Fantasy Premier League Football: Can it Get Even Bigger?
Posted by FFPundits
12:44pm Dec 4 2020
For the owners of the FPL, the popularity of the game is almost like a fantasy. Last year, 6.3 million managers decided to replicate their favourite coaches by taking charge of 15 real-life Premier League footballers.
With around £100 million to spend and big prize pots for the winner and runners-up, it’s no wonder the sport of fantasy football has taken off in recent years.
However, it’s by no means over as even more people are expected to pick between the cream of the crop in the EPL and get a taste of what it’s like to be a top-class manager.
This means the Fantasy Premier League is only going to grow, but what’s behind the surge?
Growing Football Audiences
The worlds of real football and the fantasy leagues are inextricably linked, and this means more of the audience will dip their toes in the waters of the fantasy realm as the traditional game boosts its viewership.
The number of players remote managing teams has already increased by a massive amount since 2014, doubling in size in the last six years. This coincides with the game’s global rise, especially in emerging markets such as North and Central America and parts of Asia.
The popularity of the sport with international viewers – 3.2 billion people watched the 2018/19 season – is high, yet it hasn’t topped out by any means.
According to the last figures, programming rose by 10%, leaving room for fans of the beautiful game to support its virtual cousin.
Gambling & FPL
In the beginning, fantasy football was a free hobby that was more about enjoyment than anything else. But, with the increase in players, the stakes are bigger than ever, which is shown by the growth of wagers within the game.
For example, players can choose to create side bets on anything from who will win the league outright to who will get the most points in a particular game week.
The number of wagers hasn’t only impacted FPL, but sports betting platforms and online casinos, too, since the £20 billion industry is a huge earner.
As a result, the money is invested back into the betting sector, with some ideas for new providers leading to platforms that are changing the face of the industry thanks to an innovative take on the user experience.
For instance, Play OJO has no wagering terms and conditions and pays out for every bet. As betting sites increase their revenues, this will benefit the fantasy game massively.
⭕️ Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ⭕️
💰 2019/20 start price: £11.0m
🔚 2019/20 end price: £10.9m
🆕 2020/21 start price: ???
— Fantasy Football Scout (@FFScout) August 5, 2020
The Fantasy Premier League never stands still, even if the changes are only tweaks.
For example, the proposals for this year’s format include shortening the deadline for managers to 90 minutes before kick-off.
Also, players will inevitably find themselves in new positions, such as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who will be classified as a midfielder rather than a forward.
Although they are little swaps, they directly impact the user experience, which is why so many people are playing and will continue to play the fantasy game.
Can it get bigger? Yes, it can, and it won’t be long before the stats show the Fantasy Premier League’s true size and scope.