by Christian Milan
Fantasy Sports. 60 years of entertainment and bragging rights continuing on with new rules, players, apps, and, in some cases, punishments.
The wide range of sports that have been adapted to the Fantasy format provides an opportunity for every different type of sports fan to participate in this pastime. With seemingly endless sports seasons occurring throughout the year, it is easy for players to always be engaged with this hobby.
According to Statista, approximately 50.4 million users participate in Fantasy Sports across North America. This large amount of users shows how integrated this hobby is in the lives of sports enjoyers.
The concept of betting money and imposing punishments for participation in these Fantasy leagues is relatively new but has become widely popular. The question is: is this new way of playing fantasy sports taking it too far?
Entrance fees and money pots are the new norm for participating in various types of Fantasy leagues. Whether it be fantasy football or fantasy women’s basketball, fantasy managers are quickly incorporating and requiring the concept of playing for money. This can make fantasy sports into an expensive hobby if you like taking your chances on the usually inconsistent performances of real-life players. Having to stay informed on the players' statistics and performances becomes increasingly more important when money is on the line.
While these amounts of money are usually small and enforced for the purpose of ensuring engagement within the league, it can create bad habits for players and can potentially create an addiction.
Have you ever had the worst team in a fantasy league? For those with punishment leagues, it is something to avoid at all costs. Ending the season with the worst record or finishing last in the ”loser’s bracket” comes with a heavy cost. Fulfilling these punishments can include eating spicy foods, participating in an embarrassing joke, etc. With this being said, to join these leagues, it is a clear acceptance of the possibility to be the one to complete the punishment.
Marco Salazar, vice president of the Fantasy Sports Club in Columbus, states, “I believe it is a positive thing overall. Although there are some negatives like gambling or punishments those things are all up to those participating. Overall, I think fantasy sports are an excellent way to bring friends together and make sports even more fun.”
Overall, Fantasy sports has not become a dangerous or negative hobby, but it is important to recognize and understand these new trends. There are many timeless and apparent benefits for sports fans who participate. Being able to stay up to date on your favorite sports every season is one of the best parts of playing. Supporting your favorite players and teams will never change.