The rise of fantasy gaming
A fantasy game (also known less commonly as rotisserie or even roto) is a kind of game, often played with the Internet, where players build imaginary or virtual groups of actual players of a professional game. These teams compete depending on the statistical operation of these players’ in actual games. These point systems can be simple enough to be manually calculated by a”team commissioner” who coordinates and manages the overall league, or points can be compiled and calculated using computers tracking actual results of the professional sport.
Commissioner.com was sold to SportsLine, late in 1999, for $31 million in cash and stock. By 2003, Commissioner.com helped SportsLine generate $11 million from fantasy revenue. Commissioner.com is now the fantasy sports engine behind the CBSSports.com fantasy area (after SportsLine was sold to CBS in 2004).
RotoNews.com launched in January 1997 and published its first player note on February 16, 1997. Within two years RotoNews had become one of the top ten most trafficked sports sites on the web, according to Media Metrix, ranking higher than such sites as NBA.com. RotoNews.com was sold to Broadband Sports in 1999 and later survived as RotoWire.com.
The growth in fantasy sports revenue attracted larger media players. Yahoo.com added fantasy sports in 1999 – a new business model for fantasy sports. A trade group for the industry, the Fantasy Sports Trade Association was formed in 1998.
Other entries to the market during this era included Fanball.com, launched in 1999 by the parent company of Fantasy Football Weekly.
An early survey of the fantasy sports market in the U.S. in 1999 showed 29.6 million people age 18 and older played fantasy games. However, that figure was reduced in later years when it was determined the survey also included people who play NCAA bracket pools, which are not fantasy sports, since they involved picking teams, not individual players.
While fantasy sports were fueled by the dot-com boom of the Internet, there was a turbulent period when many of the high-flying Internet companies of the era crashed in 2001. Fanball.com went bankrupt in 2001, (later to re-emerge in 2001).
There were also different business models. RotoNews.com launched the Web’s first free commissioner service in 1998, quickly becoming the largest league management service.
Two years later the trend reversed. Sportsline moved back to a pay model for commissioner services (which it largely still has today). TheHuddle.com, a free site since 1997, started to charge for information. RotoWire.com moved from a free model to a pay model in 2001 as well. Despite the economic instability, fantasy sports started to become a mainstream hobby. In 2002, the NFL found that the average male surveyed spent 6.6 hours a week watching the NFL on TV; fantasy players surveyed said they watched 8.4 hours of NFL per week. “This is actually the first time we have managed to demonstrate especially that dream play drives TV viewing,” said Chris Russo, the NFL’s senior vice president. The NFL began running promotional television ads for fantasy football featuring current players for the first time. Previously fantasy sports had largely been seen in a negative light by the major sports leagues.
Fantasy sports continued to grow with a 2003 Fantasy Sports Trade Association survey showing 15 million people playing fantasy football and spending about $150 a year on average, making it a $1.5 billion industry. More recently a 2013 article by Forbes.com shows 32 million Americans spend $467 per person or about $15 billion in total playing. https://www.forbes.com/sites/briangoff/2013/08/20/the-70-billion-fantasy-football-market/#30a3709d755c
In autumn 2008, the Montana Lottery, one of only four U.S. states to legalize sports betting at the time, began offering fantasy sports wagering for the first time.
Since 2012 there has been a boom of apps being built for fantasy.
Daily fantasy sports
Daily fantasy sports (or DFS) contests are played across shorter periods of time, such as a single week of a season, rather than an entire season. Daily fantasy games are typically played as”competitions” subject to an entry fee, which funds an advertised prize pool and an administrative fee is partially collected as revenue for the service.
Daily fantasy sports began to emerge in 2007 with the launch of Fantasy Sports Live. In 2008, NBC launched SnapDraft; and FanDuel quickly became the prominent DFS site shortly after it launched in 2009. DFS experienced a major increase in prominence in 2014 and 2015 with the dramatic growth of two competing services: DraftKings and FanDuel. Both received venture capital investments from various firms, including sports teams and broadcasters, and became known for running aggressive marketing campaigns with an emphasis on large cash prizes.
The legality of daily fantasy games has been challenged, with critics, as well as the state of Nevada, arguing that they closer-resemble proposition wagering on athlete performance than a traditional fantasy sports game, while DraftKings’ CEO has known its matches as being like internet poker. DFS suppliers have mentioned the UIGEA’s exemptions of fantasy sports because being a general exclusion due to their legality; their legality is subject to the way individual nations classify a game of chance.
Daily Fantasy Sports were not officially available in 5 countries [Iowa, Arizona, Louisiana, Montana, Washington] who have legislation saying a game which involves any opportunity is betting. Additionally many other countries have cloudy legal environments for compensated fantasy sports competitions with negative AG remarks or in the event of Nevada, necessitating a gaming permit. Because of this, Draftkings and Fanduel are busy in just 41 states. Neither is now accepting clients in Washington, Idaho, Montana, Arizona, Hawaii, Louisiana or even Nevada. Furthermore, Fanduel failed to accept clients from Texas from 2016 to 2018, but reversed it is standing and began offering competitions again. In his closing remarks in the January 2016 FTSA seminar in Dallas, Fantasy Sports Trade Association President Paul Charchian stated”We need to formally legalize fantasy play in 50 states.”
But because first legal struggles, 21 countries have since enacted legislation confirming that DFS competitions are lawful games of skill. States like Iowa and Alabama enacted legislation to permit DFS and compensated fantasy sports competitions in 2019. Louisiana passed a voter referendum in 2018 to let paid fantasy sports competitions, but wants to pass a legislation to control the business.