My BFF claims that he has heard callers with identifiable Australian accents calling the Sirius fantasy football channel’s call-in show, leading him to think that American-style fantasy football has gained something of a following in Australia, of all places.
Are there fantasy Canadian Football League leagues? Are middle-aged Englishmen meticulously watching their fantasy football (soccer) rosters? Fantasy cricket, perhaps?
Or is this another one of those distinctly Merkin phenomena, like monster truck rallies?
I played in a fantasy cricket competition in the mid-90’s in the UK. It was run by the Independent newspaper. It was pretty similar to fantasy football here: pick 11 players based on how many runs, wickets, and catches you thought they’d get.
I think I finished somewhere in the top 1000 one year, but with only the top 10 getting prizes, I was a long way from cashing in.
My work is a provider of fantasy sports contests online, and I can tell you, without a doubt - many countries enjoy fantasy sports.
We’ve done contests in Spanish, Italian, French, German, among other languages. Soccer is very popular internationally.
We are based in Canada - and we host a plethora of Canadian contests for CFL, NHL, Soccer, NFL and even Baseball that are open to only Canadians. My husband was in a friendly NHL fantasy sports league for many years and has also gone in on NFL & baseball pools.
Fantasy football (soccer) is big in the UK, there was even a TV show in the mid-nineties called ‘Fantasy Football League’ (intially on radio, but on TV from 1994), where the original format was a fantasy league with each team being ‘managed’ by a different celebrity who would be the guest on the show for one week. The TV show was a massive hit, though mainly as vehicle for it’s two comedian co-presenters (who it made big stars of) to talk about football and other aspects of so-called ‘lad-culture’ which was the zeitgeist in the UK at the time.
Fantasy football (soccer) was clearly copied from fantasy footbal (American), but the soccer form became a hit in the UK very soon after the American football form became a hit in the US.