Numbers matter to NFL fantasy players, and the businesses that cater to them
Doug Times, left, and Shaun Wagner, both from Tyngsboro, Mass., work on their player selections during the Tyngsboro Trojans' NFL fantasy league draft night at Arena Sports Bar in Nashua last week. (Thomas Roy/Union Leader)
"It's 'Victorious Secret,'" said Bettany. "Those are my guys."
For Bettany and millions like him, the term "game day" no longer refers to whenever the local team hits the gridiron. Fantasy sports participation has surged more than 60 percent since 2007, and more than 32 million people ages 12 and older play in the United States and Canada, according to research conducted in the past year by Ipsos Public Affairs for the Fantasy Sports Trade Association.
FSTA market research claims 19 percent of all males in the U.S. play fantasy sports. More women are playing fantasy football every year, too, according to FSTA, which claims 20 percent of all fantasy players are women.
Each participant in fantasy football assumes the role of general manager for their "team." Before the start of the NFL season a group of participants form a league and hold a draft, where they each take turns picking current NFL players for their roster.
"You're not just paying attention to your favorite team; you're recognizing more talent across the league," he said. "You have to pay attention to everybody."
Major cable TV sports channels have shows dedicated to fantasy sports; satellite radio has entire channels dedicated to them.
"A lot of the growth has been driven by the Internet and the simplification that the Internet offers to fantasy play," said Charcian.
A legal hurdle materialized during the summer of 2006, when a New Jersey plaintiff claimed online league registration fees paid by some fantasy sports participants constituted wagers or bets, and should fall under the state's gambling statutes.
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