Football Fanatics: Casual fans should be more open to participating in fantasy football

Football Fanatics: Casual fans should be more open to participating in fantasy football

Misha Rekhter

An ever-growing industry, fantasy sports have reached a fever pitch in the past few years. According to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, an organization that has provided fantasy sports news and information since 1998, fantasy sports have become a $7.22 billion industry with 59.3 million Americans participating last year.

Moreover, as sports gambling becomes increasingly legalized nationwide, the fantasy sports industry will continue to grow. As football season approaches, which leads the pack in terms of fantasy participation, millions will pour time, money and emotion into their teams.

The reason for the obsession is simple; fantasy sports are a creative way of testing one’s sports knowledge combined with a healthy dose of competition. Personally, participating in traditional fantasy football has transformed my football-viewing experience. By drafting football players from various teams (whose real-life performance translates to fantasy points), I suddenly became a fan of a variety of teams and a significantly more invested viewer. Since I have players from various teams on my personal fantasy team, I become an NFL fan rather just a Colts fan. Furthermore, fantasy provides me with an opportunity to demonstrate my (overblown) vast superiority over my friends due to my (perceived) unrivaled football knowledge — or at least to join in on some healthy competition. The fight for supremacy is captivating, engaging and genuinely fun.

Fantasy sports have continued to evolve with new versions popping up seemingly every year. For example, there has been a recent uptick in the popularity of daily fantasy, which involves drafting and starting a team for just one week instead of for the full 17-week season. These variations give people multiple ways to participate in fantasy football.

Ultimately, fantasy sports are not for everyone, but they are an easy way to become invested in sports while spending time with friends. Due to fantasy football, most of my Sundays during football season are spent relaxing and unwinding with friends, watching football and eating delicious buffalo wings. Fantasy sports can serve as a quick getaway from reality and feed one’s competitive appetite. Above all else, they are simply fun. Thus, I urge you: give fantasy football—and other fantasy sports—a chance. You might find you appreciate your favorite sports on a new level.

The views in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of the HiLite staff. Reach Misha Rekhter at [email protected]