I am planning to do my research study on fantasy football. Fantasy football is a very important aspect of my life, as I play in two leagues throughout the NFL season. Overall, fantasy football has grown throughout the world by as much as 60% according to the FTSA (qtd. from England 5). This growing phenomenon has gotten my attention and the attention of many people, and I want to find out as much about it as possible. Literature Review Question
What does the literature reveal about the people who play fantasy football and about how these people have impacted the sports universe? Research for Literature Review
The research is provided on the Synthesis Table. Literature Review
On Sundays, many families settle around the television to watch one of, if not the, most interesting American sport today: football. Football has enriched many peoples’ lives for many different reasons. Some people enjoy cheering on their hometown team while they beat up on their division rival, others root for the best team in the league or get together with friends to watch the famed Super Bowl… and then there are people who watch to make sure their players have huge games statistically. These people are a part of the game of fantasy football, where money, bragging rights, and one’s dignity are on the line. What are these people really like, and how have they impacted the sports universe as a whole?
Throughout the entire world, there is a group of fantasy football team owners that have many different characteristics about themselves.
Fantasy football players come in different shapes and sizes. Some studies have found that the majority of fantasy players are male, are between the ages of 18-34, and come from a variety of education backgrounds and incomes (Dwyer and Drayer 211). Other studies have found that when it comes to race, 93 percent of participants are white with only 2.3 percent being Latino, 1.6 percent being African-American and 1.1 percent being Asian-American (Baerg). Even though many fantasy players are different, there is a typical fantasy football player, which is an 18-49 year old male who has above average income and education (Baerg).
Men and women act very differently while playing fantasy football. To begin, the participation levels are largely dissimilar between the two sexes, showing that men have higher levels of participation then women in the game (Lee 45). When women do play in these men-dominated leagues, they tend to show some differing qualities from the men. Different studies done have shown that women are more likely to draft players from their favorite team than men, which makes sense because females are generally more compassionate about their favorite things compared to males (Lee 45). These differences can also be shown throughout all fantasy sports, not just fantasy football.
Fantasy football players need a way to keep track of their fantasy players and games, and one way to do this is by using media to receive their information. Some people who prefer their fantasy team to win consume this information in different amounts compared to others that cheer more for their favorite professional team; according to a study done on media consumption, the average fantasy team media usage for light consumption and favorite team-dominant spectators ranged from less than one hour to two hours per week, which was significantly less than heavy and fantasy-dominant fans (3 to 12 hours) (Dwyer and Drayer 212). More generally, the average fantasy player typically spends roughly five hours weekly tweaking lineups, making trades and doing research on his fantasy squad(s) (Baerg).
Fantasy football and fantasy sports as whole have grown tremendously throughout the years. According to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, it is “revealed that over a four-year span, fantasy sports participation increased by 60% in the United States and Canada” (qtd. from England 5). Currently, about 36.8 million people play fantasy football, where nearly 30 million people play fantasy sports within the United States, which converts to about 13 percent of the American population, and this population in fantasy sports continues to grow (Curry 9; Dwyer and Drayer 207; Donaldson). The ages of the population of players are also growing; people are even beginning to play fantasy sports at 9 years old (Klimas). With the amount of people playing fantasy sports increasing, the amount of leagues are increasing with it, with fantasy players playing in an average of six leagues from various sports (Bell 1).
The fantasy football players are different in a lot of different ways, including in what they do, how they play, and how they behave, and the number of players just keeps growing every year.
There are many different interests of fantasy team owners, and this causes many different options for fantasy players to play the game they love.
