Fantasy football is a big business, we know this by now. No one needed a media blitz from FanDuel and DraftKings to convince those of us who have been playing fantasy sports for years. There was a lot of money being spent long before we starting seeing guys like “Ehafner” on TV spots for FanDuel every 22 minutes.
The licensing for fantasy football is a huge profit center for the NFL itself. This money was being generated by season long leagues before the daily fantasy sports craze hit.
Money pools for season long leagues have been a staple of fantasy football since the beginning. Just like betting on actual games, it’s much more fun to set your lineups week to week knowing you have a chance to rip some cash from your buddies.
Now with DFS (daily fantasy sports) lots of individuals are making money by setting up new lineups each week. Many more are losing of course. Can’t have big winners without a ton of losers to fill the pot up.
The guys and gals that are actual fantasy players are making some money with this neat hobby that is still growing thanks to the advent of daily fantasy play. And there are actual professional fantasy players making full time livings playing a game. Guys like Charles Chon, aka Condia, is a professional player who is maybe the best known fantasy player on the planet.
Obviously people that can quit their job and rely on DraftKings or FanDuel are few and far between. Telling the boss to take his job and shove it is an unrealistic fantasy for those of us that would love to work 40 hours a week setting lineups and picking out the weak players in 50/50 leagues.
So besides the NFL and the few super smart pro fantasy players, who is making money with fantasy football and other sports?
To answer that we can take a look back at the early days of the gold rush in America. People went crazy over thoughts of getting rich quick by panning for gold. Finding a couple gold nuggets back in the mid 1800’s would be a good way to get out of a dirt floor house and into a civilized lifestyle.
However, one of the first millionaires as a result of the gold rush, never found any gold at all. Samuel Brannan instead took advantage of the trend and started providing the tools needed by theses gold seekers. The guy started his fortune by selling pans, picks, and shovels at an insanely high markup to desperate gold miners who were happy to pay the price to help them find their fortune.
Brannan made $36,000 (enough to buy a whorehouse in 1849 I’m guessing) in nine weeks to start out!
What we’re seeing with daily fantasy football is very similar to the gold rush. People see the TV ads with regular Joes winning stacks of cash and they dream of being that guy. We Americans are football crazy already. Mix that passion with the opportunity to win millions, or just a few hundred a week with fantasy football and you have a modern day gold rush.
People are panning the internet for fantasy gold each and every day. That trend is going to keep rising at a fast clip for the foreseeable future folks.
Just like the gold miners back in the day, most daily fantasy sports players will return to their dirt floor homes without that pot of gold. Many will make some money, some will break even while having a good time, and some will lose regularly.
Lots of money is being made the Samuel Brannan way, by providing tools to people looking to make money on DraftKings, FanDuel and also the smaller sites.
Expert analysis. Player models. Spreadsheets. Kindle books. Premium content. Membership fees. One on one consulting! All of this is available to help fantasy players increase their bankroll. I have paid for a membership myself on RotoGrinders.com, one of the top websites for fantasy advice and general content. I believe I paid $25 per month last year for a couple of months to see if it helped me with my fantasy leagues.
It helped some, but all those stats can be hard to digest.
There is also FantasyLabs.com that charges $59 / month. Pro Football Focus, maybe the best in depth stats analysis on the web, has a “Fantasy Gold” package for $30. There are many more premium sites out there and to be fair they all offer some level of free help to make your lineups more competitive.
Many of the premium packages are free if you sign up on one of the daily fantasy sports sites through the advice website’s affiliate. That way the expert site makes some money every time you deposit on DK or FD for example.
I don’t want to sound negative toward these expert sites. I think it’s great that these people can capitalize on fantasy football. Most of the people running these websites play the games themselves of course so they have real world experience to offer. It’s like Marshall Faulk breaking down a running play on the NFL Network. He’s been there and knows what the hell he’s talking about.
I’d love to see a millionaire made by simply giving advice about fantasy football. That would be just as cool to me as seeing a guy holding a giant DK check after a tournament win for a million bucks.
If you are planning on buying premium advice, just know this advice is not foolproof. If an expert could pick a perfect lineup 100% of the time, he would just sit back and win a million dollars each week. The advice available is more about strategy than telling you who to pick exactly.
Fantasy football is putting food on the table for a lot of different people, many in ways you might not have thought about. It is super cool that this simple hobby has expanded the sports universe in so many ways, many of which involve new businesses.
The NFL allows grown men to make money playing a game. Fantasy football is doing the same for those of us who can’t run a 4.4 / 40.