Technology, Social Interaction, and Advertisements: What’s Working in Fantasy Football and What’s Not

It’s that time of year again… time for fantasy football. Where friends and family members become enemies and where a well-rounded knowledge of the game of football can be viewed as a double-edged sword, hurting and helping you. Every week, I’m surrounded by discussions on trades, injured players, and upsetting wins and losses. Whether it’s around the office or at home, fantasy football seems to take center stage and elicits interesting behaviors to say the least.

I started to think about the different sides fantasy football brings out of us as players and shared my curiosity with my peers; we decided to use one of GutCheck’s Instant Research Groups (IRGs) to understand more about people’s attitudes, behaviors, and habits when it comes to fantasy football. Within that, we wanted to know more about strategies people use and how technology affects these behaviors and attitudes, especially in terms of watching games, updating teams, and overall entertainment and engagement.

The qualitative research focused in on the following objectives:

1. What are the habits, rituals, and behaviors when it comes to fantasy football season in terms of deciding which league to join, strategies behind picking teams, behavior during match-ups, watching games, etc.?

2. Understand what types of technology people are currently using (or what they wish existed that currently does not) for the best fantasy football experience and why.

3. Uncover pain points or ways to improve the entire fantasy experience, especially as it relates to technology.

The Results

Fantasy Football Scores a Touchdown for Keeping and Increasing Engagement

Overall, a majority of respondents felt that fantasy football kept or increased their engagement with football in general. Many mentioned that it increased their viewership since fantasy football motivated them to care about so many different players, not just one sports team. Most respondents also considered fantasy football a hobby, spending between 20 minutes to seven hours a week working on their team and this excluded the time actually watching the games.

Others commented on how it was a great way to interact with friends, family, and coworkers through the sport. Some respondents even mentioned they weren’t very interested in the actual sport of football, but enjoyed the interaction with others. Regardless of how long they had been playing fantasy football, several respondents felt it brought them closer to friends, family, or coworkers they wanted to know better; fantasy football acts as an excuse or reason to interact with these people.

IRG Respondent

Fantasy football is a small hobby of mine, just starting to get into it really. But I have been a big fan of football for a long time. I spend like 5 hours during the course of the week in the fantasy football realm.

Female, 29, Oregon
IRG Respondent

I have been playing fantasy football for about 7 years now. It is a truly great way to add an extra incentive to watching a sport that I truly love. I usually dedicate as an average anywhere between 5 to 7 hours a week.

Male, 33, California

Current Technology is at the 5 Yard Line, but Could Use Some Help

Respondents felt “smart” software related to fantasy football is greatly in need. Specifically, they referenced the wish for a one-stop shop, where they could manage all their teams, on various websites. There were mentions of improvements over the last few years, but there is a definite need for more advice and guidance, especially by first-time participants. App users also stressed the need for more “real-time” updates, as more push notifications would be welcomed. Focusing specifically on features they’d like to see within apps, respondents mentioned wanting…

  • A “one-stop” shop for all fantasy football needs
  • Information provided through an app to focus on their own picks/teams
  • An app that can “learn” which features, stats, etc., are most important to them, and display those most prevalently so players will have less to filter through


IRG Respondent

The only improvement I would suggest would revolve around a central hub which displays all critical news on your team’s players. This way you wouldn’t have to scour the internet for the latest details.

Male, 24, Maryland
IRG Respondent

Leagues have evolved a lot in recent years. The focus went from season-long to weekly leagues which is a great improvement. I would add more educational tools early in the season for newcomers who want to participate but feel overwhelmed in the beginning. Always keep people engaged, and the best way to do so is to keep them informed.

Male, 33, California

This is just an example of one way to use quick qualitative reads to help you understand behaviors and habits of certain targeted segments. Download the full complimentary report to learn more about…

  • What would cause people to watch more NFL games
  • Which devices are preferred among respondents for fantasy football activities
  • How advertisements affect league decisions & which ads are recalled the most
  • What sets a league apart from the others
  • Respondent suggestions on how to improve the fantasy football experience overall
  • How specific technology improvements could increase fantasy football participation


Whether you’re a die-hard fantasy football player, new to the game, or simply prefer sitting on the sidelines, it’s clear fantasy football can inspire and spark several different behaviors and interests. Maybe this post has even inspired you to think about your own fantasy football behaviors. Or, if you’re like me, it has also served as a reminder to check this week’s lineup…