Fantasy Sports: Where is this going?
Fantasy sports are hot. Its trade association estimates that 16 million American adults (read: men) play, including 22% of males aged 16-49, and the numbers are swelling. During football season, ESPN’s score ticker seems more tailored to fantasy players than to anyone else, and the NFL’s own website has a fantasy section.
In case you aren’t familiar with the concept, in a fantasy league, a person picks players from a given sports league, and the statistics they compile in real life count towards his team. The person whose team has the best statistics at the end of the season wins. I’m a minor player; I typically have one team for baseball and one for football, and each receives about twenty minutes of my time each week. Others field multiple squads and spend several hours perusing stats and offering trades so they can jump on unknown players before everyone else.
Fantasy ball is a decent conversation starter among guys. A league win can earn you esteem among your friends and $100-200 if a pool is involved. It’s an innovative way to channel your interest in sports. Still, isn’t there some way for serious players to use their time in a more constructive manner?
Indeed there is: the stock market. Like fantasy sports, trading is about exploiting the difference between perceived and actual value. Just as a serious Wall Street player balances his portfolio with several different kinds of investments, a fantasy player has to make a team which can score well in a broad range of disparate categories. Both require a good deal of research into numbers, organization strategies, and employee movement, but this is now much easier to do in each pursuit thanks to the Internet. Most importantly, if you invest well, you can make a lot more money than you would from your friends, and with the world economy growing so much, most people are winning anyway. It’s also a little easier to justify to girls. So if you’re tired of worrying about Donovan McNabb’s knee for twenty minutes a day, I recommend saving some money for a game with a bigger payoff. Yahoo! Sports has been training your canny mind for this moment.