The History of Fantasy Sports Mark Faulcon

Who is credited with starting fantasy sports?

Wilfred "Bill" Wickenbach

The concept of picking players and running a contest based on their year-to-date stats has been around since shortly after this World War II. One of the earliest published accounts of fantasy sports involved Oakland businessman and one time Oakland Raiders limited partner Wilfred "Bill" Winkenbach. He devised fantasy golf in the latter part of the 1950s. Each player selected a team of professional golfers and the person with the lowest combined total of strokes at the end of the tournament would win. Golf is a simple fantasy game to administer and keep tabs on, since each participant is concerned only with the scores of his or her team members without anything else to complicate it. However, it was never organized into a widespread hobby or formal business.

In Oakland in 1962, Winkenbach formed the first reported fantasy football league, called the Greater Oakland Professional Pigskin Prognosticators League (GOPPPL), with eight teams. George Blanda was the first player taken in the first draft in 1963.

The first reported fantasy baseball league began in Boston in 1960. Harvard University sociologist William Gamson started the "Baseball Seminar" where colleagues would form rosters that earned points on the players' final standings in batting average, RBI, ERA and wins. Gamson later brought the idea with him to the University of Michigan where some professors played the game. One professor playing the game was Bob Sklar, who taught an American Studies seminar which included Daniel Okrent, who learned of the game his professor played.At around the same time a league from Glassboro State College also formed a similar baseball league and had its first draft in 1976.

What is rotisserie League Baseball?

Rotisserie Baseball was invented in the early 1980's by a group of guys who love Major League Baseball. Their goal was to find a way, through the use of player statistics, to emulate Major League Baseball. They also wanted to prove that their vast knowledge about major league baseball players and their capabilities was well beyond that of their peers.Daniel Okrent is credited with inventing it, the name coming from the New York City restaurant La Rotisserie Francaise where he and some friends used to meet and play.

Rotisserie Baseball

What part have sports journalists played in the growth of fantasy sports?

They helps provide box scores for players. In the few years after Okrent helped popularize fantasy baseball, a host of experts and businesses emerged to service the growing hobby. Okrent, based on discussions with colleagues at USA Today, credits Rotisserie league baseball with much of USA Today's early success, since the paper provided much more detailed box scores than most competitors and eventually even created a special paper, Baseball Weekly, that almost exclusively contained statistics and box scores.

When did fantasy football emerge in the market?

Fantasy football for dummies

In 1997, CBS launched the beta version of the first publicly available free fantasy football website. The game immediately became widely popular. Within three years, all major sports media websites launched competing fantasy football hosting websites. The NFL released their own official game in 2010, Fantasy Football, further driving industry growth. Fantasy football is now the single most important marketing tool for the NFL. Today, it is estimated over 19 million people compete in public and private leagues online nationally.

How much is fantasy sports worth today?


The fantasy football market alone is worth about $70 Billion, so all fantasy sports combined would amount to over $100 Billion easily. The NFL does run fantasy leagues on its own site and any licensed use of NFL products generates revenue. In addition, there is some evidence that fantasy activities increase viewership on the part of players, which, indirectly, benefits the league. The league grows and earns money because of the popularity of fantasy sports.

What are the issues with fantasy sports?

Fantasy sports are growing more popular than the actual game. there is also a concern about whether fantasy sports should be considered gambling or not. People claim they are a game of skill, but many others believe they are a game of chance. Many fantasy sports companies allow betting and this is the real problem.

Big sites are basically allowing legal gambling

Why do some groups want to ban fantasy sports sites?

Many people consider fantasy sports sites gambling, which doesn't involve skill, and involves winning money. Gambling is illegal and frowned upon by many. An attorney general has ordered fan duel and draft kings to stop accepting bets from New York.

How has the internet expanded the popularity of fantasy sports?

many fantasy sports companies are on websites that allow the people to use the websites as the platform for all the fantasy operations. the internet has allowed the audience to expand and grow.

What is FSTA? What interest do they represent?

Fantasy Sports Trade Association, is a Chicago, Illinois-based trade group representing the fantasy sports industry, listing over 200 member companies on its web site as of June 2015. Members range from small startups to large media corporations. They represent the interest of keeping fantasy sports.

What problems have occurred with the fast growth of fantasy sports?

There are too many people playing fantasy. More people are playing and it could cause people to lose money. Fantasy sports have grown too fast for regulation to be made to regulate it.

How would you explain the enthusiasm for fantasy sports?

There are many people who watch sports. These people love competition and would have fun competing against others while using a sport as a topic of competition.

What is the ethical dilemma presented by online fantasy sports sites that require payment?

The main ethical dilemma with fantasy sports is the fact that it is more gambling than a skill game. gambling is illegal and unethical.

How has media and athletes been impacted by fantasy sports?

More fantasy sports related topics are being covered in papers and news media. the growth of fantasy has made fantasy players a target market for news companies. athletes feel the pressure to perform more with people betting on them, and they can often experience hate if they don't play too well.


I see the fantasy sports industry growing exponentially if they aren't banned. even if there are regulations put on them, people will still play fantasy.

Target market

The fantasy sports target market is large, it is all sports fans who regularly watch games. even people who don't watch play fantasy sports for the money.


Created with images by Erin Costa - "NFL"

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