There are many places to conduct and play in fantasy leagues. While some people manually compute the stats into fantasy points and distribute the scores to the league members through non-electronic sources, many leagues are done on the Internet. It is estimated that about 25.1 million fantasy participants use the Internet (Curry 10). The Internet is the main place to play, and people on the Internet have taken notice of fantasy sports, starting leagues because they saw these fantasy sports pages online. Woo-Young Lee, author of "Effects of personality and gender on fantasy sports game participation,” has found that approximately one in twelve people who use the Internet play in fantasy sports leagues. Many websites have seen the value of fantasy sports on the Internet and have decided to allow people to play fantasy football on their webpages. Some popular sites that have permitted fantasy players to create leagues include Yahoo.com, ESPN, CBS Sports and Fantasy Sports Ventures (Baerg).
Wherever one plays fantasy football, there are many types of leagues that one can join that can benefit the time and enjoyment of the player. Fantasy sports leagues can be categorized based on three key attributes: the sports, method of initially allocating player, and the season length (England 5). There are different types of fantasy sports a person can play, including fantasy basketball, baseball, golf, etc., but fantasy football is going to be the focus. People who play fantasy football can use a variety of methods to select their players on their team, including league drafts, auctions for players, and keeper leagues where teams keep players from past years in the league and draft others. There are also a variety of season lengths for leagues in the sport of fantasy football. Some leagues last the entire football season, and some only last for a half of the season; in these leagues, the team owner can submit a different lineup every week to play against another opponent’s team in the league. However, other places offer multiple day draft leagues where one drafts his players on the day of the event and the league only lasts that day (England 6). For example, for any week in the NFL season, someone can go on a draft day website on Sunday, pick the players that he or she feels will play the best that day, and compete in leagues that only last for that one week in the football season.
In terms of where to play and what type of league to play, fantasy players are now aware that there are many more ways to play fantasy football than what people think there are.
The participants of fantasy football have multiple motivations for playing and succeeding in the game.
There are a myriad of motivations for people to play the game of fantasy football. Some of the common motivations to play are to have fun, compete with others, and make real sports more exciting (Baerg). Some people have even proposed nine factors of motivation, some of which include ownership, escape, learning, pass time as well as a few others (Lee 46). These factors are main things people want when they start new activities in their lives, and beginning to play fantasy football is no exception since fantasy football is an activity that people want to enjoy.
Once people are motivated to play, they want to compete and do well. Some people are so motivated to win that they will do anything to put the best fantasy team out on the imaginary field. People who are that desperate include a person who dressed as the Red Robin during his fantasy draft because he was working during the draft and a soldier who conducted his draft outside during enemy fire because he would have lost his Internet signal (Berry). Others play fantasy sports professionally so the professionals need to do well in order to make money and live well off (Klimas). There are even some financial awards for winning, so if one does well, he or she could have an economic gain (Baerg). Overall, about 41 percent of people are so dedicated to succeed in fantasy football that they prefer a win by their fantasy team instead of their favorite team (Lee vii).
Fantasy owners want to do well, but they also do not want to lose, some because of their urge to win and some because of the consequences of losing. There are two cases that represent both of these feelings. The first is of a man who was the commissioner of his league, and lost his game, but went in that night and changed the totals so he could win, which shows his dedication to succeeding in the game and not losing to his peers (Berry). The other example involves a league where the last place team has to get a tattoo of the winner’s choice, which is supposed to embarrass the player, and this causes every team owner to not be in last place (Berry). Both cases show how fantasy team owners want to succeed and have a motivation to do better than the next guy. Motivated to play the game, do well and succeed, or not lose and get punished, people have a lot of ambitions for playing fantasy football. Now that the game has grown so much, the media has wanted to get involved to benefit itself from the game and help expand it even more. Much of the media around the globe today is found on the Internet. Fantasy football has been grown online ever since the creation of the World Wide Web. Many websites have offered fantasy sports, but some places have even taken a step further. For the past few years, ESPN has dedicated staff members to a fantasy sports department where the staff members offer fantasy advice to fantasy team owners through injury updates and power rankings (Lee 5). This is just one example, as most fantasy sports websites offer their own insight about players for that week. Sports media on television has also been greatly impacted by fantasy sports. On weekends, ESPN and Fox now each carry weekly Fantasy Football shows where fantasy experts can assist fantasy team owners with setting their lineup of players for the week (Curry 10). There are also fantasy updates throughout every NFL broadcast; tickers at the bottom of the television are always showing the fantasy leaders for each position so owners can help keep track of the scores of their important players (Lee 5). A new channel has even been created, called the Red Zone, which shows every game once a team gets inside the 20-yard-line, and this allows fantasy owners to see their top fantasy players score their points (Lee 5).
