There is a lot of talk about how lasting effects of the NFL lockout could potentially hurt the NFL’s following and overall income. However, with the possibility of no NFL season comes a serious ripple effect. While some see fantasy football as a silly waste of time that draws people away from family functions and job responsibilities, there’s no disputing the sheer magnitude that the game is having on not only football fans but also the national economy. With an estimated $800 million spent on fantasy leagues alone last season with even more spent on underground money leagues, this “silly’ game makes and breaks a lot of bank accounts. According to a CNBC study, an estimated 21 million people play fantasy football and that number is only expected to grow granted there is football being played. That study also states that 60 percent of fantasy football leagues involve money with the average team costing $60-80.
If the NFL does in fact halt production, numerous networks, retailers, and websites will find themselves at risk of losing millions of dollars. The three big fantasy football providers (Yahoo!, CBS and ESPN) have become accustomed having large sums of money roll in from advertising on their fantasy football formats. If there is no fantasy season, those ads have nowhere to be placed thus creating heavy revenue hits. There are also the media outlets that specialize completely on the game of fantasy football. ESPN as well as other networks have shows and segments that are completely committed to fantasy football from July to January. The lack of a product would surely throw a wrench into the programming of those networks.
Then there are the specialty outlets. Some magazines and websites only exist to produce material about fantasy football. With extensive research of free agent signings, mock drafts and projected stats, it’s likely that these companies are already in production and are creating the outline for their product. However, if the NFL lockout looms longer than expected, there will be no need to buy the magazines or subscribe to the websites. A company with a single unsellable product is likely to fold which means lost money and jobs. The same scenario can be applied to companies that specialize in making fantasy football draft boards, draft kits and trophies.
The same fears that are stalking the NFL are the same fears that are threatening the fantasy football industry. The last thing the game wants is to make fans realize whether or not fantasy football is their passion or just a surmountable habit. Once some casual players don’t have the option of playing the game anymore, they may lose interest and not feel the need to continue playing once it reappears. One thing is for certain though; the fantasy football industry won’t have to worry about losing players to fantasy basketball. Their next season is even more questionable than football’s.
About the Author
Written by John Buffone
John was born in Rural Valley, Pennsylvania. He attended Clarion University and received a degree in Mass Media Arts and Journalism. He currently hosts "The Sports Zone with John Buffone" on AM 1380 WTYM in Kittanning, PA. John is also a sports columnist for the Kittanning Paper and a contributor to Examiner.com, and CatholicSportsJournal.com.