Analysis. History. Perspective.

Sports Then and Now

The Evolution of Fantasy Sports

Posted on November 09, 2020 by Diogo Voz

Extremely popular among sports fans, fantasy sports take the intense and exciting rush of sports matches and allows the fans to take part in the behind-the-scenes of making a team from scratch. This is a game, as mentioned before, where any player creates an imaginary team with real-life athletes of that sport. All of this works using the stats of real games that are after converted into points, however, the point system is not always the same. Some players or teams of players prefer to have a manager who coordinates the league and makes the attributions. Fantasy sports is a typical game between friends, nonetheless, its popularity grew to the point of becoming a business with a great matter of influence. There are even tools that can give you the advantage over your competitors, like a NFL lineup optimizer. Like everything, behind this simple game, there’s a story of how everything started and how much it grew. Let’s get into it.

The Beginning

There’s some debate between enthusiasts about how it began – football fans say one thing, basketball ones might say a different one, however, its first appearances were after world war II, when it started with a simple selection of players and contests according to their stats. Wilfred Winkenbach decided to write down some of the first rules, in 1962. One year later the first idea of a fantasy league gained life, this league was known as the Greater Oakland Professional Pigskin Prognosticators League. Wilfred was the one who brought the first baseball and gold fantasy league. Known by some as the “father of fantasy leagues”, this was the beginning of something with huge proportions. It was in 1969 that the first public fantasy league was born, meaning a vast step for this game.

Rotisserie System

Years later, a new and essential improvement was brought to life, the Rotisserie system. This system was created for the baseball league and it basically gives the players the choice of choosing one of the major team’s players at a time, and winning points according to their performance. It was after this that fantasy leagues had an outburst. This is just one system created, but the one which probably had the biggest impact on the growth of the game.

The Growth and Popularity

With the growing popularity of this game, a lot of new people began to play and with the burst of the internet, more and more people began to learn about it. In the late ’90s, Yahoo! decided to create a free system, the FSTA. This generated interest in other sports too, making it available to fans of different sports. In 2000, more than 15 million people were playing and investing, turning this into a rich and successful industry.

To These Days

It stopped being just a game between fans and sport lovers, but a more serious business. People all over the world were creating their perfect team, investing and betting, and because of its popularity, the biggest networks dedicated to sports created weekly fantasy programming during the game’s seasons, to help fantasy players to analyze the performances of their teams. NFL Sunday ticket package now has a “fantasy zone”, giving the stats of the day according to the on-going games. A real boost to the game and the members.

In Conclusion

Fantasy sports is one of the biggest sports-related events, and it took a long way until being the popular game that it is these days. Luckily, with all the technological advances, popularity among players, teams, and sports networks, it’s so much easier to learn about it and get started. If you are ready to pick up your favorite athletes from your favorite sport, then I hope this article made you understand a little bit more about this fantasy world. Thank you so much.

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