The NFL is unquestionably America’s sports pastime, and fantasy football is how Americans burn time — especially at the office.
Employers, you’ve been warned: The NFL season opener on September 10 means that time suck is all about to rev up again as fantasy football leagues across the continent (and beyond) conduct their annual player drafts. And for the following 17 weeks, participants will continue their chase for cash and bragging rights.
How many people?
According to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, nearly 57 million people in the United States and Canada now participate in fantasy sports of some brand, not just football. And the number has risen every year since they started estimating six years ago.
How much of a work distraction is fantasy football really?
$1.1 billion in lost productivity nationally each week (each week!) of the 17-week season.
Here’s how that stunning number was reached: Researchers took the estimated number of fantasy football players (almost 37 million) and multiplied it by their average earnings every 10 minutes (about $6). The calculation assumes fantasy football players burn 10 minutes of each workday, or nearly an hour a week, on the game — drafting players, setting lineups, making trades, etc.
The future of fantasy
There's no end in sight: fantasy is only getting bigger.The Fantasy Sports Trade Association reports:
Fantasy sports players are spending an average of $465 per year for fantasy, up from $95 in 2012.
Mobile and other emerging platforms (i.e. gaming consoles, Internet-connected TV) are now the predominant way (56 players) players consume fantasy.
Fantasy players are more interested in sports because of fantasy, with 61 percent reporting they are watching more live sports because of fantasy and 60 percent saying they read more about sports because of fantasy.