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A Third Of Americans Playing Fantasy Football, To Spend Nearly $5 Billion

Updated on September 13, 2015

One out of three Americans participate in fantasy football so they’ll be watching today’s games closely on the first Sunday of the NFL season.

Almost 75 million people are playing in a league and will spend an estimated $4.6 billion, according to the American Express Spending & Savings Tracker.

Most players will compete for cash, spending an average of $107. About one-third of contestants don’t play for money. Most fantasy players (48 percent) limit their activity to one league, while 27 percent play in two, eight percent play in three and six percent compete in four or more leagues. Of those participating in daily leagues, 85 percent will bet money, spending an average of $122 per draft.

The most popular purchase related to fantasy football is food with 56 percent spending an average of $64, followed by non-alcoholic drinks (48 percent), alcohol (47 percent), clothing (42 percent) and travel (33 percent).

Quarterbacks (57 percent) are the most popular first pick followed by running backs (32 percent) and receivers (nine percent). Most picks (58 percent) are made online while 40 percent make them at a friend’s house and eight percent go to a bar or restaurant.

ESPN is the most popular portal at 54 percent, followed by Yahoo (40 percent), CBS Sports (29 percent) and daily fantasy leagues (19 percent).

Almost one in five women are now playing, compared to 45 percent for men.

The research was conducted among a random sample of 2,127 adults, a demographic defined by a minimum annual household income of $100,000 in early July.

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    • profile image

      Dave 

      2 years ago

      True, I've always wondered (and written about) why fantasy sports is legal and sports betting isn't. What's the difference? A congressman in N.J. is introducing legislation coming down on fantasy sports. Thanks for your comment. Dave.

    • lions44 profile image

      CJ Kelly 

      2 years ago from Auburn, WA

      I did fantasy leagues for years and wasted a lot of time. I never realized how much it took away from the enjoyment of the game. It should be relaxing not stressful. The league makes so much off gambling, it will only get bigger. Kind of a backdoor sports book.

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