Everyone has a fantasy. For many that fantasy includes owning your own sports franchise. Well here's your chance.
Fantasy sports gives everyone who has ever had a dream of owning their own franchise an opportunity to experience what it's like to act as general manager for an organization all their own.
Since the introduction of fantasy sports in the 1960's (prior to computers) the hobby has grown astronomically into one of the worlds most lucrative marketing tools for sports. It has changed fans perspectives dramatically for better or for worse.
Forbes Magazine estimates that 32 million Americans (numbers that do not seem to be declining) spend $467 per person or about $15 billion in total playing. Roughly, $11 billion flows toward football. These figures don't count ad revenue for fantasy hosting sites. The NFL's annual revenue falls just under $10 billion currently. So the "derivative" market has grown larger than the foundational market.
Aside from the monetary aspect, I for one believe that fantasy sports has not only given sports fans a way to interact with one another on a level never seen before, but it has created the super fan who is unbiased to his team and their opponents. It has created a new era of sports analysts who take into consideration statistics and matchups on a level never imagined.
Years ago the average sports fan was blindfolded by the spectacle that their team would win games, make playoffs and ultimately win the super bowl. But in years past if fans saw their teams decline and consistently lose, they lost interest in the sport and stopped watching that year.
Since the introduction of fantasy sports, sports fans have taken a whole new perspective on individual athletes, trades and the ultimate success of a team through individual players. It has captivated viewers, drawing them passionately into every game whether or not their team is winning.
Following the introduction of this somewhat juvenile entertainment scheme, not only has the number of sports fans grown dramatically, but the type of fans have evolved to include women, children and even high level executives, who before had little time to devote to sports. The excitement behind every individual game has grown beyond comprehension.
Before the growth of the fantasy world, owners were limited to headliner sports like baseball, football, and basketball. Now there are more fantasy sports options that anyone could imagine. From NASCAR, to golf, no sport goes untouched. So no matter what sport you are into there is an option for everyone.
So why play fantasy?
I think that it is important that people become part of something new. Even if that something is on the Internet. New experiences keep life exciting and can develop unique connections between the otherwise unknown.
However, it is also important to keep things in perspective and not get carried away like some people can do with entertainment. In my eyes it is no different that television and Facebook. They are all useful, fun, engaging tools that have good intentions but if abused and not controlled can consume someone and become a hinderance on reality.
I challenge those young and old who are sports fans and have not ventured into the world of fantasy sports to vacation into the "fantasy" realm. Expand your horizon and entertain yourself beyond "the tube." If you find it to cumbersome and juvenile, quit. Unlike modern cell-phone bills and television subscriptions there is no long term commitment or costly start-up fees (it's free). So what do you have to lose?
Growing up as a child there was a motto at my school. All over the halls and in teachers classrooms you would see the words, "Carpe Diem," which is Latin for "seize the day." The full length statement written in Horace's 75 Book, book one, number 11 reads, "Carpe diem quam minimum credula postero," which translates to "Seize the day, put very little trust in tomorrow (the future)"
To many opportunities are missed when people hesitate or pass-up opportunities because it is something they are unfamiliar with. I for one think being uncomfortable and feeling less assured can be a good thing. If everything were easy and comfortable I doubt we would learn much or grow as individuals.
If you are afraid it is to late this year, it is never to late. You can sign up now (for free) at NFL.com, Yahoo, ESPN or other available hosts. You can currently participate in private or public leagues and online drafts are still taking place for fantasy football (playoffs).
I know this conversation alone can be difficult for some. However, to those that are listening and have always been interested in an alternative perspective, or wanted to try something new, I promote those attempts and stand by your enlightenments and failures. Success and ultimate enlightenment comes from experiencing something out of your normal routine. Good luck in your ventures and remember "Carpe Diem."