The National Football League’s season started two weeks ago, and fans everywhere have taken to the internet to compete in fantasy football.
As of last month, 56.8 million people have played fantasy sports this year alone, up from 44 million the year before, according to a study done by the Fantasy Sports Trade Association.
Considering the enormous popularity of fantasy football (football holds 69 percent of all fantasy sports, according to therichest.com), that number has likely grown astronomically between last month and Sept. 10, when the NFL’s season began.
John Brown University is not exempt from this statistic. Sophomore engineering major Jed Warren said that many of his friends on campus are involved in a league.
“I live in J. Alvin, and most of the guys are in at least one fantasy league or another,” Warren said. “At least on the first floor, everyone I know is.”
With such massive popularity, one might be inclined to ask the question: what is the draw to fantasy football? According to sophomore construction management major, Jacob Rodgers, fantasy football is a great way for people to get involved in the game.
“I pay more attention to the games,” Rodgers said. “At least for me, it’s like, ‘hey, did you watch that game or the other?’ You get more involved in football.”
Senior communication major, Zach Koym, had similar thoughts about playing. He also stated that it is a good way to show allegiance to players who do not necessarily play for a team that they root for.
“My team is the Cowboys, but I can’t play with every member of the Cowboys because they’re not all that great,” Koym said. “It’s a great way to pick and choose your players and kind of study how players are playing. Instead of just getting to know just one team, it’s a great way to branch out and understand football.”
Warren mentioned that fantasy football, which follows the schedule of the NFL (in which each team plays one game a week), is also potentially appealing due to the fact that it is less time consuming than other sports that have more games in a season.
“I’m a big Fantasy Basketball guy, where you have to set your lineups every day,” he said. “For fantasy football, you just have to set your lineups once a week.”
There is also an aspect of community involved in playing fantasy football with friends or family. Some people, like senior social studies major Audrey Macy, primarily play for this aspect.
“I feel very neutral toward fantasy football,” Macy said. “I’m very positive about spending time with my family. Fantasy football? If that’s the way they want to do it, that’s fine with me.”
For those who are more interested in the sport, it helps people connect by playing games.
“It does bring people together because now in J. Alvin, all the guys are out by the TV watching the games, whereas without Fantasy Football, the guys wouldn’t be watching,” Warren said. “It gives them a vested interest.”
The community aspect often takes a competitive edge as well.
“There’s always some (aspect) of “Ha! Beat you!” involved,” Rodgers said.
Even Macy, who is inexperienced in football, enjoys this aspect of the game, even though she said herself that she is not a particularly competitive person.
“I do it so that I can make fun of people, and say, ‘you got beat by me,’” she said. Fantasy football is a way that many use to enjoy community over professional sports.
“It’s a great way to come together, show your love for football and it’s just a great way to interact with your friends,” Koym said.