Indiana Daily Student

Study analyzes sports fantasy leagues

Sports fantasy leagues have emerged as another popular marketing tool for professional sports teams and the media organizations that provide team coverage. Ever wonder who else is playing and why they play?\nIn a survey conducted by the Sports and Entertainment Academy in the Kelley School of Business, these questions and others were answered by students and executives aged 25 to 35 in the sports and entertainment industry. The survey found that 80 percent of respondents participated in fantasy football leagues in the last two years, outdistancing the closest pursuers, baseball and golf online games, which had less than 40 percent participation. The survey also found that more than half of the respondents participated in two different fantasy sports in the last two years.\n"Reasons for participating in fantasy sports leagues were headed by promoting camaraderie and friendship, such as sharing time and experiences with friends and having something to talk about with friends and co-workers, including 'talking smack,' a phrase frequently used by respondents," Thomas Bowers, co-director of the Sports and Entertainment Academy said.\nSome respondents cited the importance of maintaining old friendships with people who have gone their separate ways. About 90 percent of the respondents cited friendship as a reason to join a fantasy league, and most of them listed it first. About 53 percent play with co-workers or friends at work. Sixty-seven percent play with friends away from work.\nClose behind in importance was having fun, listed by almost 60 percent of respondents. Also important was the thrill of competition, including bragging rights and the challenge of running a team, cited also by 56 percent of those who participated. Being a fan of a sport provided encouragement for joining a fantasy league to almost 40 percent of respondents. This reason was especially strong for golf and hockey fans.\nThe prizes paid by fantasy sports leagues to winning teams was a small or nonexistent incentive for most participants, mentioned by less than 40 percent of respondents. Even respondents who mentioned this factor ranked it low or said the cost of phone calls to friends was far greater than any winnings. \nSurvey participants in fantasy sports leagues are overwhelmingly male. Fewer than 10 percent of respondents were female. Also, while about 41 percent of all male respondents joined a fantasy league, just over 10 percent of women joined. Respondents who have not joined a fantasy league in the last two years were often adamant in their refusal to participate, citing lack of interest, the demands of real life and lack of time to follow the players.\nWith rare exceptions, fantasy league owners devote only a few hours weekly to league play, typically ranging from one to four hours per week per league, with an average of 1.7 hours and a median of two hours per week per league.\nAt work, almost half the respondents spent at least an hour each week per league. The average was 0.7 hours and the median was one hour per week per league. About 20 percent of the respondents listed one of the reasons they joined a fantasy league as passing time at work or having something to do at work.\nTime spent at home was slightly higher than the time devoted at work, averaging just over one hour per week per league. The median was one hour.

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