Study: Growth Of Fantasy Sports Participation Flattens Out, Little Growth For DFS

Written By Dustin Gouker on June 14, 2016 - Last Updated on November 23, 2021
FSTA conference DFS player numbers

The number of people playing fantasy sports in North America grew slightly over the past year but flattened out after fast growth in previous years, according to data released by the industry on Tuesday.

The top-line number for fantasy sports, DFS

The total number of fantasy sports players — both seasonlong and daily fantasy sports — rose to 57.4 million in the U.S. and Canada according to the study Ipsos Public Affairs completed for the Fantasy Sports Trade Association.

While the figure is a new high water mark for the industry, it is an increase of just one percent, according to Ipsos. It also comes on the heels of giant increases in fantasy sports participation in recent years.

The data was released during the FSTA Summer Conference in New York. The poll was conducted earlier this year.

DFS ad spend vs. numbers

The most surprising figures out of the data might be from DFS participation.

Last year, this same study showed that 21 percent of all players played both DFS and seasonlong, while 17% played exclusively DFS.

While a higher percentage of people said they play DFS only (19 percent), the percentage that play both DFS and seasonlong dipped to 17 percent. (It’s worth noting the margin of error  for the study is about three percent.)

Those figures come with the backdrop that DraftKings and FanDuel spent hundreds of millions of dollars in 2015 on TV ad spend based on customer acquisition. Those campaigns were designed to turn both casual fans and seasonlong players into DFS users, and the data appears to show few in-roads were made in scaling the DFS user base in a major way.

Other takeaways from the fantasy sports poll

Here is more data about fantasy sports players, according to the Ipsos study:

  • 82 percent of all players take part in seasonlong fantasy leagues.
  • The percentage of fantasy sports players who “play some form of daily fantasy sports” rose from 31 percent in 2012 to 64 percent in 2015.
  • More than 60 percent of players say they both watch more live sports and read more about sports because of fantasy sports.
  • 61 percent of respondents said they would support a law that makes paid-entry fantasy sports legal (across 18 states surveyed).
  • More than half of respondents said they would cancel a “league supported media service” if not for fantasy sports.
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Dustin Gouker

Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer -- including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner.

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