Fantasy Football Stereotypes: It’s not FANTASY. It’s REAL LIFE.
Once a week, Kim Meyer puts aside her duties as head of public relations for Christian Dior Beauty to focus on fantasy football.
Meyer, 33, is a fledgling but rabid player in the fantasy leagues, a pursuit that is largely considered to be a male pastime. But increasingly, women are grabbing the ball as well.
The number of women playing fantasy football in the United States and Canada has more than doubled since 2007, to 8.3 million this year, according to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association. Women now comprise 20 percent of all players, an attractive and growing business: In a four-year period, their spending on related magazines, memberships and other content has more than doubled, to $334 million in 2012.
Female fantasy play has been oxygenated by a breed of websites such as FanDuel and DraftKings that allow players to drop in for a weekend instead of having to commit to an entire season. Women are joining FanDuel — which recently raised $70 million from investors — twice as fast as men, according to the company’s chief executive, Nigel Eccles.
Since Meyer started playing at the beginning of this season, she has sat out just one round of games, amid Paris Fashion Week.
“I’m surprised at how into it I am,” she said of the competition.
Unflattering stereotypes abound about the female fantasy football player: She does it only because of her boyfriend/husband, and her picks are based on how cute the players are. Many women, however, scorn making recruitment decisions based on aesthetics and frown upon consulting boyfriends or husbands.
Liz Loza, an actress who has appeared on ABC’s “Scandal,” for several years avoided mentioning that she was married on “X’s & Y’s Podcast,” her fantasy football program.
“There are men who would think that a guy would be feeding it to me,” she said of the commentary and analysis she provides.
Loza, also known as the Fantasy Football Girl, wrote her 2010 wedding vows to include a promise to beat her husband at fantasy football and has routinely lived up to her wifely obligation.
“It’s kind of like a sorority,” said Adrienne Allen, 29, referring to Fantasy Femmes, the all-woman fantasy football league she founded with a college friend, Candace Armstrong. They discuss friends who want to join their league and whether they can be counted on to take the league seriously.
“We talk about people and we say, ‘Do you think she’s going to play hard all year?’ ” Allen said. “And we kick people out if they don’t.”
Alyssa Vitrano plays hardball, too. She is the commissioner of the GrapeBallers, a coed league with take-no-prisoners rules. For instance, team owners must respond to at least one group e-mail every three weeks. Failure to do so because you are giving birth earns no immunity.
“I’m like, ‘I’m sorry, that’s not an excuse,’ ” said Vitrano, a digital video producer. “It’s like ‘The Hunger Games.’ ”+