Story by Alex Goff
Fantasy Football has become a huge part of today’s National Football League and it’s a great way for fans to become more involved with the NFL, even if there is no professional team in your state or hometown.
Chris Andrews, a fantasy football help line employee said, “Fantasy football gives everyone a chance to enjoy the NFL, it doesn’t matter how big of a fan you are because it’s not solely about the game, it’s about managing a team and playing against your friends or co–workers.”
Even people who don’t enjoy watching the sport can still participate. Marquis Newman, a fantasy football expert and owner of five fantasy teams, said, “You don’t have to be the most knowledgeable football guru to know who the star players are, you just draft them and then hope you get lucky and they have a big year.”
The popularity of fantasy football has become so high that even ESPN has tailored some of their programs to appeal to the masses. There are fantasy update shows such as fantasy football live that give viewers tips and hints about which players to start or bench.
Fantasy football has gotten to be such a big part of the NFL that people are even joining money leagues, where you have to pay to play and the winner of the league takes home a certain amount of money. Newman said that he felt it was even more competitive when he thought of the money he could win.
Newman said, “It makes me want to watch every game, especially the ones where my big time players are playing.”
Colton Seely, a pharmacist in the state of Arizona and someone who had little knowledge of football before playing fantasy is now a statistics expert. Seely said, “It’s almost like it’s not even about the football for me anymore, it’s like I’m playing a different game against my friends and it becomes much more enjoyable to watch the games.”
Andrews felt that people who play fantasy football are more prone to want to go to a live game, and he estimates that 50 percent of his calls are related to finding tickets for fans. “People just want to go to games, it doesn’t matter if they like the team they’re watching or not, it matters that they’re watching their starting quarterback or their star running back,” Andrews said.
Fans in places like Utah who don’t have a professional team have been left out in a way. There has never been an NFL team in Utah. “That’s why I love it [fantasy football] so much, it helps me connect to teams more and really become a fan of specific NFL teams that before I really didn’t care for,” Newman said.
“I’m gonna do fantasy football every year, I look forward to playing when fall comes around and it’s fun to go out to a bar with a group of friends just to watch all the games,” Seely said.
Fantasy football has had a positive influence on fans so far because it helps everyone relate to the sport, anyone can sign up to play and you don’t need much knowledge of how football works, besides who the good players are.