Youth Movement, Technology Helping Fantasy Football Thrive

Michael Fabiano remembers it vividly.

“Back in the day,” the NFL Network Senior Fantasy Analyst reminisced to the assembled audience inside the Phoenix Convention Center Thursday afternoon. “I’m looking up box scores in the USA Today trying to figure out if I’ve won or lost based on my addition and subtraction…which sometimes is not that good.”

The steady rise of fantasy football, paired with the internet explosion created the perfect storm and unlimited ceiling as fantasy sports continue to grow in popularity. Data and endless information are raising the bar around the world for fans who can play general manager on a week-to-week basis. 

The trickle-down effect is even hitting millennials, both male and female.

“How do you reach all different types of fans who are expecting different experiences,” NFL Vice President of Media Strategy and Business Development Vishal Shah asked. “You now have a youth demographic between 13 and 21 that’s effectively mobile first. That’s the only device they use for the most part during the day.”

Pro Football Hall-of-Famer and NFL Network analyst Marshall Faulk says his female co-workers have really taken to the wide-sweeping craze.

“They’re talking trash,” he told Sports360AZ.com after the one-hour seminar. “It’s great that it brings them into our world.”

SAP, a sponsor of the NFL, offers players every advantage when setting lineups, considering and offering trades and every other nuance associated with fantasy football. One is the Player Comparison Tool for the NFL.com fantasy platform which provides fans with more insight into player performance.

The five-member panel also included Dallas Cowboys star running back DeMarco Murray who was named a Fantasy Player of the Year Finalist. He said he doesn’t play in any leagues but some of his teammates do and it’s not uncommon to see players on other rosters around the league with fantasy teams.

A Valley native, Eric has had a passion for the Arizona sports scene since an early age. He has covered some of the biggest events including Super Bowls, national championships and the NBA and MLB playoffs in his near 20 years in local media.