As training camp and preseason games give way to the regular season, so too does fantasy football. CivicScience has been tracking people’s participation in fantasy sports leagues since 2015.
Over 200,000 US adults have responded to the question.
17% of US adults played or play fantasy sports. But, as sports followers change, so too does the makeup of fantasy sports players. CivicScience compared people who have picked up fantasy sports in the past year to those who have played before August 2017. Compared to this year over previous, fantasy players are less likely to be fans of the NFL.
Before the 2017/2018 football season, fantasy sports players were 4x more likely to be fans of the NFL. In the past year, that number has dropped. While it’s worth noting that fantasy sports players are still much more likely to follow football than the general population, this drop is still notable.
Where have sports attentions turned in the past year? People who play fantasy sports now are more likely to be following college football than previously. In addition, they’re more likely to attend sporting events.
So, the new fantasy sports participants might be more invested in live sports overall but have less of an interest in the NFL. Considering the overall drop in interest in the NFL, this doesn’t come as a surprise.
What’s surprising is the spending habits of new fantasy sports players. Online fantasy sports sites like DraftKings and FanDuel have garnered interest for their estimated revenue from players, but the trend could hit a snag. People who have picked up fantasy sports in the past year are more likely to be diligent savers. While they might be playing, they may not be paying.
Before 2017, people who play fantasy sports were less likely to manage their money “very well.” Today’s fantasy sports player is more likely to be price-conscious when shopping for all products.
The new fantasy sports player is following a wider variety of sports and engaging with them more actively. However, their spending behaviors may prove troublesome for the new online fantasy sports gambling sites.
We’ll just have to see how this trend plays out.