The media has become a part of fantasy football both online and on television, and it has helped expand the game rapidly in both places.
Money is important in many aspects of life, and in fantasy football, money is thought of in the same way.
Fantasy owners tend to spend a decent amount of money in order to play and succeed in fantasy football. Some leagues charge entry fees in order to play in their leagues, with most players playing in leagues with entry fees from $50 to $100 (Bell 1). However, most leagues are free to play so fantasy owners can enjoy playing the game without worrying about losing some money (Nesbit and Kerry 96). Overall, the average fantasy sports player spends $467.60 per year adding up to fantasy players spending about $4 billion in 2003, which could be much larger today because of the growing interest in fantasy sports (Bell 1; Curry 9).
With all of the spending in the game, there is also a large amount of money being generated in revenue. Some people speculate that fantasy football is generating $2 billion in annual revenue (Lee 2). Although this may be true, others believe that fantasy football is much larger of a revenue creator. One of these people is Connor England, who believes that fantasy sports generates roughly $15 billion a year, $11 billion of which comes from fantasy football, and this is much larger than what some others speculate the revenue to be.
The game has not just affected the business of fantasy football but other parties as well, including the fantasy owners and other businesses that employ fantasy team owners. Some fantasy leagues can offer a lot of money for winning the league, but if the person loses, it might not be good for them. One example is a league that might be $1,500 (entry fee) for a team and they have a $300,000 prize for winning the league (Bell 1). There could be a large financial reward for the winner, but if the team loses, the person could lose $1,500. Fantasy football could have a negative effect on businesses. Some people are estimating that fantasy football participants cost their employers $1.1 billion per week during the NFL season, which could result in a large loss for some businesses (Curry 11-12).
Throughout the fantasy football universe, players are winning, losing, and spending money, and businesses are gaining money through fantasy revenue and losing money through fantasy-dedicated employees.
In the end, the people who play fantasy football are a distinct group of people that have completely altered the entire sports universe. The people have many different characteristics and personalities who can choose how and where to play. They are motivated for a variety of different reasons, and the media has also been motivated to attract this audience. The game has also caused money to be moved all over the world because of the growing attraction. Fantasy football has attracted many people, and it still continues to grow today and will continue to grow throughout the rest of its existence. Identifying Gap/Research Question
After reviewing the literature about fantasy football, I found many different sources explain the people of fantasy football and the impact they have made on the world. However, I did not find something within the literature: there was no information about fantasy sports in specific areas around the country and the world. I am not aware of the region in the country that has the most or least amount of people who play fantasy football, which could help me understand why some fantasy participants tend to have certain characteristics and motivations. To attempt to fill the gap, I could research a portion of people in a certain region of the country and attempt to find a correlation between the characteristics of people who play fantasy football and the region where they reside. I could use the following research question to help conduct my study: “Is there a large fantasy football population at Norton High School in suburban Massachusetts, and does this population produce the characteristics of an average fantasy football player?”
I plan to use quantitative data in my study of the NHS fantasy football population. Quantitative data, according to BusinessDictionary.com, is data that can be quantified and verified, and is amenable to statistical manipulation. For this study, I want to study the numerical differences between the information I found in my literature review and the information I find in the study. Also, some have stated that quantitative data should be used to look “for projectable results to a larger population,” and in this case, I want to use a small sample of the school to generalize about a larger population, the entirety of Norton High School (Amora).
