For the first time in 16 years I’m able to participate in a fantasy football league. Because most (if not all) fantasy leagues are geared towards gambling, as an NFL front-office executive, I had no interest in losing my career. Besides, I was working every day in NFL Reality Football and was paid quite well.
Now a member of the media, the league I joined is made up of media pundits from around the nation. While there is no betting involved in our league, there is fierce competition and major strategy involved. As the rookie, I’m still learning the rules on the run. The winner will be treated to dinner at a restaurant of his choice, at the yearly NFL/NIC combine in Indianapolis.
I have watched this industry grow exponentially in the last three to seven years from a hobby on a tavern wall to a full blown multi-million dollar industry. It is big business on the large and powerful web sites (ESPN, Yahoo!, CBSSports etc.) and Las Vegas is not missing out on all the fun or the money. Not only Sin City, but all casinos throughout the country have geared up for the influx of fantasy football fanatics and junkies. Several thousand people migrate to the desert to hold their drafts and make their NFL futures bets as well.
A lot of sports bars locally and across the country have long been gathering places for fantasy football drafts. Now, many of the big leagues rent ballrooms in major cities including Las Vegas to host their draft parties. In some cases, these drafts have celebrity kickoff concerts. Some casinos have also made fantasy football props part of their weekly betting posts.
Cantor Gaming has developed the ultimate fantasy football experience for fans to watch live football while betting on every play, which is huge for the gambling industry (as they post odds on most aspects of the game). With the odds changing as the game progresses, they allow gamblers a chance to adjust their strategy on any given down.
The World Championship of Fantasy Football held their draft at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. It is dubbed the most celebrated fantasy football draft in the country and the most prestigious in the world, with the winner’s pool over $2 million. The winner’s share of the $2 million is $300,000 and the contest’s growth is proof Las Vegas casinos will adjust and cater to this rapidly increasing industry.
I’m off to a good start thanks to New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, with his super-human performance on Monday Night Football. This is one business the NFL won’t be able to put their hands in the revenue stream of this fast growing industry.