OPINION: Fan interaction is the key to a great sport


Soccer may be the most popular sport in the world, but what is the most popular sport in America? If you go onto Google and look up the most popular sport in America, you will not get a definite answer.

There is always a toss up between which is better: football or basketball.

Anyone you ask will give you a different answer. If you are asking a student from Wichita State, they will more than likely tell you basketball is the most popular sport in America; however, if you ask someone from the University of Alabama, they will answer with football.

There is no definite answer, but what makes these sports so enjoyable to watch? What makes these sports so popular? A winning season?

My answer is simple, fan interaction and competition.

Watching people compete is always a thrill for the audience, but what makes basketball and football so great is they allow fans to interact. Football has fantasy football and basketball has March Madness brackets.

Fantasy football has more to it than March Madness. With fantasy football, individuals are competing against one another with their own football teams. You are able to draft your own players, real players from the NFL, and depending on how well your players do, they earn or lose points. The team with the most points wins.

Well, that’s great, but how do you get good at fantasy football?

Fantasy Football is a mix between luck and knowledge of the sport. To be able to draft good or decent players, you have to watch each team to see how well they compete. All of your players will not necessarily come from the same team. You are not Clark Hunt, CEO and chairman of the Kansas City Chiefs, you have to have your own team. This allows for fans to watch all football teams, not just their favorite team.

Many people who live and breathe fantasy football also watch college football because they get to see how the players play before the NFL. That way when the football player gets to the NFL, they already know how they play and they will be willing to take a shot.

Here comes the luck part. Will that player have a good season, or will your star player be injured? If you selected Christian McCaffery as your star running back, I’m sorry for your struggle this season. Injuries are difficult to predict, so it is always hit or miss.

If you want to participate in a game full of more luck, I suggest the March Madness bracket.

March Madness bracket, for those who do not know, also work based off of points. The big difference is the brackets use teams instead of individual players.

Starting at the beginning of March, a list of 60-lock teams are given out with 4 empty spots. The four empty spaces are not to be filled out until the final eight. That way if you have no teams left over due to failed predictions, you can start over.

The odds of having the perfect March Madness bracket are one in 9.2 quintillion. You are more likely to win the lottery or be struck by lighting than have the perfect bracket.

Because you have to rely on a team rather than individual players, March Madness is more difficult to predict. With fantasy football, a player does not predict the winner of the Super Bowl, they are predicting which football players will perform well. Your players’ actual team can lose, but that does not mean you do not receive points.

For example, as of November 2nd, Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts is ranked in the top four of points earned by a quarterback. He is ahead of Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray by 1.3 points. That may sound like such a small amount; however, the Eagles, statistically, are having a much worse season than the Cardinals. The Cardinals have a record of 7 and 1 whereas the Eagles have a record of 3 and 5.

For the 2021 basketball season, March Madness brackets were filled out by over 36 million individuals. For the current 2021-2022 NFL season, fantasy football has over 40 million players. Since the beginning of these games, viewership has had a significant increase. There are also more fans emerging from watching players. This allows for more tickets and merchandise to be sold. The brackets and fantasy football also helped people to continue to interact with the sport from home.

My suggestion for other sports to gain viewers is to allow for fans to interact. Americans live and breathe for healthy competition, and fantasy football and the March Madness brackets gives that satisfaction.