How many fantasy sports players are there in the United States?

If you are reading this, you probably play fantasy sports. If not, you probably know someone who does play fantasy sports. The fantasy sports industry has been on a robust growth ever since the internet age took off and more recently with the growth of the mobile phone industry and daily fantasy sites.

The question is how many fantasy players are there in the United States?

The Fantasy Sports Trade Association (FSTA) touts on their website that there are 35 million active players all over the country. When you look deeper into their industry demographics the numbers breakdown to 33.5 million people play fantasy sports in United States. The organization also estimates that 3.1 million players are in Canada. Historical research of FSTA has tracked fantasy sports players numbers at:
  • 2007 - 19.4 million in the US and Canada
  • 2010 - 32 million in the US and Canada
Another piece of data that can be referenced is what Nielsen has reported that 10.3 million players in the US are accessing their fantasy football application in 2013. The Nielsen report is measuring a different number than the FSTA report however we can do some extrapolation to see if the total number of fantasy players are close to the 33.5 million players.

First, there are other game providers out there such as Fox Sports and the growing number of daily fantasy games, but the 10.3 million players is for unique visitors to only the big 4 game providers. We would need to get a number of how many unique players are not playing the big 4. If you were to combine the Fox Sports, MyFantasyLeague, daily fantasy game, the local lawyers fantasy league and come up with a number of players only playing in those leagues and not already counted in the big 4, I don't believe that that totals more than 1 million players. But just to see what happens, let's use the overestimated value to say there would be 11.3 million unique visitors that access their fantasy football application.

Next, a Pew Internet and American Life Project reports, 63% American adults use cellphones to go online. So we make an assumption that approximately 63% of all fantasy players are using a smartphone app, then that translates to 17.9  million fantasy football players.

63% is not unreasonable number, considering in 2011 the FSTA estimated that 30% of fantasy sports player used the mobile device.  Remember in 2011, the Apple iPhone 4 was launched and mobile apps was not as popular as they are now. Also, CBS Sports has claimed that their mobile app has increased 100% since last year.

Finally, we need to look at how many total fantasy players there are from our 17.9 million fantasy football players. FSTA estimates that 72%  fantasy players play fantasy football.  That than takes our number to 24.86 million fantasy sports players in the United States.

In summary, looking at the Nielsen report that says 10.3 million  unique visitors accessing their fantasy football mobile app, we can extrapolate that there are 24.86 million fantasy sports players.