OXFORD, Miss. – Snacks, check. Remote control, check. Beer, maybe not.
As millions of fantasy sports’ consumers gear up for the National Football League’s Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and the New York Giants on Feb. 3, a University of Mississippi professor has revealed both peculiar and routine behavior as they watched regular season games on Sunday.
"Many of your NFL fantasy sport consumers are not that much different than your regular NFL fan,” said Kim Beason, a UM parks and recreation management professor. “Like most fans, they switch back and forth between games on tv, but the results on beer drinking is sort of strange. Less than one out of four always or usually drinks beer during the game? That’s surprising.”
Preliminary results from Beason’s ongoing survey indicate that nearly half of the fantasy sports consumers polled rarely or never drink beer while watching regular season NFL games on Sunday. UM marketing professor, Nitika Garg, a consumer behavior specialist, said this seemingly unorthodox behavior may boil down to business.
“Many of your fantasy sport players may not drink during the game so they can stay sober and remain focused on their team’s success,” Garg said. “Instead of a leisure or pleasure-based attitude that most fans have toward a game, fantasy sport players may take a more business-like approach to watching football games. Their stake in the game is higher.”
Partnering with the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, Beason’s six-year research into the industry has helped hundreds of small, medium and large companies understand the marketplace and their consumers better, as well as launch new businesses and expand or modify existing business models, said FSTA president Jeffrey Thomas.
“Dr. Beason is absolutely a pioneer and a friend of the fantasy sports industry,” Thomas said. “He was the first researcher that took fantasy sports seriously, and for that, he has cemented a place in history with the FSTA and our member companies.”
Beason’s latest consumer behavior survey of regular season NFL fantasy sports enthusiasts also reveals that more than 95 percent watch NFL games on television, more than half rarely or never go to a sports bar to watch the games, less than one in five watch the games alone and three out of five always or usually watch NFL pregame television shows. And ladies, if you can believe it, there are a few, although less than 10 percent, that reportedly rarely or never television surf between football games.
“Yes, nearly two out of three always or usually eat snacks during the game, and nearly half always or usually curse out loud at the television due to a fantasy sports related issue, but the behavior of the viewing public is changing,” Beason said. “More than 90 percent are online checking their teams success during the games. That’s a huge amount.”
With 20 million who play fantasy sport league-type contests in North America, the total market size is estimated at more than $1.5 billion, including sponsorships, endorsements, contest management and advertising. Beason said these consumers – primarily male, white collar and married with children – are unique and interesting, and exhibit leisure behaviors that make them a separate and identifiable industry, apart from the professional sport industry.
“Fantasy sports is a remarkable industry,” Beason said. “It impacts the workplace. It’s even used to help teach children math. It’s amazing the impact fantasy sports has had on professional sports as well as the evolution of fantasy sports into other industries.”
For more news from the University of Mississippi, visit The Ole' Miss Newsdesk
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