Is Sports Betting Starting To Cause A Fantasy Football Exodus?

fantasy football

With sports betting now legal and operational in more than 30 states, it raises the question: Will traditional sports betting just add to the total sports wagering ecosystem, or will it become a behemoth that sucks the air out of fantasy sports?

According to recent data compiled by CivicScience, the answer is … probably too soon to tell, although there are signs showing fantasy sports — specifically daily fantasy — is starting to suffer some setbacks.

A top line number that stands out: In 2021, CivicScience asked more than 2,000 respondents 13 and older if they planned on playing some form of fantasy football in the coming year, be it daily or season-long. Nearly a quarter of those surveyed — 23%, to be precise — said they would.

Nothing will unite and rile up the fellas quite like threatening to quit your fantasy football league.

— Jeff D. Lowe (@JeffDLowe) September 6, 2022

This year, based on surveys last month? The number is down to 18%, and according to the company, the vast majority of the fall-off is in the daily fantasy category. (It’s unclear if the polling question considered “best ball” style fantasy football, which has exploded in popularity in the last few years, culminating Wednesday with Underdog Fantasy filling its $10 million flagship contest, Best Ball Mania.)

CivicScience also compiled a few other interesting nuggets concerning sports betting in general, which the company has noted has sagged lately, although the dip can largely be attributed to the typical summer doldrums of sports betting, when football and basketball are mere fever dreams.

DraftKings ascendant?

One big takeaway, is that DraftKings may be starting to break away as a clear market leader when it comes to usage.

The survey reported that nearly one in three Americans who bet on sports online use DraftKings at least once a month. FanDuel came in second at 22%, with BetMGM and Caesars showing up at 15% and 13%, respectively.

Interestingly, according to the data, BetMGM skews the youngest, with 68% of its users under 35 years of age. For DraftKings, that number falls to 55%.

One last tidbit, and it’s a controversial one: Women make up between 40% and 50% of the user base on all sports betting sites, according to the data. And while many commentators believe this is simply dudes opening second accounts in their significant others’ names, CivicScience’s results seem to throw cold water on that hypothesis. 

I’ve personally been responsible for many women in my extended family taking a new interest in sports betting.

You’re welcome.

— Captain Jack Andrews (@capjack2000) May 17, 2022

Photo: Shutterstock

Author: Ryan Gonzales