Abstract Fantasy sports are still a relatively new genre of sport. Most of the research and studies regarding the industry are currently taking place and most of the information is still being processed. This study examined the fantasy sports industry by dividing it into four major themes. The exciting development of fantasy sports over the years, the sociological and psychological motives behind participation in fantasy sports, the gambling and business sides of the industry and finally the future of fantasy sports. The findings of this study are designed to expose readers to one of the fastest growing and most exciting niches in all of sports. Keywords: fantasy sports, participation motives, business, gambling
The Fantasy That Changed the World How can the average person own their very own team in any sport, simply escape from reality with one click of a button, fulfill their humanistic desire for competition, have daily opportunities to make money and live out their very own fantasy? The answer is simple, Fantasy Sports. The fantasy sports industry has seen sustainable growth rates of 12% annually over the past six years (Riper, 2012). IBISWorld, a market research organization specializing in long range forecasting of industries and the business environment at large, with an emphasis on providing information for strategic planning and research purposes, projects the fantasy sports industry to continue to grow at an average rate of 9% annually over the next five years (Schmidt). The fantasy sports industry has succeeded in becoming integrated in the way we consume sports on a day to day basis. The low barriers to entry mixed the low risk; high return ambience of the fantasy sports industry has new participants entering all the time. The fantasy sports industry is rapidly becoming one of the most interesting topics in the sports world. Research into this topic has just begun, many of the studies on this topic are less than five years old, however, from my research and for the purpose of this literary review, I have broken down the industry into four main themes; the exciting development of fantasy sports, the underlying sociological and psychological reasons for participation in fantasy sports, the gambling and business side of the industry and finally the future of the industry. A fantasy sport is defined as a game where participants act as owners to build a team that competes against other fantasy owners based on the statistics generated by the real individual players or teams of a professional sport (Why Fantasy Sports is not Gambling). The most common variant converts statistical performance into points that are compiled and totaled according to a roster selected by the owner. In all fantasy sports there is the ability to trade, cut and sign players, like a real sports owner would (Cade, 2012). Wilfred Winkenbach is credited with creating the first fantasy game, in the latter part of the 1950’s. Wilfred created fantasy golf, in which each participant would select a team of professional golfers and the participant whose team had the lowest combined total strokes at the end of the tournament would win (Walker, 2006). Golf was an easy sport to translate for fantasy purposes because it only required adding together the total scores of the chosen golf professionals. In 1960, Harvard University professor, William Gamson started the “Baseball Seminar” where colleagues would form rosters that earned points on the players’ final standings in certain statistical categories (Schwarz, 2005). Around the same time, The Greater Oakland Professional Pigskin Prognosticators League began, using a similar format as Gamson but in football (Saraceno, 2006). Many experts in the fantasy sports industry believe that the hobby was truly born at this time in Oakland.
The landmark development in the fantasy sports industry came with the creation of…