Fantasy Sports Leagues
Sport: Football, Baseball, Basketball, Hockey, Soccer
Year Introduced: 1998
Though fantasy sports have been around since the 1960s, their popularity didn't truly take off until the ease of Internet allowed for more efficient, streamlined leagues to take shape. In 1998, Rotonews.com (now known as RotoWire) launched the first Web commissioning service, allowing sports and stats geeks to take their teams off the pen and pad, and onto an easier-to-navigate computer database. Transactions, draft picks, point totalling and more could now all be done in mere seconds. The hobby became more of a mainstream trend in 2002, with studies conducted by the NFL revealing that fantasy players watched football nearly two hours more every Sunday than the average, male fan. Given a fantasy player's added investment to scores and stats, the discrepancy makes sense. The pastime became a billion dollar industry in 2003, and has never looked back since.