Most fantasies are designed to be an escape from reality. But in professional football, there’s no escape from fantasy. Even if you’re not among the more than 25 million Americans who select players and compare statistics for love or money, fantasy football is affecting the way you watch the sport.
“Fantasy football is an intrinsic part of how all of us consume the NFL, from the in-stadium experience to the TV experience to the web experience,” says Sports Illustrated media reporter Richard Deitsch. “If you’re not a fantasy player by now, it’s something you’re either accustomed to or will be accustomed to.”
Fueled by new technology, fantasy football has crept from offices and college dorms to TV corporation boardrooms and stadiums. The result: The game on your TV screen or live before your eyes is just one part of the torrents of information hurled at the NFL audience.
Watching one game at a time? That’s so 2002.
Fantasy players themselves are a diverse bunch. For starters, 20 percent are women. Fans range from casual players who compete in simple free leagues to people who risk considerable sums of money in paid leagues. The most serious players can even get insurance against injuries to the players they’ve selected for their fantasy roster.
Living the Fantasy Football Life
by Beau Dure