Bart Calendar spent 10 years as a journalist for Gannett covering murder trials and rock and roll.
Since then he has traveled the Earth gambled in the best casinos in the world.
Fantasy football has been a favorite pastime for millions of people over the years. It is an ideal way for you to enhance the experience of your favorite sports. You can pit your knowledge of the sport against your friends and the general public. You can even put money on the line when doing so on many of the popular sites and potentially make nice levels of profit as a result.
There is a storied history to NFL fantasy leagues from its starting point and all of the way up to where it is now a multi billion dollar industry. This article looks at what the humble beginnings of the sector and how it has grown exponentially over time.
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Key Fantasy League Football Points
Fantasy football began originally in the 1960s
It really exploded with the advent of the internet
It is now the NFL’s main form of marketing
Viewership numbers and ticket sales are a lot higher among fantasy football players
What is fantasy football?
Fantasy football is a game where the player will draft a team of players and manage this team over the course of the regular NFL season. You are able to trade and pick up free agents each week and tailor your team as you see fit. There are many different forms of leagues out there with traditional fantasy football leagues taking place over the course of the entire regular seasons. This would see the final few weeks of games being part of the play-offs for fantasy football leagues. Those with the best records would go head to head against one another until one came out on top and were deemed to be the champion. Now there are daily fantasy football leagues which only take days or a week to complete. There are countless online fantasy football platforms operating platforms today, with the two leaders in the pay to play space being DraftKings and FanDuel.
History of fantasy football
Fantasy football can track its history all of the way back to the 1960s. Some people who had connections with the Oakland Raiders team played an important part in the formation of fantasy football. The first ever league was called the Greater Oakland Professional Pigskin Prognosticators League and it started in August 1963. The popularity of the fantasy football space only expanded slowly in the next number of years.
The first fantasy football leagues to reach a national level was in 1985 through Grandstand Sports Services. They continued to expand their offering over time, adding many features. They were the first platform to ever introduce scoring in real time, automatic drafting, continuous leagues, trading in real time. The first competition on a national level for fantasy football was in 1989, called the Pigskin Playoff. It launched through numerous newspapers across the country. This put up prizes and allowed large groups of people to compete against one another in fantasy football for the first time. It is effectively similar to the current format of players competing for prizes, but in a more straightforward and basic manner.
It was in 1997 that the beta version of the first free to play online fantasy football platform went live thanks to CBS. Instantly this game exploded in popularity and in the next couple of years all of the big platforms for sport media has created their own platforms for fantasy football. It was not until 2010 that the NFL launched their own version of fantasy football. It is now the league’s main form of marketing and more than 20 million people in the US partake in an NFL fantasy league each season.
There was a popular sitcom revolving around a group of friend’s fantasy football league called “The League” which as very popular. fantasy football is now a very big business, with a lot of content on television, radio and online revolving around fantasy football. It has proven to be a lucrative source of revenue also for many companies, as well as providing a way for fantasy football players to potentially earn millions of dollars through the pay to play platforms. For the rules of fantasy football check out our article about fantasy football rules.
Has it increased NFL viewer numbers?
Fantasy sports has proven to be a great way for leagues to increase the amount of people viewing their broadcasted games. Those who play fantasy football has been shown to watch more games, spend more buying tickets and at stadiums than your average fans. There are many popular shows dedicated to fantasy football on the likes of CBS and ESPN that also bring in more viewers for these networks. Most NFL stadiums even show the fantasy sports of players during games on their big screens since 2011.
Types of NFL fantasy leagues
Depending on the platform that you use for your fantasy football needs, there are going to many different types of NFL fantasy leagues on offer to you.
A head to head league sees you going up against a single opponent from the league in a given week. Whichever of these two teams come out on top for his week will be given the win. The points will be an accumulation of all of the points your starting team earns in that given week’s games. At the end of a certain period of time, those teams with the best overall head to head wins record will then progress to the play-offs. Whoever comes out on top will then be the champion.
There are some leagues that simply base the winner of who scores the most points during the given period. Some are all play leagues where everyone plays each other in a given week. So if a team scores the most points in the first week of games, they will have a 13-0 record in a 14 team league. A keeper style league will allow people to carry over certain players from their previous team into the new season. Some leagues will have a salary cap where you only have a certain amount of funds to spend on players that have been given fixed values at the start of the season. These values change over time depending on their performances so far in their games.
Some leagues are run as auctions, where players are given a certain amount of funds to use and they engage in bidding wars with one another in order to obtain a player for their roster. Dynasty leagues keep the same rosters from season to season and roster can be freshened up through rookie drafts. Some leagues will allow you to use two quarterbacks in your starting lineup. SuperFlex teams leagues also allow you to place a second quarterback in your team as your flex pick. Pirate leagues allow the team that wins a matchup to select a single player from the roster of their opponents. Even college fantasy football is an option for some players who are looking for more options.
Depending on the NFL fantasy league you are playing in, there will be different types of draft models being used. The traditional method is a snake draft. Therefore, the person that picks first in round one will then pick last in round two and so on. There are auction drafts whereby you are given a certain amount of virtual money to spend on players. You will bid for players in an action style format with other members of your league. Drafts can be conducted live where each player in real-time reacts to what players are left on the board.
Others will have auto drafts where players preselect what payers they want to select and the draft will be conducted automatically based on the pre-defined selections of all the teams in the league. This is usually the preferred method of draft, but we think you can have a lot more fun by checking out our NFL predictions and selecting your own team. While a lot of friend groups that are in a league will draft physically, most drafts will take place online through the various platforms.
A lifelong passion
Fantasy football has an interesting history over the decades. It really exploded in popularity with the advent of the internet. This made it much easier for players to partake in leagues and get the most up to date information. Players get hooked as soon as they start playing fantasy football and in a lot of cases it will become a lifelong pursuit for them. The potential that is out there now to also make serious money while playing fantasy football for money is also a massive incentive for people to get involved.
Conclusion: Constantly evolving game
Fantasy football is constantly evolving and getting better. It is one of the most important aspects to the NFL’s marketing efforts and fans of the sport can engage so much more thanks to fantasy football. If you have never played, you should waste no time and sign up for a platform today in order to learn the ropes for the upcoming season. This article walks you through the basics of fantasy football, looking at everything from the draft to the best fantasy football sites around and useful strategies on how to manage your team throughout the season. This gives you a quality chance of being a success when pitting your skills against your friends or the general public.