is engulfed in the social media dynamic to fantasy sports. Or 
    maybe he just has a thing for numbers and seized this opportunity to really invest himself in 
    sports statistics. Rather than rooting for one team to win over another, the fantasy fan roots for 
    certain plays and scoring patterns that will maximize his virtual points. For this, the fantasy fan 
    is no less of a fan, just a fan of a different sort. 
    Coincidence or not, the explosive popularity of online sports leagues over the past several years 
    has been accompanied by changes in the way we view those sports. Entire television programs 
    are dedicated to the analysis of touchdown plays and homeruns, and NFL has partnered with 
    cell phone networks as well as cable providers to maximize the accessibility of stats and figures, 
    ultimately making sportscasting more fantasy friendly. No matter the reason, our favorite sports 
    are growing exponentially in popularity these days. When the rising sea of fans reaches your 
    stadium, will your facility be ready to accommodate them all?

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    Topics: Sports Technology


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