Is Fantasy Football in Danger of Declining Like the NFL?
It’s no secret that NFL viewership has dipped considerably this year, which was bound to happen after all the negative press the league has been getting.
From domestic abuse, concussion problems, offseason legal issues for players to Colin Kaepernick-led National Anthem protests, the NFL is reportedly losing thousands and thousands of viewers.
Is Fantasy Football also in danger of declining over the next few years? Will we see a correlation between fewer fans watching the games to go along with fewer fans playing Fantasy Football?
It stands to reason that it will happen, but I’m going to explain how we shouldn’t just assume the hobby is going to thin out.
6 Reasons Why Fantasy Football Will Not Decline in Popularity
None of these reasons are scientific, by any means, but I do think they hold water in this argument that Fantasy Football will actually increase in numbers.
Generations Are Passing It On
Minors participating in Fantasy Sports will, without question, increase over the coming years. Decades ago, I predicted this hobby would explode because generations would now be teaching it to the younger generations. This is unlike any generation before us. Our parents taught us how to play sports and how to watch sports. Now, we’re able to teach our kids how to play Fantasy Sports.
Those kids will soon be having kids and teaching them how to play Fantasy Sports, which means the participation is going to grow exponentially.
Fantasy Football is Partly Why NFL Viewership Numbers Are Down
Who wants to watch a three-hour NFL game on one network Sunday afternoons, when you’re team’s not playing of course, as opposed to watching the NFL RedZone Channel all afternoon? We want to see all of the games at once because we’re all playing Fantasy Football.
Continually Morphing Games
Like it or not, gambling has received a huge influx of patrons in recent years, at least as “gambling” has been defined by several attorney generals. Of course, Fantasy Football fans disagree with this notion, and rightfully so, considering it does take skill to win a yearly league – and Daily Fantasy Football leagues.
But it’s those DFS leagues that suddenly created a completely different style of Fantasy play in the past five years. Expect new games and new iterations of our hobby.
The NFL Has Been Cultivating the Wrong Fans
Just think about how the NFL has been marketing itself over the past 10 years. They’re going from one extreme to the other in hopes of bringing in fans from many different other arenas. Whether we’re talking about #Pinktober and all the pinkwashing the NFL has been doing for their product in hopes of attracting female fans, or the Vince McMahon-ing of the NFL Draft, holding it over the course of three days in a heavily sanitized marketing event.
If the NFL is losing fans, it makes sense that the very fans they’re trying to acquire are starting to see through their façade, considering all the public relations issues they’ve had because of their domestic abuse episodes. In other words, I don’t believe they’re losing as many Fantasy fans as they are peripheral fans.
Fantasy Football Marries Jocks and Nerds
This is a silly reason, of course, but look at how the world has gone from muscle strength to mental strength in the past 100 years (especially in the past 20 years). When kids used to grow up only to work in factories decades ago, they are now growing up and hoping to work on websites or apps. Even those with fewer advantages have more opportunities than they did in the past. So I submit that as the country gets nerdier, they’ll appreciate statistics and analytics more, making Fantasy Football a fun exercise.
Fantasy Football is the Easiest Fantasy Game to Learn
Fantasy Football will continue to attract the most minors because it’s the easiest game to understand. Each NFL team has just one game per week (unlike all other team sports), and scoring is cumulative, as opposed to quantitative, like Fantasy Baseball. That means it’s easier to calculate and it’s easier to know who’s winning and who’s losing at all times, as opposed to Rotisserie scoring. Plus, since Fantasy Football is still most popular game among adults, it stands to reason they are helping their kids play in that hobby more than they would another hobby.
Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan, Getty Images
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