Some 25 million people this fall will be playing in fantasy football leagues, an industry that will generate $1.1 billion in revenues.
Technology is driving participation in fantasy football, with a recent Intel study showing that 75 percent of participants want real-time, detailed data to help them in their leagues. Seventy percent of those surveyed in the study said new technologies are increasing the amount of time they're spending on fantasy football, with 66 percent saying that Websites and apps that help evaluate talent and offer tips and tools for managing their teams are important to their experience.
In addition, those involved with professional sports teams rely heavily on technology to gather, store and analyze the massive amounts of data collected from everything from on-field sensors to video feeds to social media.
Intel officials want to show that the company's offerings—from Xeon processors that power servers to their Apache Hadoop distribution that helps analyze data that's collected—are driving the technology scene for both fantasy football participants and the professional teams they follow. During a panel discussion in San Francisco Aug. 28, Intel executives sat with business executives and Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice to talk about how technology is impacting the game for both players and fantasy players.
"The rapid innovation in technology, data analytics and sports is transforming how organizations use real-time information to make smarter personnel decisions to improve player performance and even shifting how fans enjoy the game," Boyd Davis, vice president and general manager of Intel's Datacenter Software Division, said in a statement.
Intel and SAP recently helped launch a cloud-based comparison tool for fantasy footballers that can forecast football statistics, not only by looking at players' stats but also by factoring in such data as weather, injuries and the location of the game. The tool, powered by Intel and the SAP HANA in-memory database, helps fantasy participants with their game-day decisions, according to Intel.
On the professional side, STATS, a sports technology, data and content company, uses Xeon-based servers for real-time scores and fantasy sports platforms, with the data being given to professional sports leagues, media companies and teams. Intel's Graph Builder for Apache Hadoop is open-source software that takes information and converts it into graphs that are used to better visualize relationships and patterns in the data, which in turn can help teams better determine how factors such as weather, injuries and travel schedules could impact games.
"The technology that is available to players and fans today is absolutely mind-blowing," Rice said in a statement. "During my time on the field as well as my work as an analyst, I've seen firsthand the impact that technology has had on the sports fan, the athlete and the game. I can only imagine what it would have been like to play with these resources at my fingertips."