Fantasy sports is often seen as an extension of sports betting, which is not that surprising considering two of the biggest companies that have been built in this space were both focused on this
It’s also currently the main source of revenue and partner for a lot of the fantasy sports games and forums. As such, the prevailing wisdom seems to be that if you are building a fantasy sports company you need to partner with the betting industry. However, at Playmaker, we are committing to never integrate or partner with betting companies.
This is because we fundamentally disagree with this approach. We believe fantasy sports is a (healthier) alternative to betting not an extension of it.
On the surface level there are indeed several reasons why there is an obvious, natural crossover, however, if you go deeper and try and understand the underlying motivations of why people play fantasy sports then we believe you come to a different conclusion.
Let’s look at the surface level similarities first:
Whether it’s having an extra interest in a game, wanting to test and prove your knowledge or just feeling additional excitement, a large part of the reason why people bet on sports can be achieved through fantasy sports without the potential downside of losing money or it snowballing into a potentially harmful addiction.
We are in an age of participatory media due to the fact we want to be stimulated by multiple things at once. It’s no longer enough for a lot of us to simply watch a sports game in its own right. We want to engage with it further, participate and not just be passive.
Betting on a match has been the primary way to achieve this, but fantasy sports also scratches this itch, without the negative (and potentially harmful) side-effects. It’s time to reframe the engaged participators’ relationship with real-life sporting events, it has the potential to be so much more than just placing a bet on a match.
Therefore if gambling is not the core driver of why people play fantasy then what are the underlying motivations of why people play fantasy sports?