Fantasy football remains the undisputed king of all fantasy sports, being about five times as popular as its nearest rival, fantasy baseball.

About 1 in 10 Americans (ages 13+) say they’ve played fantasy football within the past year. That’s about twice as many people as all other fantasy sports combined.

Rebased solely among NFL fans, about 14% of respondents say they’ve taken part in a fantasy football contest over the past year.

The State of Fantasy Football in the 2020 NFL Season

Among NFL fans only, 13% of respondents say they have played or plan to play a fantasy football contest of some kind this season — whether that’s season-long or daily, free or paid.

The most popular type of fantasy league among NFL fans is the free season-long league, which has attracted about 7% of all NFL fans this season. Paid season-long leagues were slightly less popular. Meanwhile, daily fantasy contests are much less popular than season-long affairs.

The Average Fantasy Football Player in 2020 (And Their Shoes)

About three-quarters (74%) of fantasy players are men, and two-thirds (67%) fall between the ages of 25 and 54. They’re more likely than others to live in urban areas, and much more likely to hold college degrees and earn more than $100,000 per year. 

Of course, the obvious brand preferences are there. They’re three times as likely as non-players to like Red Bull, and about twice as favorable toward Buffalo Wild Wings as non-players. 

But most interestingly, it turns out that fantasy football players have some really strong opinions about athletic shoes compared to the rest of the U.S. population. 

In the athletic shoe category, Nike — the overall U.S. athletic shoe sales leader, according to Statista — actually performs worse among fantasy football players in net favorability than the brand does among non-players. Meanwhile, fantasy players were twice as likely as non-players to view Under Armour shoes favorably. Adidas received high marks from this group as well. Skechers and Puma, however, didn’t fare so well.

As for where they’re buying those shoes, the answer for many is likely Zappos, the online shoe marketplace. But 4 in 10 fantasy football players also report favorability toward Dick’s Sporting Goods — head-and-shoulders above non-players.

The good news for Dick’s: fantasy footballers are more comfortable than non-players about getting back to shopping in stores as soon as possible amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The bad news for Dick’s: these folks were also much more likely than others to have bought clothing and shoes on Amazon over the past month. They’re also more likely than others to do most of their shopping online. 

Possibly owing to their higher-than-average incomes and stronger-than-average opinions, fantasy football players are also much more likely than non-players to rank “brand” as being more important than “price” when shopping.

Overall, fantasy football players are highly opinionated about and loyal to their favorite brands, which include Under Armour, Adidas, and — to a lesser extent — Nike. What’s more, they’re more likely than others to be ready to go back to shopping in retail stores. However, any potential boost that could give athletic-wear retailers may be mitigated by the tendency of this group to buy their gear online.