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The reality of fantasy sports

Fantasy sports are quickly becoming every sport fan’s favourite pastime, and if you’re not on board yet, you will be soon.

If you’ve never heard of fantasy sports, it’s quite simple. You enter a league with a group of people and at the start of a specific sport’s season you draft a roster of athletes for your team. Each statistic your athlete achieves in each game he plays throughout the season is then converted into points for your team. There are countless forms of fantasy sports, such as keeper leagues, auction drafts, dynasty leagues and even daily leagues, which treat each day as a brand new season.

What seemed like a niche pastime for hardcore sport fans just a few years back has exploded into an international phenomenon; its influence ranges from television shows based on it, to professional advisors who make a living off of giving their personal opinion and analysis.

In 2014, the Fantasy Sports Trade Association estimated that approximately 41 million people across the United States and Canada, aged twelve and above, participated in a fantasy sports league that year. Pair that with the estimated three to four billion dollars in annual economic impact that fantasy leagues have accumulated across the sports industry and it’s clear that it’s a serious business.

Nowadays, it’s hard to be considered a die-hard sports fan if you aren’t in fantasy leagues and accumulate hours of wasted class time per week due to researching who to start in your flex spot for this weekend’s match-up.

Fantasy league makes watching sports more exciting and gut-wrenching because you aren’t only cheering for your favorite team to win; you’re also cheering for all the players across the league that are lucky enough to be on your fantasy team’s roster.

In reality, fantasy sports have helped the development and growth of many sports and their fan bases, especially American football, which is the most widely played fantasy and has become the spearhead of the fantasy sports movement. The competitive aspect of managing your own roster and facing your friends in weekly matchups makes watching your top WR drop an easy pass in the end zone just that much more heart breaking.

The fact that you can win some money while you’re at it definitely helps its popularity; there are now many people who make a living off of the daily version of fantasy sports from websites such as Draft Kings and Rotogrinders.

Whether you’re a fantasy junkie who researches for hours on what to do with their 11th round pick, or you’re a purist who thinks fantasy sports are for those who need to gamble in order to truly appreciate the sport, there is no denying that fantasy leagues have become a permanent part of the world of sports.

– Iain MacMillian/The Brunswickan

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