The NFL season is almost upon us. On September 5 the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys kick off the season at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, the first real game of the season. When the ball is kicked off that evening, so begins the start of yet another four months of trash talking, intense rivalries, compromised friendships and for some, the thrill of victory (or the agony of defeat). I’m not referring in any way to what takes place on the field between NFL players. Instead, I’m talking about what takes place online in the super competitive world of fantasy football.
Last season, approximately 27 million people played fantasy football, a $5 billion industry. That is a bit shy of one out of every 10 Americans, a staggering number that continues to grow by leaps and bounds each year.
What fascinates me most about fantasy football is the media industry that has grown to support Americans’ tremendous appetite for fantasy news and information. In so many ways it is similar to the financial news industry. The biggest difference in my view is that while CNBC, Bloomberg and other financial news outlets have five days a week of live action to report on, the fantasy media really has just one big day a week (not including the Thursday night games that are on the NFL schedule this season).
The biggest similarity in my view is the volume of “noise” created by both the financial and fantasy media. Turn on a business cable network and you will see four or more experts commenting on the news of the day at once, a scrolling ticker and “breaking news” alerts every other minute or so. Each expert has a different view on the markets, making it potentially confusing for viewers to digest what they are seeing. Now is the time to sell tech stocks says one expert. The other shouts that, if anything, now is the time to buy.