Alabama professor: There’s a lot more skill than luck in fantasy sports (opinion)

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By Andrew C. Billings

As a sports media scholar who has conducted research on fantasy sports play, I find myself fielding quite a few questions from a variety of constituencies relating to the rapid explosion of daily, weekly and season-long fantasy games. Usually, it’s the core question: “Do you think this stuff is gambling?” My response is usually some variation of: how much time do you have?

One thing is clear: fantasy sports are now mainstream. Just because Alabama doesn’t have a professional team doesn’t make it immune; 56.8 million North Americans now play fantasy sports in some form—and that covers every state including, most certainly, Alabama. Want an extra reason to root for Julio Jones? Fantasy football could be for you.

For the uninitiated, fantasy sports involve selecting players from various teams within a league, drafting them as your own, and competing against others to become your own General Manager. Traditional fantasy sports play consists of typically 10-12 people in a league, most of whom are friends or family, building teams and attempting to claim league domination. Money is involved, but it’s negligible; 90% of traditional players spend less than $50 per season—half play for free.

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