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Published On: Wed, Aug 28th, 2013

The (Simulated) Beautiful Game: The Evolution of Fantasy Football

The (Simulated) Beautiful Game: The Evolution of Fantasy Football

The concept of fantasy sports is one that has risen to the collective consciousness of late, and it’s hard to imagine a sports fan not taking even a casual interest in the game. One of the biggest markets for fantasy sports is the United States, and one of the biggest fantasy commodities is the NFL. The fantasy game for American football is frequently robust, full of customizable options, scoring, and even “legacy” modes. The success of the industry has spurred on the creation of numerous fantasy-devoted websites. Still, there has been somewhat of a dearth of innovation in regard to one of the sporting world’s most lucrative properties: The English Premier League (EPL).

Indeed, we know that American football versions of the fantasy game continue to up the ante when it comes to features, but association football has been noticeably stagnant. The basic crux of any fantasy football venture is that you “buy” 11 players with imaginary money for each game week. Then, of course, they accumulate points based on various statistics. You can compete with friends and strangers, and the business is all well and good if a little bit pedestrian.

This is more or less the same concept that fantasy football has worked under since the early 90’s. Perhaps the internet has given it a much wider customer base and the ability to create your own leagues has made it a friendlier affair, but players still generally have to abide by house rules. That is to say, the fantasy website defines most of the rules and regulations for you. Even so, the game’s popularity has made it more common for websites to offer prizes to their highest achievers. The official EPL fantasy game (hosted by the Premier League website itself) offers quarterly and monthly prizes along with a grand prize for the game’s ultimate champion.

Obviously, the game is incentivized for the benefit of the fan. It’s also not uncommon to find daily fantasy sports websites offering considerable cash prizes for their top fantasy users. But, the structure of the game remains virtually unchanged. From Fox Sports to Yahoo, you’re really stuck with one style of fantasy play.

One fantasy sports provider, FanXT, has set out to offer more customization than most EPL fantasy fans are used to. Sure, they have a standard fantasy EPL setup where you have minimal control over the features and you simply choose 11 players and see how things play out. But, they also have a brand new Fantasy EPL Commissioner that allows players to create custom leagues and independently decide on the scoring, number of teams, player valuation and other customization options for the league.

In this way, the Fantasy EPL Commissioner can really be viewed as a step in the right direction for fantasy football. Of course, these concepts are old hat when you look at many American fantasy sports providers and there’s really no guarantee that the concept will take root with association football. But, you have to believe that, if FanXT sees success with their fully-customizable product, then other fantasy football providers will have to follow suit. For fans of the (simulated) beautiful game, that point in time can’t come soon enough.

About the Author

Okello Steve

+ - Reporter,graphics designer and a freelance writer since 2010

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