Data Collection Process and Instrument/Sample Population-
The study will be conducted with a survey. This survey will be given to the sample population of 25 students at Norton High School, 24 males and 1 female to closely represent the 95% male and 5% female population that was mentioned by multiple sources. This population will answer a series of ten questions. The people in the population will answer these ten questions on a piece of paper that will be provided to them. The first question of the survey will be “Do you play fantasy football?” If they answer no, they will stop taking the survey; this will help me understand the percentage of people who play the game. The other questions will specify certain aspects about their fantasy football lives in order to see if the numerical majority of the characteristics presented by the fantasy football population at NHS are similar to the characteristics presented by the fantasy football population around the United States and the world. After completing the ten questions to the best of their abilities, the surveys will be collected by the survey administrator, which will be myself. After the surveys are collected, I will calculate the proportions of people who play fantasy football and show certain characteristics that were shown to be the most important through my research. If the majority of the population shows these qualities, then I will know that the fantasy football population at Norton High School is very similar to the fantasy football population around the world.
After completing and collecting the surveys, I calculated the amount of times each response was circled for the majority of the questions, and put the number of responses into a percentage who circled that response. For numerical responses, I calculated the average number that was responded. Overall, I have found that 10 out of 25 people, about 40%, in the sample population play fantasy football, and the majority of the people who play want to keep playing for a long time (100%). Within the population that plays fantasy football, the population plays in an average of about 3 fantasy football leagues, and they usually tend to play on ESPN.com (60%). About 40% of the people who play fantasy football play other fantasy sports, including fantasy basketball, baseball, and soccer. About half of the fantasy population cheer more for their fantasy team than their favorite NFL team on Sundays. The main reasons people in the population are motivated to play the game is to have fun (mentioned 70% of the time), compete (60%), secure bragging rights (70%), and make money (70%). Most of the participants in the survey tend to play in leagues with a season length of about a season long (80%) and tend to play in snake draft leagues (most mentioned answer at 30%) where players are drafted by fantasy teams in a snake-like pattern. The people appear to spend between $0 and $50 (80%) when participating in fantasy football. When drafting players, the survey participants tend to draft the best available player left in the draft (70%).
After looking at the research that was collected, I have found many similarities and many differences between my research and the literary research presented earlier.
There have been some similarities between some of the information researched and the information collected in the study, including the motivations to play fantasy football, where people play fantasy football, and the speculation of a growing fantasy population.
The participants’ motivations to play the game are very alike compared to the motivations stated in the literature review. About 70% of the people who played fantasy football in the survey mentioned that they play fantasy football to have fun, for bragging rights, and for money, and about 60% of the survey participants who played fantasy football played to compete. All of these reasons the majority of the sample believed in were mentioned as part of either Woo-Young Lee’s nine factors of motivation or as reasons for playing proposed by Andrew Baerg.
The location of these fantasy football leagues are very similar locations. The majority of the study’s participants who played fantasy football play on ESPN.com, and the second most popular website was Yahoo.com. According to Andrew Baerg, these websites are the two most popular fantasy football websites.
The differences between the two sources are also very apparent in terms of population, money spent, and the interest in fantasy football.
The population at Norton High School who play fantasy football is very different to that discovered around the world. Norton High School has about a 40% participation rate, which is very high, over three times higher, compared to the approximate population found by Jonathan Donaldson, which is at about 13%. This proportion of people who play the game can be considered an outlier compared to the overall mean.
The typical student at Norton High School tends to spend a lot less than the average fantasy football player spends. Claes Bell found that the average fantasy player spends around $467.60 during a fantasy season; however, the average fantasy player who participated in the survey spent and average between $50 and $100 during a regular fantasy season. This amount is less than 20% of the amount of money spent compared to a regular fantasy participant around the world, which can be described as significantly less than the mean.
