Fantasy Football Players Tell All

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Women spend more time in the bathroom, working on their fantasy team

For many sports fans, the year has two seasons: football and no football. Also known as heaven and purgatory. Or at least that’s what my husband says.

Of course, if you have a sports fan at home, you likely know it’s not so cut and dry as all that. NFL football has a way of bleeding into the rest of the year, through events like the draft, pre-season games, and training camp.

Then there’s fantasy football. A multi-billion dollar industry, according to this 2015 infographic. Recently, Sports Management Degree Hub found 56.8 million people played fantasy football in 2015 — double that of 2009, and sources say that number has since risen to around 60 million.

It’s no wonder, then, that when we created a fantasy football survey, hosted on a third-party website, out of the nearly 500 people we asked, 200 of them said they belonged to at least one NFL football fantasy league.

What did surprise us, however, was the fact half of them (101 out of 200) were women. Was it possible that, despite our preconceived notions, women were just as passionate about fantasy football as their male counterparts?

According to survey results, the answer was a unanimous yes. While men and women proved to interact with their leagues differently, when asked about their betting habits, who they play with, and where they work on their roster (Hint: It’s likely not where you think!), both genders showed a deep passion for the game. Check out the findings from our survey below to see what they said.

 

One league or two?

Of those who said they were involved in fantasy football, two-thirds of respondents (69 percent) said they were in one fantasy league, whereas the other third (31 percent) were in at least two leagues.

*308 people were screened out of the survey because they did not belong to a fantasy football league.

 

Fantasy football comes to work

Just about everyone who has a fantasy football team works on their league while on the job. Ninety-four percent of respondents admitted to spending at least some time on fantasy football at work, while nearly a third of respondents (31 percent) said they spent an hour or more.

But building the week’s roster isn’t just a behind-the-desk activity. Turns out, nearly half of all respondents said they’d worked on their team while using the facilities. Nearly 40 percent had done it in their car, while 13 percent had done it under a table or desk. Nearly 1 in 5 said they’d either worked on their team in a stairwell or during a meeting.

Curious, we pulled the data to see if men and women were equally likely to, say, work on their team in the bathroom. As it turned out, they were — for the most part. In fact, a higher percentage of women than men said they’d worked on their fantasy team while doing their business. Men, on the other hand, were more likely to build their week’s team during a meeting, in an empty conference room, or during a work conference.


When it comes to productivity, it’s not just that people are likely to work on their teams while on the clock. According to survey respondents, being in multiple leagues actually had an effect on their attendance. Among those who reported being in two or more leagues, 60 percent said they had taken at least one day off after their fantasy team had a bad week.

 

Fantasy football isn’t just for men

Pete, honey, move aside. Fantasy football is far from a male-dominated pastime. One in two survey respondents who said they had a fantasy football team was a woman, and those women were more likely than men to have spent an hour or more on their fantasy team at work.

But women aren’t just putting in their due diligence at the office. Twenty-two percent said they spend at least two hours working on their fantasy team at home, which was 5 percent higher than their male counterparts. Men, on the other hand, were more likely than women to put in one to two hours while at home. Interestingly, 4 percent of men said they didn’t spend any time on their fantasy league at home — preferring, instead, to work on it at the office exclusively. The same was true for just 1 percent of women.

As for their fantasy league teammates, most respondents said they were in leagues with people outside of work, though men were more likely than women to play with past co-workers (22 percent) or people they didn’t know (10 percent).

Conversely, women were more likely than men to be in a league with their boss or manager (8 percent compared to 5 percent), and 43 percent said they were in a league with their current co-workers (compared to just 7 percent of men).

Considering women are more likely than men to play against a co-worker or higher up, it makes sense that women were also more likely to take time off work after their fantasy team had a bad week. Turns out those conversations around the water cooler are a lot less fun when you’re on the losing side.

Less than half of the women we surveyed said they had never taken a day off after their fantasy team performed poorly. In fact, nearly 1 in 5 admitted to having taken one day off in the past, while 1 in 3 said they’d taken off a total of two or more days.

But women don’t just take the losses of their fantasy team more seriously. Fifty-five percent of female survey respondents said they’d taken at least a day off after their favorite NFL team lost. Forty-two percent of male respondents said the same. In total, just 51 percent of those surveyed — barely more than half — said they’d never taken a day off of work to lick their wounds.

Finally, the women in our study were more likely to watch NFL football if they had a personal connection to the game, either because their favorite team was playing or because one of their fantasy league players was involved. Men, on the other hand, were more likely to watch as many games as they could, regardless of who was playing.

When asked how playing fantasy football affected their game-watching habits, women were more likely than men to report an increase in interest. While 20 percent of men said they now watch more games than they used to, thanks to their participation in fantasy sports, the same was true for 26 percent of women.

Basically, if you’re interested in getting your wife or girlfriend more into football, the best tactic you could use is to invite her to join your fantasy league.

 

Money makes everything more complicated

Most of our respondents (9 out of 10) said they make bets on their fantasy football team. Only 5 percent said they don’t make any bets, while another 5 percent said they do bet, but not with cash or money.

Most folks bet between a dollar and $50 a season, but those who reported being in multiple leagues were more likely to bet between $100 and $500.

While most employees likely wouldn’t want to admit a correlation between their fantasy football team and their work performance, our survey indicated those who placed bets of more than $100 were more likely to take time off work after a bad fantasy week. Sixty-five percent of high-stakes players admitted to taking at least a day off of work after their fantasy team lost, while just 35 percent of these said they had never taken a day off after their fantasy team had a bad week.

When asked how much money they bet on fantasy football, the most popular answer among women was $1 to $50. Men were most likely to bet between $101 to $500.

That said, women were more likely than men to place a bet on their fantasy football team overall. In fact, men were three times more likely than women to say they didn’t place bets. And among respondents who said they bet over $500 dollars a season, women were the majority (16 percent of women versus 13 percent of men).

 

Fantasy football isn’t a man’s game — it’s a people’s game

The number of people playing fantasy football is growing by the millions each year, and women aren’t about to be left behind. That’s good news for their football-loving male counterparts who’ve been waiting for just the right moment to purchase the biggest TV on the market (just in time for football season).

But if there’s one lesson to be gleaned from these results, it’s this: Fantasy football, for a lot of people, isn’t just a game. Worth taking time off for, worth putting in research at work for, and worth watching even more games each week for, fantasy sports bring people together. It’s easy to assume fantasy football is a man’s game, but if there’s one thing the NFL could learn from our 101 female respondents, it’s not to discount a dedicated fan.

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