Why fantasy football fans should be at the top of your activation list

fans watching football on tv

With the NFL preseason officially underway, it’s time to start getting excited about football. And with football season comes fantasy football, one of many traditions that makes the game more exciting for fans.

According to the MRI-Simmons July 2023 Sports Fan Study, over 53 million US adults participated in fantasy sports in the past 12 months, including approximately 18 million who participated in fantasy football. Why do they play? 38% say it makes the game/season more exciting, while 37% say they love the competition involved, and one-third say it adds thrill or excitement to the game. But connection with others is also important – 35% say it gives me the opportunity to connect with others, including family, friends, coworkers, and others. 3 in 10 do it for the money, and one-quarter say they feel more involved with the game and the athletes.


Participating in fantasy football also keeps them engaged: nearly 9 in ten say that fantasy sports always requires them to keep on top of the latest player/game stats, and 85% say they are able to learn more about the game through fantasy sports. 7 in 10 say fantasy sports are based on skill, not luck, and 3 in 4 say that participating in fantasy sports itself is addicting.

How do they watch their favorite NFL games? 46% watch live, via a traditional TV service when the game airs, with 35% watching live via a streaming service. Of those who prefer to watch after the fact, 14% watch via DVR or video on demand, while another 14% watch via their own schedule on a streaming service. Almost 3/4 say that sports is the major reason they subscribe to either a cable, satellite, or fiber optic service, while a similar amount say that sports is the major reason they subscribe to a streaming service.

In terms of the games themselves and the advertising during the game, 73% say there are too many commercial breaks during sporting events on TV. However, 56% say they are more likely to buy or use the products/services they see advertised while watching sports on TV, and 6 in 10 are more likely to pay attention to ads, regardless of the source, that promote their favorite sports leagues.

Attitudes on Advertising

When comparing Fantasy Football participants to the average NFL fan, we see significant differences in advertising receptivity. Fantasy Football players show higher rates of brand loyalty to NFL sponsors, are far more likely to notice ads across virtually all media, and are more likely to say that they always notice ads in sports related content broadcasted on TV networks, streaming TV packages and social media.


Activating the Fantasy Football Fan

Reaching these fantasy football fans is undoubtedly a high priority for numerous agencies and brands around this time of year. In addition to their high rates of advertising receptivity, fantasy football participants also boast a high rate of full-time employment (64%), as well as higher mean household income ($119k) and household worth ($453K), making them a very attractive audience.

With MRI-Simmons ACT tool, these fantasy football audiences can easily be fulfilled to any DMP, DSP, SSP, or addressable media.


To learn more about MRI-Simmons' Sports Fan Study, or how you can activate audiences with our activation tool ACT, contact us today!

Jennifer Olson
Jennifer Olson
Jennifer Olson is the Director of Marketing at MRI-Simmons. She has worked in the world of marketing and media research for over 30 years on both the supplier and vendor sides. Finding insights in data makes her happy, and she's perpetually searching for new data visualization ideas.
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