Fantasy NASCAR proves popular with women
The market of fantasy NASCAR players is much bigger and more female in composition than had been widely assumed in the industry. More than 1.2 million people now play NASCAR fantasy games, according to research being released April 27 by the Fant...
The market of fantasy NASCAR players is much bigger and more female in composition than had been widely assumed in the industry.
More than 1.2 million people now play NASCAR fantasy games, according to research being released April 27 by the Fantasy Sports Association. In what is being described as the first substantive, qualitative analysis of the fantasy NASCAR market, the research also shows the audience for the games as 33 percent female, far higher than the female audience for any other type of fantasy sports game.
The data also indicates that average user time spent on fantasy NASCAR games closely rivals time spent for fantasy football and baseball.
"We were surprised, quite pleasantly, at these numbers," said Clay Walker, FSA chairman. "Fantasy NASCAR, as well fantasy golf, is growing at very, very high rates, higher than the industry at large. And these are, really, ideal fantasy games for new players. They're once-a-week type of play (and) they don't necessarily involve huge rosters and a lot of transactions."
The research was developed in conjunction with Interactive Sports Marketing and was released last week at FSA's research symposium in New York. The information shows fantasy NASCAR players spend an average of 4.49 hours per week online playing and researching fantasy sports. Fantasy football players average 5.05 hours per week, and fantasy baseball players 4.97 hours per week.
The FSA numbers, part of a much larger review of the entire fantasy sports business, were developed using Nielsen/NetRatings data of 30,000 U.S. residents. In total, the fantasy NASCAR space is currently about one-eighth the size of fantasy football and its nearly 10 million players. Various estimates of the fantasy baseball market hover between 3 million and 6 million.
Overall, fantasy sports represent a $2 billion industry domestically with 18 million players. The original concepts of the games are now being applied to nonsports contests that track Hollywood awards, cover appearances on national lifestyle magazines and other entertainment elements.
The NASCAR findings show some significant demographic expansion for the fantasy sports industry. Female participation in other fantasy sports hovers in single-digit or low double-digit percentages.
"What we're seeing is directly attributable to our efforts to create and disseminate more statistical information," said Dick Glover, NASCAR vice president of broadcasting and new media. "Before, we were sort of limited in this area. We really didn't have a racing version of a (quarterback) passer rating. But a couple of years ago, we began to make a very concerted effort to have more concrete performance data in our sport ... and it's paid off here."
NASCAR has recently worked with Stats Inc. to develop a new set of statistics that would be applicable to fantasy games.
Fantasy NASCAR players also were found to be less physically fit than players of other fantasy sports. Among fantasy NASCAR players, 35 percent exercise and 45 percent participate in sports. The corresponding numbers for fantasy football were 48 percent and 60 percent, and 52 percent and 73 percent for fantasy baseball.
Yahoo!, long a strong player in fantasy sports, is the larger purveyor of NASCAR fantasy games with 579,000 players, according to the FSA data. NASCAR.com's games took the second slot with 294,000 users. FoxSports.com, which sold a presenting sponsorship to UPS this year for its fantasy NASCAR game co-developed with Stats Inc., ranked third at 186,000 users. ESPN.com placed fourth, with 165,000 players.
Eric Fisher is a reporter with SportsBusiness Journal.