Fantasy Sports Market Research

Fantasy Sports Deliver Desirable Consumers

Monday, November 17th, 2008

Fantasy players tend to spend more money, particularly on the products commonly marketed to sports fans, according to a recent study by Ipsos Public Affairs.

The study, commissioned by the Fantasy Sports Association, determined that 73 percent of fantasy sports participants had bought beer within a month of the survey. Compare that number to 47 percent of the general population and even just 52 percent of all sports fans, and you get a good example of the buying power that the average fantasy consumer brings.

“We need to tell Madison Avenue that we’re not just this small, nichey geek audience,” Greg Ambrosius, FSA president and editor of Fantasy Sports Magazine, told Sports Business Journal. “This gives us the next step into really seeing who the fantasy consumer is. In the ’90s, we were often positioned simply as fantasy geeks. But looking at this, we’re really big-time consumers.”

This study supports previous findings in similar studies, including those conducted by Ipsos for the Fantasy Sports Trade Association. Especially at a time when consumers are increasingly nervous about their spending habits and companies are more cautious with their ad dollars, it helps to realize the kind of bang that can reside in a fantasy buck.


Fantasy Sports Welcomed at Research Forum

Friday, October 31st, 2008

Twice a year, the Center for Digital Transformation at Penn State University holds a research forum and invites speakers to address a gathering of member companies on “emerging trends in technology and business.” This fall, the emerging trend was fantasy sports, and the speaker was Jeff Thomas, CEO of (which owns this site) and president of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association.

Thomas’ speech, titled “Fantasy Sports: Web Marketing’s Holy Grail,” provided corporate decision makers with an overview of the engaged fantasy sports consumer and the value of fantasy sports as a promotional tool. Thomas believes that all fantasy sports business leaders need to help spread the word to educate brand managers, business leaders, and sports marketers.

“Guests reported to me that the fantasy sports market was far bigger than they had thought, and Jeff’s statistics on user engagement definitely got people’s attention,” said Dr. John Jordan, executive director of the CDT.

Past speakers at the forum have included representatives of Google, Ernst & Young, IBM, Wachovia, Booz Allen Hamilton, Gartner, and Xerox.

Thomas has shared fantasy sports industry insight at Conferences in Montreal and Vancouver, and recently spoke to sports marketing students at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School.


Females Increase Their Gaming Presence

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

The online gaming industry is gaining women, particularly at each end of the age spectrum, according to studies by comScore.

According to the research, passed along by eMarketer, female participation in online gaming overall rose 27 percent in August from the same month in 2007, totaling nearly 43 million users. The particular age demographics that showed the largest growth, however, may carry the biggest surprise.

The largest increase, 55 percent over August 2007, came among girls aged 12 to 17, according to the report. The group that exhibited the second highest growth rate was that of women aged 55 to 64. That crowd still presented the fewest total gamers among the six groups reported on, but it’s certainly worth noting that participation increased by 43 percent among the AARP-eligible.

Although the study specifically applies to online gaming and doesn’t touch fantasy participation, the news that more women are online playing should certainly interest anyone trying to grow the market for their online product. Whether you’re seeking more players to take part in your fantasy golf competition or trying to reach out to a new set of advertisers, women are proving that they deserve your attention.

As you can see in the table at the bottom of this article (which accompanied the eMarketer report) the age group that ranked third in growth was 18 to 24. If you combine them with the 12-to-17 range, you find nearly 10 million young females playing online games. Further research by the Pew Internet & American Life Project determined that more than half of teen girl gamers include sports and strategy games in their online play. On top of that, the Pew findings indicate that socialization is a significant motivator for these online pursuits. If there are two things that we know drive fantasy participation, it’s socializing with your leaguemates and taking control of an entity (team, business, etc.).

These rising numbers of female — particularly young female — gamers can be seen both as motivation and fuel for the emergence of female-targeted fantasy competitions that steer away from sports. As has been reported on this site, there are now multiple outlets pursuing the female market with celebrity- and fashion-based games.

Of course, to assume that all women are primarily interested in clothing lines and movie stars would be foolish. This year’s Ipsos study for the Fantasy Sports Trade Association found that 20 to 25 percent of fantasy sports players are women. Especially in this day when it’s easier for a female athletic role model to emerge, that section of the fantasy sports market could be capable of growth as well.

As you plan for the next few years, make sure that you don’t overlook the feminine side.


Fantasy Football Could Be Good for the Office

Saturday, August 23rd, 2008

Our response to the poor “research” by Challenger, Gray & Christmas that has fantasy football costing employers billions each season ran earlier this week, but we’re not yet ready to drop the subject.

Dr. Kim Beason, who knows a thing or two about fantasy sports research, has this response to the $9 billion folks:

Challenger leans heavily on internet use as the waster of most time. Clearly, much time at work is not “work.” If someone does primarily work on the computer, they can multitask easily, limiting the impact of online fantasy sport consumption. Furthermore, Much fantasy sport talk around the computer “wastes” the same amount of time as any other frivolous chat, gossip, etc.

Therefore, much of Challenger’s “waste” occurs regardless of fantasy sport. In reality, fantasy sport in the workplace does take time away from production, but the tradeoff is significant. Undeniably, fantasy sport is a significant workplace dynamic.

Work time is wasted by consumers playing fantasy football, but, once again, the focus must also include the positive, which include building social networks (a key to the Japanese-style of management, and we see what that has done for them!).

Less than 30 percent of workers say the time they “waste” interferes with their work productivity. A very significant number (53 percent) state that fantasy sport increases camaraderie, and 48 percent have made friends playing fantasy sport in the workplace. My comments to media sources in the past have gone something like this …

“Fantasy sport is a dynamic that has developed within the workplace over the past 10 years. Friendships, workplace camaraderie, business contacts and fun offset the amount of productivity lost. Most productivity lost would happen regardless of fantasy sport participation through gossip, computer games, daydreaming and similar outlets. However, fantasy sport appears to not have as high a degree of negative impact as the other ‘time wasters.’ Conversely, it has increased the cohesiveness of workers and thus must improve work productivity, decrease absenteeism and sick leave and, most importantly, develop social networks that support organizational and interorganizational relations and growth.”