Passing Judgment – The NFL Lockout’s Effect on Fantasy Football
Here are some of the questions and responses in the article:
Do you think the NFL lockout will affect your fantasy football league(s) this year? If so, how?
“Yes. It’s reducing interest in football, which naturally reduces the normally rabid league interest in fantasy football. Aside from any missed games and diminished interest, the lockout will ostensibly kill the preseason evaluation period. Most people in my league watch the preseason games to scout for draft steals, and I think the lack of a preseason will lower the overall quality of teams in our league.” – a 5-year fantasy veteran and Redskins fan in Washington, DC
“…Already has affected it…we usually get together to watch the draft…also, our league is a keeper league, which means roster management with trades can be a 12 month deal…no one is of the mind to talk trade…it’s a downer…” – an 18-year fantasy veteran and Steelers fan in Parkland, FL
“Every year I go to Waco, Tx for my fantasy football draft. Leading up to draft weekend, most of the participants have studied training camps, made offseason grades, and compiled their draft strategies (a couple even make notebooks). I travel the furthest for this annual ritual. This year we haven’t made our reservations (we typically rent a cabin, lake house, or stay out at someone’s ranch for the weekend), we don’t know what dates to begin blocking off the calendar, and we are forced to discuss basketball to fill the time.” – a 10-year fantasy veteran and Cowboys fan in Washington, DC
“We already decided to cancel the fantasy league and start a pool league on Monday nights. Both sides are greedy, bloodsucking, overpaid, egomaniacs that are destroying minimum wage jobs while they (complain) that they can’t live on only 20 million a year. What a bunch of sniveling little babies that don’t deserve any attention or respect.” – a 25-year fantasy veteran and Bears fan in Waikoloa, HI
“Most definitely it will. This is one of the aspects of NFL football that brings even casual fans closer to the game. I know some women, who can’t even tell you the rules of football, but play fantasy because they enjoy it. It’s kind of like filling out NCAA brackets, everyone does it. The NFL even markets fantasy, and I’m assuming spends millions on it. For instance everyone knows the classic T.J. “Who’s Your Mama” commercial. This is just one more aspect of the “golden goose” that this lockout will kill.” – a 5-year fantasy veteran and Redskins fan in Durham, NC
Has your league made contingency plans if the lockout stretches into August?
“Yes, we have a keeper league with non-standard rules that have necessitated that we already start planning for possible adjustments to our rules depending on whether or not there is a season and how long it is. We have already pretty much decided we must have a draft this August even if the labor dispute is unresolved at that time.” – an 11-year fantasy veteran and Redskins fan in Alexandria, VA
“We are going to try to find a fantasy UFL or college football league and if we do that there will be an asterisk on the trophy.” – an 8-year fantasy veteran and Redskins fan from Fisherville, VA
“Since our league is a fairly turnkey operation, we are flexible as to when we start. The only thing that will change will be the entry fee; Likely lowered based on number of weeks missed. So ultimately, the end-of-season prize pool may not be as large. That would be a disappointment.” – a 12-year fantasy veteran and Redskins fan in Silver Spring, MD
“Nope. We’re counting on the NFL getting it done. To quote Harold Camping, “There is no Plan B.”” – a 10+ year fantasy veteran and Redskins fan in Baltimore
This is just a small sample of the fantasy sports population. In the United States, there are approximately 27 million people who play fantasy sports, and a majority of those play fantasy football. By far, fantasy football is the most prosperous sport within the industry. If there is no NFL season, the ramifications could be disastrous to the fantasy sports industry, including the companies that provide services and the people who spend money to play. Obviously the fans want there to be football, but amongst those fans is a very important demographic of people who play fantasy football. The delay or cancellation of the season will have a far-reaching impact on many industries, and it is important to remember that the fantasy sports industry is one of them.
To my knowledge, this Washington Post column is one of the only articles written about the NFL lockout where the impact on fantasy football was addressed. I realize that fantasy football pales in comparison to the popularity of the NFL, but in many respects they are part and parcel to each other. The popularity of the NFL helped launch the massive growth and popularity of fantasy football. Additionally, the mainstream acceptance of fantasy football has given the NFL newer and more casual fans. The business and companies that write the fantasy magazines, create the draft boards, run the websites providing stats and advice, the websites that host leagues, make the trophies, host parties, and so on, will be in dire straits if the season is affected. While NFL fans will eventually go back to their teams and either watch games on TV or go to the stadium, the same cannot be as definitely said for the fantasy football companies. They may not have the flexibility or financial ability to close shop and reopen. Just something to think about.