According to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, fantasy football is the most preferred level of play in fantasy sports. In 2013 there were 33,559,990 people playing fantasy sports in the United States, and 18 per cent of that total were college educated (making up the majority of the industry demographics). Since many players are college students and are not making a huge income, fantasy football is a way to potentially make some extra cash.
Fantasy football is an online competition in which participants select imaginary teams among players in a league (either the National Football League or the American Football League) and score points according to the actual performance of their players. Every week, the team with the most points wins, and the player on that team with the most points wins the prize of their choice.
Many people play fantasy sports to win money, which means the money they put in, they might not win back. According to the FSTA, on average, fantasy sports players spend $111 on league related costs, single player challenge games, and league related materials over a 12 month period.
For students like Brendan Denvir, playing for money is his biggest incentive. Denvir has played for several years and plays in two leagues; one with extended family and another combining friends from home and school.
“The money is generally split up at the end of the season in order to avoid a winner-take-all payout. In my leagues, one does have the potential to make over 200 dollars,” Denvir said. “Last year, I made 120 dollars.”
Students like Ryan Collins, however, say [fantasy football], “gives me a reason to care about individual games/players,” but also thinks that playing for money raises the stakes.
“This year,” Collins said, “I could potentially make 240 dollars.”
Matt Wyland, a college student who has been playing fantasy football for 4 years, enjoys it because of the money he’s won. “My first year playing, I came in first place, I won 80 dollars” Wyland said. “My second year I came in second place so I won my money back.”
Along with Wyland, college student Joe Mastroianni has been playing fantasy football for 4 years. He too has made a small profit from the game. “We usually bet around 10 to 20 dollars,” Mastroianni said. “My first year I won 100 dollars.”
Though it can be competitive, even students who play for the money love fantasy football as a way to keep in touch with friends. Fantasy football makes it easy to talk with each other at least once a week, Sunday.
“It’s really easy to be in the same league with people in different areas, because it’s easy to communicate online,” Collins said.
While the average player spends about $100 to participate in fantasy football, students like Collins could potentially win twice that back.
Alexandra Leslie and Justine Chun are senior Journalism students at Ithaca College. Email them at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org