Over the years the worlds of sport and video games have been becoming closer and closer together. Today, they have reached something of a pinnacle in the form of Esports.
After all, if you’d asked anyone even two decades ago whether there would be professional video gamers, plus a global audience tuning in to watch, they might have thought you were crazy.
Then there are all the video games that have taken sports as their theme. From baseball to soccer and basketball to NFL these are some of the biggest titles out there. What’s more, each season’s new edition of the games in question is always keenly anticipated by fans.
But the traffic isn’t always two-way. Sports fans are generally attracted to sports video games. By hard-core gamers tend to be a little less interested in watching games in which the action is real, not virtual.
But the fantasy sport industry is very much hoping to address this fact and attract more gamers into their world too.
In particular, fantasy football is one sector that aims to build on the success that sees an estimated 60 million people playing NFL fantasy each year, creating a $7 billion industry.
A brief history of NFL fantasy leagues.
The person we have to thank for the many leagues there to play today is a man called Bill Winkenbach. As long ago as the 1950s he started toying with the idea of competitions based around the performance of sports people arranged in particular teams.
His first efforts were with golf and baseball, but these never really took off. But later on, in 1962, he and a group of friends developed an idea which they called the Greater Oakland Professional Pigskin Prognosticators League, or GOPPPL for short. This included all the basics of the NFL fantasy leagues we know today.
As more and more people learned of the game, its popularity grew. Eventually, newspapers started running their own versions played on a very local level. But it was the arrival of the internet that saw the real explosion in its popularity.
Suddenly everything from arranging a draft to running leagues and recording results became more straightforward – and the number of participants exploded with more and more fantasy league options becoming available each season.
Fantasy meets sports gaming . . .
Alongside this, the world of sports video games was also getting in on the act. So most leading titles also started to include a feature in which players could draft and create their own teams. These could consist of current players drawn from different teams as well as stars of the past.
This means it can be great entertainment to put together a team of All Stars to compete against current NFL greats and see exactly how they measure up on the field. Then there are other games like NFL Head Coach where the focus is even more on team selection and game tactics than on controlling players during matches.
. . . And why gaming should meet fantasy
But, for dedicated fans of games like Madden NFL, taking part in an actual fantasy league can offer some real advantages including these five;
- It’s like gaming, but in the real world
The choices that you make about which players to use on a particular week or in a specific game are going to have a real effect on how well you do. And that’s got to be more satisfying than succeeding in a virtual world.
- It can improve strategic skills
Lots of video games, not just sporting ones, rely on players being able to think strategically. So what better way to develop this skill than by putting it to the test week after week?
- Everyone likes to compete
The fact that gamers play is proof that they also like to win. Fantasy NFL is a great way to take on friends, co-workers and family in a fun competitive environment that provides results every week of the season.
- It makes following sport more involving
If you stand to gain from many different games in a week, because you have players in your squad from a number of teams, you’re going to be more interested in every single one of your games. Plus, even if your favorite NFL team loses, you could still end up as a winner if your personal fantasy team does really well instead.
- It could make you money
Last, but not least, if you do well with your fantasy NFL team there’s the chance of winning some pretty good cash prizes as long as you pick the right leagues to play in.
So it all adds up to the fact that, whatever kind of gamer you are, fantasy NFL could be a fun, and maybe even profitable, way to enjoy even more from a favorite sport.