Sun. Jan 23rd, 2022

This past week, football returned once again for 2015. Fans around the country flocked to stadiums and huddled around the television to cheer for their favorite team. To make an opening week even better for the NFL, it was announced on Monday that Forbes Magazine had estimated the Dallas Cowboys’ value to be $4 billion.

As soon as week one, we are reminded of how massive and powerful football is as a business. And do you know the craziest part? Thanks to fantasy football, the NFL’s popularity has nowhere to go but up.

If you aren’t familiar with fantasy football, the game is simple to learn but hard to master. Players in a fantasy league select real-life players from the NFL to fill out their fantasy roster. Players then set their lineups and are awarded points based on how their players perform in the actual NFL contests. You can also add or drop players to the waiver wire, make trades between other people in your league, and set your lineup according to how you see fit.
Players are matched up with each other over the course of a full season, including a playoff bracket.

Fantasy football has been around in various forms since the 1960s, but it has exploded in popularity in the last ten to fifteen years, thanks in large part to the advances in technology. The game has been permeating media and pop culture for years now. There are shows on television offering fantasy advice, and the game encourages an active online discussion between the members of the league. Non-fans of football have been turned onto the sport by joining a fantasy league with friends. It’s fair to say that fantasy football has played a large role in expanding the NFL’s popularity. And make no mistake; the NFL is more popular than ever. The league earned over $10 billion in revenue last season, $1 billion of which was profit for the league, according to a report by CNN Money.

But now there is a new iteration of fantasy football being played, being spearheaded by two websites: FanDuel and DraftKings. On these websites players are allowed to pick their lineups daily and win cash prizes. Although they are relatively new, they have become popular because they require no season-long commitment compared to traditional fantasy football.

And if you haven’t heard about these leagues yet, you will. According to iSpot.tv, Draft Kings and Fan Duel combined to spend roughly $30 Million on advertising in the first week of football season alone. If you watch any football at all this season, the chances are high that you will see an advertisement for these two websites.

DraftKings and FanDuel have received criticism for essentially bypassing the law against online gambling in the United States. Fantasy football is not considered online gambling, but these daily sites have begun to blur that distinction because of their cash prizes.

The future may be hazy for DraftKings and FanDuel, but they will certainly be a significant presence as an advertiser this season. And the NFL, coming off their most profitable season yet, is back in the public spotlight once more. If these daily leagues create more fans and revenue for the league like traditional fantasy football has in the past, the NFL just might see that $10 billion revenue figure grow even higher by this time next year. As the saying goes, the rich get richer.

Chris Landry is a student majoring in communication studies. He can be reached at CL784324@wcupa.edu.

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