The survey participants appear to not be as interested in the sport as a regular fantasy participant. The typical fantasy player plays in about 6 fantasy leagues, according to Claes Bell, but the students only appear to play in about 3 fantasy leagues per fantasy football season, which shows less interest in playing the game. However, when the participants play in their leagues, they tend to be more interested in the game than other groups of fantasy players. The surveys revealed that 50% of the fantasy football participants in the school cheer more for their fantasy team than their favorite NFL football team; this number is slightly higher than the 41% who cheer more for their fantasy team, which was discovered by Woo-Young Lee.
The research found before and during the study show some important similarities and differences between the average fantasy football population and the fantasy football population of students at Norton High School.
It appears through the research conducted that the population of fantasy football players among students at Norton High School do not resemble the entire population of fantasy football players. There were some characteristics exposed in the survey that appear in the overall population, such as where people play and the motivations to play, but most of the participants’ characteristics, like how much people play, who plays, and how much money people pay, show how, when compared, the two populations are not alike. This information can help the fantasy sports community realize that this region of the world is already enriched in a fantasy football atmosphere, even though some of the characteristics are not resembled, and some companies might want to attempt to get more involved in this area so this region can become even more involved in fantasy football. This way, this fantasy football population can become more like the entire fantasy football population. This research can be replicated in other regions of the country and the world so that the fantasy sports community can figure out where the major fantasy sports areas are, and how similar this region is to the overall community, and capitalize on these regions in terms of revenue and new and interesting fantasy ideas.
Amora, Michael. "Quantitative Vs. Qualitative Research – When to Use Which." SurveyGizmo. N.p., 16 Mar. 2010. Web. 05 Jan. 2015. <http://www.surveygizmo.com/survey-blog/quantitative-qualitative-research/>.
Baerg, Andrew. "Just a fantasy? Exploring fantasy sports." Electronic Journal of Communication 19.3-4 (2009).
Bell, Claes. "Don't Let Fantasy Sports Tackle Your Wallet." Dont Let Fantasy Sports Tackle Wallet. Bankrate.com, n.d. Web. 19 Nov. 2014. <http://www.bankrate.com/finance/personal-finance/don-t-let-fantasy-sports-tackle-wallet-1.aspx>.
Berry, Matthew. "From Death to Potential Defrocking, Matthew Berry's Top 5 Most Insane Fantasy Football Stories." Thrillist. N.p., 16 July 2013. Web. 20 Nov. 2014. <http://www.thrillist.com/entertainment/nation/from-death-to-potential-defrocking-matthew-berrys-top-5-most-insane-fantasy-football-stories>.
Curry, Brent M. 1st and Ten: An Exploratory Look Into Fantasy Football. ProQuest, 2009.
Donaldson, Jonathan. "ESPN's Matthew Berry on America's Fascination with Fantasy Sports." Metro. N.p., 20 Nov. 2013. Web. Nov. 2014. <http://www.metro.us/entertainment/espn-s-matthew-berry-on-america-s-fascination-with-fantasy-sports/tmWmkt---c73pVHVQbpZRc/>.
Dwyer, Brendan, and Joris Drayer. "Fantasy sport consumer segmentation: An investigation into the differing consumption modes of fantasy football participants." Sport Marketing Quarterly 19.4 (2010): 207-216.
England, Connor A. “Better Good Than Lucky: Defending the Legality of “One-Week” Fantasy Football Leagues.” N/A (2013).
Klimas, Liz. "Hey Fantasy Football Fanatics, Meet the Guy Who Just Did What You’ve Always Wanted To." The Blaze. N.p., 26 Aug. 2013. Web. 23 Nov. 2014. <http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/08/26/hey-fantasy-footbal-fanatics-meet-the-guy-who-just-did-what-youve-always-wanted-to/>.
Lee, Woo-Young, et al. "Effects of personality and gender on fantasy sports game participation: The moderating role of perceived knowledge." Journal of Gambling Studies 27.3 (2011): 427-441.
Nesbit, todd M., and Kerry A King. “The impact of fantasy football participation on NFL attendance.” Atlantic Economic Journal 38.1 (2010): 95-108
"Quantitative Data." BusinessDictionary.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Jan. 2015.