Fantasy leagues have been absolutely killing it in the US – some of the biggest such as DraftKings and FanDuel in some regards are bigger than the betting market and although many services such as these ones aren’t blocked by any regulation, fantasy leagues to many don’t seem like gambling so get a pass in how they operate. But the growth is starting to spread, fantasy leagues are starting to pop up in countries all over the world including the UK and finding increasing success as many aim to win the big jackpots and become one of the many huge success stories that can be found in testimonials of these services.
An estimated over 60 million players participate in fantasy leagues within the US each year, with the average annual amount spent is closing in on $600 per person, with almost 70% of players participating in paid leagues – with so many sports taking place, the NHL, NBA, MLS, NFL – all the acronymed games represented on all the platforms, it’s clear why it’s so huge. Here in the UK, we mostly only have football to fall back on as the biggest of the fantasy leagues but as larger publications start to put their opinions forward – it’s more than apparent that the growth is there. As mentioned, many are hoping to hop on to the backs of the huge success stories, those who have placed a $20 bet and walked away with a cool million.
Of course the question for the UK finding mainstream success will be whether or not there’s enough football played to sustain the market in the long term – overseas the growths have come year on year due to the wide market in which they’re able to operate, and we’re beginning to see the same here as fantasy football has continued to find growth – the market is also expanding in to some other more niche sports and most notably into esports – perhaps the biggest benefit for UK fantasy leagues, however, is that the Premier League and English football is so large, and so widely watched, that the audience extends across Europe and of course those in the US who will also be interested in following UK leagues.
Just like the US services, it’s looking unlikely that the growth will slow, however, as fantasy football and betting seem to grow hand in hand as popularity continues to grow outward – the spread of the virus may have put a little damper on things as no Premier League football is being played, but once things get underway again which many hope will be in May, those who have been on hold and looking forward to some entertainment will no doubt be eager to get their fantasy drafts back underway and to see teams getting back out on the pitch – as we have seen across the pond though, is that fantasy sports are definitely a phenomenon and are very likely here to stay for the long term.