Fantasy sports across North America have experienced huge booms in popularity and participation with over 60 million players in the continent alone.
The NBA, MLB and NHL attract decent number, but it is the NFL who have the greatest following for their fantasy football with around 80% of those 60 million playing fantasy football.
With the internet becoming more and more commonplace in the 90s, the boom in fantasy sports took them from local leagues amongst friends and co-workers, to the now global communities that exist.
In 1988 there was estimated to be half a million fantasy sports players, with leaped to over 15 million by 2003 with the ease of access and monitoring of the season through the internet.
The technological advances in the way in which fantasy sports operate have ensured that they reach a global audience, with fans of the sport all across the globe. You also no longer have to physically get together to draft your teams, you can stay in touch with people across the country, and the world, and be able to continue your leagues even if someone moves away.
Fantasy sports have become hugely popular amongst the fans of the sports they play, with the chance to prove your knowledge or immerse yourself even more in the sport that you love.
The challenge for the fantasy sports companies is how to continue to attract new and younger audiences to the game. They do not want young players ignoring it as something their parents do.
Fantasy sports were put somewhat up against video games and online games which have an ever-growing fanbase and popularity. The way in which they tackled this competition was by working with it.
Games on consoles such as PlayStation and Xbox have a clear link to fantasy sports which are available to all online and on mobile devices.
If you pick up the latest copy of Madden NFL, you will be able to play a mode in which you are able to take charge of a real-life team in a virtual world. This was the first stage, in which gamers could control who they signed and released, who got the starting roles in the team throughout the season and even carry out the NFL draft for their team each season.
This has continued to evolve, and the introduction of the fantasy draft mode gives gamers the chance to experience fantasy football within their games console in a personal level.
Building their team from scratch and setting it up in their image is the ideal way in which gamers can see the links and crossovers between their games to the standard fantasy sports games available to play with friends and family.
The popularity in the draft system which operates within fantasy sports has also spilled out into the way in which gamers’ articles and advice are being disseminated.
Articles for the release of games each year are given a twist on the draft experience that comes with fantasy sports. Writers will set up a draft order in the case of having a number of new release games to play and review. This Fantasy Gaming Draft gives a strong link to the fantasy sports available to gamers and increases its appeal as a form of entertainment as well as the process.
These Fantasy Gaming Drafts then set up their own rules based on how fantasy sports are scored. Snaking through a draft system based on the standard fantasy football practice, reviewers pick which they feel will be the best selling games and look to have a combined Metacritic score than the others.
There are a number of other forms set out by different gaming publications, but what they all have in common is their design and organization based on the popular fantasy sports drafts.
As well as the season itself, the draft system to set out your team is what brings people back to playing every season in fantasy sports. The thrill of setting up your team and setting out your plan for how to draft gives people a real sense of ownership of their team as well as competitive spirit against those in their league.
This is something that is influencing the gaming world and drawing similarities that can help bring more and more people into the fantasy sports environment. The entertainment value of fantasy-style games on consoles and PCs is thoroughly entertaining and have been able to rapidly see a huge following continue to grow with impressive consistency.
For those that flock to the newest and most exciting releases need to be targeted also for the fantasy sports in order for it to continue to grow and develop. The links fantasy sports can form with the gaming community will only look to benefit its growth in the long term, giving a more human link to the gaming which they have such an affinity for.