Explaining the mutually benefiting relationship between fantasy sports and sports betting

The relation between fantasy sports and sport betting has been heavily discussed due to their similar structures. In fact, it turns out that they are so similar that they are mutually benefitting. In this article, we will explain and discuss the relationship in more detail in order to understand the mutual growth of the two markets.

Since the birth of fantasy sports in the 1960s, the fantasy sports market has grown in rapid pace to a global phenomenon. Today, the branch has millions of players worldwide with a generously positive growth estimation carved out for the next five years. This is in part because of their relationship with online casino and betting services, which together lower the threshold into the world of sports for casual fans.

Recruiting tool for casual and younger audiences

The fantasy sports market has been called a recruiting tool for sports at large, as both fantasy leagues and sports betting provide a fun way to learn more about sports. This is particularly true for ‘casual’ fans and younger fans, as the gaming approach might feel more easily digestible and more interactive than simply learning all there is about a team or series the traditional way.

TikTok-ization and micro-betting

Some argue that the reason why fantasy leagues and betting has become such an efficient “recruiting tool” for the sports market is because of a cultural “TikTok-ization”. This generally refers to the shortened time span and mass-information culture that is prevalent in social media culture, which affects the way people cope with information outside of apps such as Instagram or TikTok.

The shortened attention span has therefore also affected the way people are betting. Rather than making predictive bets before competitions that simply focus on the general outcome of the games, live- and micro-betting has grown in popularity. This includes betting during the game and betting on events related to individual players or other specific game happenings such as soccer hattricks or goal gestures.

Interlinked target groups

However, the relationship between fantasy sports and betting goes beyond havng similar effects on the sports market. According to data from the official Fantasy Sports and Gaming Association (FSGA), the two groups are made up of almost identical demographics as well. Both markets are made up of 80% male users, and half of their users are between the ages 18-34. Furthermore, FSGA’s data showed that the two groups are highly likely to participate in both markets: 78% of fantasy sports players have participated in betting, and 5% of bettors have participated in fantasy sports.

These statistics are based on data from 2018-2019, and so it is likely that the two markets are even more interrelated today as sports gambling is being legalized in more and more areas. This is particularly true in North America, which is widely recognized as the largest markets for esports such as betting and fantasy sports.