Football fans around the country know that Sundays are a day to sit in front of the TV all day to cheer their favorite NFL teams to victory. However, in the last fifteen years the National Football League has seen increased viewership of its games. This is a result of the emergence of high-speed Internet connections which in turn resulted in the creation of fantasy football.
Fantasy football was the brainchild of those who thought they could capitalize on the success of fantasy baseball, the first fantasy sport. The earliest forms of fantasy sports could be easily tabulated using a spreadsheet, but the idea of competing against friends drew people in. Interest in fantasy sports — especially football — grew exponentially.
Today, several websites including NFL.com, Yahoo!, ESPN, CBS, and more host fantasy football leagues for millions of users. The availability of media and resources today has lessened the competitive advantage for more experienced players. As a result, skilled mathematicians who also enjoy football have developed algorithms that compile data from the major fantasy football hosts to determine draft projections and host smart mock drafts. The mock draft simulators use big data to formulate projections of where players will get selected, and how they will perform over the course of the season, using information from past seasons as well as strength of opponents and potential. This helps the seasoned fantasy football players to regain their competitive advantage, using this advanced data.
The bigger picture here is the use of big data. Big data is the collection of data too large to be processed using traditional spreadsheets or other data applications. Users of big data use this information to make projections about the future of their business, in this case football stars. Fantasy football is a vehicle to drive big data in terms of the average consumer. Big data is typically used by scientists, researchers, government, and individuals trying to gather extensive data about particular topics. But on Sundays, big data has found a new home on the gridiron.