Why is fantasy football more popular than fantasy baseball? Football is more popular. That’s the simple answer, but I want to go deeper. I was always a fan of fantasy baseball before getting into fantasy football, so I was surprised to learn how popular it was when I started doing both. I guess I never realized how much more material and coverage there is on fantasy football. Here are several reasons why I think it’s more popular.
Football >>>>>>>> Baseball in America
When the NFL preseason starts, it’s essentially like the baseball season is over. Kansas City vs the A’s was one of the best games I’ve seen in my life, but I’m sure the Sunday football ratings blew it out of the water, like it always does. I checked in on ESPN the morning after the game and they were talking about college football. Now I think ESPN has been on a steady decline for years and is basically putting up garbage, beside the “This is SportsCenter” commercials…those are golden. I don’t remember a time when Mike & Mike talked about baseball for more than 5 minutes. Football will always get more coverage and fantasy football will benefit from this.
Majority of Games on Sunday
Almost all of the scoring happens in one binge, plus there’s the Red Zone channel, which allows people to watch all the games simultaneously. Baseball doesn’t have a Red Zone channel and might never get one. Being able to follow your team live makes fantasy football a lot more involved than fantasy baseball.
Accepted in Social Settings
There’s a TV show that focuses on helping people with their fantasy football “problems”. Actually I think there’s a whole channel now. There’s even a comedy featuring people in the fantasy football “League”.There’s even rumors about a new show based on fantasy writer Matthew Berry. Wow networks have gotten desperate. NFL announcers openly talk about fantasy scores and highlight good performances making fantasy owners happy. Baseball always had more stat junkies, but fantasy baseball is almost never talked about during a game. People care enough about their fantasy team to actually threaten professional football players after poor performances. ESPN dedicates their Sunday morning helping people out with their fantasy team. There were rumors about the NFL wanting to teach children how to play fantasy football to help them with math…yeah this is real. People talk about fantasy football in the open, maybe not the most popular people, but people talk about it all the time.
Football already has the star power mentality and fantasy football elevates that even further. The two most well-known baseball players last year were Arod and Derek Jeter. One is retiring and one was only known because he was in a steroid scandal and he plays for New York. People know football players, people know baseball teams.
Bets are easier to do with fantasy football. Money and gambling raise the stakes of leagues and can keep people entertained and interested. There are plenty of money leagues in baseball, but winning it feels more like a reward for all of your effort put into the season, football can incorporate weekly betting. It’s not about the money in football it’s about sending a message, I’m better than you. Also it’s about the money.
Who can even pay attention for the 26 weeks of baseball? And on top of that you usually have to pay attention to your team daily. It’s usually easier to manage your football team, although bye weeks and injuries can wreck a team. Think how long the average person’s attention span is, half those people can’t sit through one baseball game. The rest play fantasy football.
More Manageable Rosters
On standard ESPN baseball teams there are 3 bench spots for the 22 starting positions while standard ESPN football teams have 7 bench spots for 9 starters…just less players to worry about in general. It’s also a pain when you can’t start all your players and the guy goes off on your bench. Baseball usually let’s you start most of your players.
This format started off in football and made it’s way to baseball. Rotisserie is too boring for most people, even though it’s more accurate. Head to head scoring always seemed to work better with football because of the point system and that’s how football actually works. The point system makes all the positions “equal” and can help your team score in all categories while baseball scoring usually splits up the pitching and hitting categories and accumulates totals. There are point baseball leagues, but they are not the norm. 6 points for a touchdowns and 1 point per 10+ yards is pretty much the standard. More categories can be added to make the league more interesting, something I highly encourage, but I think the scoring system keeps things simple and people love that.
Fantasy football is just so frustrating. With a bunch of top picks basically busting, fantasy football is so random and infuriating that even if you did research before the draft it can mean nothing. The draft is basically a crapshoot. Baseball isn’t exactly a sure thing either, but at least Mike Trout played like the best player in baseball most of the year and I can’t say I’m too happy with McCoy’s production so far. Baseball rewards patience and alertness, prospect call ups make a huge difference to a team, whereas in football it just seems like injuries and owning the handcuff is the main way to benefit. A week ago Knile Davis looked like a great waiver wire add, now he’s barely worth a roster spot in shallow leagues. I love fantasy football because many of my friends get really involved and it makes football more exciting to me, but I’ll always choose my first love in fantasy baseball.