Tonight marks the kickoff of the 2013 NFL season, as the Baltimore Ravens will begin their Super Bowl title defense against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. For people in Maryland and Colorado, this is certainly a big deal, but anticipation for the new season extends well beyond the two local fanbases. Tonight, millions of football fanatics around the world will sit down to watch the game with one particular interest — their fantasy teams.
For many people, the beginning of the NFL season is only important because it means the start of a new year of fantasy football. The industry itself is worth over $1 billion, according to a 2012 report from Fox Business. Many analysts say that fantasy football has surpassed actual sports like basketball and hockey on the list of America's most popular pastimes. It seems every year fantasy football gets bigger and bigger, which is one of the primary reasons why the NFL is the most profitable sports league in North America.
So what does all of this have to do with your business? Probably more than you think. Fantasy football, much like your organization, is increasingly being driven by data.
In fact, data has blurred the lines between fantasy football and business to a degree that companies traditionally involved in business technology and data management tools are starting to produce solutions for fantasy football owners.
Recently, Intel sponsored a panel discussion about the relationship between fantasy football and business technology, and Vice President Boyd Davis used the forum as an opportunity to praise fantasy football for its educational value.
"Big data is a huge buzzword in my industry right now, but it's hard for people to get their heads around," he said in a post-discussion interview with the San Francisco Chronicle. "Fantasy football was for us a vehicle to bring home that rather complex, rather boring topic and then translate it into something the average person could understand."
Fantasy football is supposed to be a fun, leisurely activity, but its basic concepts are just as applicable in the business realm. In both areas, you need accurate, real-time data to help you make smart decisions on the fly. You need the best analytical tools and a way to view your information in a user-friendly format.