The Fantasy Sports Trade Association (FSTA) is meeting in New York this week, and one of the key points to take away from the event, is just how massive the industry has become over the last few years.
Fantasy Sports have evolved from social-groups and small community-basesd websites, to a billion dollar industry. Not all of that attention has been for the FSTA’s benefit of course, with NYC itself battling sites like DraftKings and FanDuel over the legality of Fantasy Sports betting.
It’s been reported that fantasy sports participation in North America has reached 57.4-million players, this according to research conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs for the FSTA. The numbers, along with a few key stats on the survey, were released today during the FSTA Summer Conference.
With almost 60M players in North America alone, the FSTA says that it has reached a record number of players. The findings indicate a 1% increase over last year’s participation.
“After two years of rapid growth fueled by the innovation of daily fantasy sports it’s a true testament to the loyalty and passion of fantasy sports players that so many recent adoptees have become regular players,” said FSTA President Paul Charchian. “Fantasy sports remains a social activity, made more enjoyable when playing with friends. That is why we are not surprised that the season-long game is continuing to grow comparably to the newer game formats.”
The FTSA and the research team surveyed 18 states, and in those states it found that 61% of consumers support a law that makes playing fantasy sports for cash prizes legal.
The same study found 54% of consumers would cancel a league supported media service if not for fantasy sports. Those media services included TV channels, satellite service and apps, but the study did not break-down those exact details. Obviously almost all of the participants would delete some apps if online-betting on Fantasy Sports became illegal, so the numbers could be a little one-sided when compared to cancelled TV services or cancelled satellite providers. The fact remains simple however, and the study shows that cancelling Fantasy Sports betting will have a immediate ripple effect on the developers, companies and services that have built a revenue stream out of the rising popularity of Fantasy Sports gambling.
The same study also found that 55% of players admit they are playing more fantasy sports “due to technological innovations including the ability to play on a mobile device.” This is great for Apple, Google and Amazon that are happy to sell you the apps, while services like PayPal and Google Play are ready to manage your winnings and handle your transactions.
The average number of teams managed per player has also increased, jumping from 5.8 last year to 7.0 this year. To keep things simple, the boom is still in full-swing at the FSTA.
One thing to consider is the positive impact that Fantasy Sports has on TV ratings, and on the clubs themselves. The studio found that 64% of the people said they are watching more live sports because of fantasy sports.
While the study did not release the total number of people surveyed, if the statistic holds up to a broad enough audience, it would be another reason for major cable-service providers and satellite providers to back the continued legalization of Fantasy Sports betting. Cable companies and ISPs spend millions of dollars each year on lobbyist (though usually battling the FTC) but that political clout could be used to benefit Fantasy Sports.
Ratings aren’t the only reason why cable companies might want Fantasy Sports to remain legal across the country, DraftKings and Fanduel spent millions last year on advertising, partnerships and sponsorships. In the end Fantasy Sports are certainly still on the rise, and as each state considers the pros and cons of keeping the service legal, it seems more Americans each year will be supporting the practice.