In a time where people are more divided by politics and social issues than ever, it’s harder and harder to feel connected to others in society. People are seeking new ways to belong. Fantasy Sports provides a different way to identify with people, a welcome escape and distraction from the ways we currently form our identities in society.
And I can tell you this, if you play fantasy football, I might not care about who you voted for but I certainly do care about who you captained this week!!
The problem is, despite over 200 million fantasy sports managers, there is nowhere to truly “be” one and no place to truly own and build that identity. Right now, the fantasy sports communities are fragmented across subreddits, Twitter, forums and you’re typically a faceless pseudonym talking with other faceless pseudonyms.
My journey started this way on a forum 7(?) years ago before I eventually “graduated” to setting up a secondary Twitter account where I only discussed FPL. I now have 20,000 followers there but there is still no way for me to truly own and build that identity as a fantasy manager and nowhere to grow a centralised following .
In many ways being a fantasy manager is an extension of being a super-engaged sports fan. This also makes it much easier for fantasy sports to become part of the cultural zeitgeist with a significantly lower barrier for entry than eSports as billions of people are already watching these games. Anyone can play fantasy sports, which also means it reaches a more diverse userbase. In fact, some of the people who have featured in the top 10 of FPL this season (out of 7 million players) have included a teenage girl, a sheep farmer and the World’s number one chess player, Magnus Carlsen.
Magnus was so proud of his identity (and achievement) as a fantasy manager he even updated his Twitter bio to reflect this!
Having someone as famous as Magnus representing the game certainly helps bring fantasy further into the mainstream and helps us fantasy players become prouder of that identity, now we just need a place where we can build on that.