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Gamification through fantasy sports – Empirical findings from professional sport leagues

Markus Buser (Marketing and Service Management, University of Bayreuth, Bayreuth, Germany)
Herbert Woratschek (Marketing and Service Management, University of Bayreuth, Bayreuth, Germany)
B. David Ridpath (Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, USA)

Sport, Business and Management

ISSN: 2042-678X

Article publication date: 3 August 2021

Issue publication date: 6 October 2021




In this paper, Fantasy Sports (Hereafter FS) is conceptually classified as a concept of gamification for professional sport leagues. From a sporting perspective, FS is often criticized because such online activities may be at the expense of physical activities. Otherwise, gamification can ultimately lead to economic advantages for sport leagues. To further empirically analyse this supposed juxtaposition, an empirical study is presented.


In the empirical study, participation and non-participation in a sport league-related FS league are analysed and the study uses a divided sample (N = 319) for a one-factor Welch-ANOVA. FS effects on sport practice (engaging in doing sport) and usage (engaging with sport) of FS players as well as on gaining and retaining fans are investigated.


Results demonstrate that participating in gamified FS experiences increases sport usage while not harming general sport practice. Furthermore, FS participation increases consumption capital as well as sport fans' loyalty and word of mouth (WOM) towards the league brand. Building on the results, league brands should foster gamified FS applications to retain their fan base and acquire new fans.


The authors’ theoretical contribution indicates the importance of FS as a gamified application and essential marketing tool for professional sport leagues. By introducing the terms sport practice and usage, the authors bridge the traditional logic of sport consumption with innovative approaches around engagement in and with sports. The results refute the prejudice that FS leads to less physical activity due to time substitution or displacement.



Buser, M., Woratschek, H. and Ridpath, B.D. (2021), "Gamification through fantasy sports – Empirical findings from professional sport leagues", Sport, Business and Management, Vol. 11 No. 5, pp. 575-597.



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