What ESPN’s fantasy football marathon says about football fans

If you weren’t previously aware, ESPN is airing a 28-hour fantasy football marathon starting on Monday, Aug. 15 at 7 p.m. ET and ending on Tuesday, Aug. 16 at 11 p.m. ET.

It’s understandable if you weren’t previously aware ESPN was holding this fantasy football marathon, I don’t know anything about it until a notification popped up on my phone from the ESPN Fantasy Football app Monday afternoon.

If you’re anything like me you LOVE fantasy football. I’ve played fantasy football every NFL season since I was about 12 or 13 years old and I’m currently 20. This year alone I’m signed up to play in three different leagues.

When it comes to fantasy football drafts I always try to put my best foot forward and field the best draft day team possible. With that goal in mind, I always do my research in preparation for draft day. I look at the position rankings, study the projections and make a handy cheat sheet for myself that ranks the order I want to draft each player.

But even I can’t get excited about a 28-hour fantasy football marathon. Sure I’ll probably flip the show on for a few minutes because I love football, but I don’t see myself dedicating too much of my time tuning in to this marathon show.

However, the idea of the whole thing did get me thinking about what it says about us as football fans. As the popularity of fantasy sports continues to grow by the year, the demand for content centered around an activity that was once considered part of some niche and not the mainstream, continues to grow as well.

And it shows us watching the NFL on Sundays has become more centered around the game about the game, than the game itself. In this era of NFL Redzone and NFL Sunday Ticket, there is no longer such thing as an out of market game. There is no such thing as a local team. Gone are the days of sitting down to watch one or two games depending on what’s being shown on your local CBS and FOX stations. We watch to see how our players on our fantasy team are doing, not how the NFL team itself is doing.

With shows like The League and ESPN’s 28-hour fantasy football marathon racing to grab a slice of the fantasy sports’ empire, it’s become more about managing your way to a fantasy football league championship, than about rooting your hometown team on to a Super Bowl championship.


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