It’s amazing how the game of fantasy sports has changed.
When I first started playing online years ago, the applications were slow and cumbersome, and it was more chance than strategy. It was mainly limited to the major sports. Some sites were flat-out not fun. Once or twice, I dropped teams in the middle of seasons because of it (bad teams, of course).
Now, it’s literally an industry. A big industry. The applications are flashy, uber-interactive, and backed by mega-bandwidth. You can literally play any sport, from baseball to fishing (who plays this?) to Nascar to soccer. There is enough fantasy information – cheat sheets, rankings and guides – published before each sports season to fill a room in the Library of Congress. There are tons of blogs about it (I like ESPN’s Eric Karabell and Rotowire among others) and double that tonnage in terms of fantasy sports web sites. And the number of people playing is staggering. The Fantasy Sports Trade Association (there’s even an association now!?!) pegs it at 18 million adult Americans.
Most importantly, the marketing messages targeting the fantasy sites and the people who are on them are now aplenty. And for good reason. Take a good, long look at the people who play fantasy sports. They’re Grade A marketing targets. I know VPs and senior executives of companies who play. Other people who travel internationally and make alot of money. People who have families and buy every kind of household and family item, from attic fans to minivans to sliced meats. They’re tech-savvy and have gadgets. Hell, some don’t even know much about sports and still play fantasy. As I write this, I have a live online draft going on right now on a niche site called RT Sports. There are people in multiple states, from various lines of work – marketing execs, football coaches, sales guys, retail managers (even barflys).
I also have leagues on ESPN and CBS Sportsline, in both baseball and football. I’m an MBA, in a large corporation, who owns a home, purchases personal technology products, participates actively in sports, spends oodles of time online, consumes other media…see where I’m going? There are millions of us, across all demos, geos and zeros (income, that is).
As a marketer, if you’re looking for a certain demo, do you know if you can find them or not in the world of fantasy sports? Charge ahead and find out (and hurry up, I need a 10th guy in one of my football leagues).