I’m writing this article from my own personal perspective. It doesn’t really matter who I am, but think of me as a bit of a “sports geek” who likes to spend as much time as possible watching, reading and listening to my favorite teams. It didn’t matter if it was college or professional and just about any sport would do (baseball, football, basketball or hockey). I’m pretty sure that a lot of you can relate.
When fantasy sports leagues first came about I had little interest in it since I considered myself a “true” sports fan. Many of my friends attended fantasy drafts and had teams to follow throughout the season but that didn’t really interest me all that much. Who knows, maybe I didn’t fully understand how it worked or thought the idea was odd. Or maybe I thought that partaking in fantasy sports made me something other than a true fan.
But when the idea of participating in Daily Fantasy Sports, with the option of putting together teams in different sports, not just football, I figured I’d give it a try. Although still skeptical I figured I’d ease my way in by starting out with $1 bets. I immediately found my interest peaked, not just with my local teams but the individual performances for any players on “my team”. Even though the bets were small and the odds for payoffs slim, I would follow on my phone throughout the day and evening to see how my guys were performing. When one of my players did something to help my score I felt rewarded for making a good selection. Even more exciting was to select a player who normally doesn’t produce that would have a career night.
As a longtime sports fan I have found that not only am I still a rabid fan but daily fantasy has actually enhanced my interest. I now have rooting interests in many games throughout the day and am not just concerned about my local teams. I find myself surfing channels and my phone to follow games I wouldn’t normally have much interest in. I find myself celebrating my $2.00 “victory” as proof that I am someone smarter that thousands of other fantasy players. God forbid I turn my $1.00 into $10.00 or $20.00.
Yes I have heard the data that most of the jackpots are won by about 1% of players who use complex mathematical statistics and multi entry games to accomplish this. For some strange reason I’m okay with that. I cling to the possibility that my single entry for that day hits the jackpot and I turn my dollar into hundreds or even thousands.
Now that daily fantasy sports have been around for awhile, most professional sports leagues have embraced and actually promote participation in DFS. For the reasons I have mentioned in this article, it creates more interest in their sport.
Over the years there have been lawmakers who have had an interest in banning this type of wagering and would like to deem these sites as illegal gambling and stop them from doing business. In some way I can see their point, but having fantasy rosters made up of players from different teams doesn’t really create much of a case for conspiracies. I suppose at some point players could get coerced into having poor games to somehow help specific betters, but I’m not sure the same can be said about them having great individual game performances unless both teams somehow conspired to achieve it. Doesn’t seem possible to me.
So to answer the question of popularity, it is not necessarily the money for most of us, but the additional interest and fun that DFS gives us as we root for our “team”.