in English

2007/4 – Riikka Turtiainen

Between two ice hockey rinks – Exploring the world of fantasy web leagues

Fantasy web leagues are Internet sport games where fantasy owners build a team that competes against other fantasy owners based on the statistics generated by individual players of a professional sport. The idea of these games is to build up as good a team as possible with a certain amount of money and to succeed with strategic skills instead of sleight of hand – mostly with an excellent selection of players and good timing. The success in fantasy web leagues is dependent on the performances of the real athletes in real games. The Internet era has impacted on fantasy sports. There has been a change from manual player cards and dice play versions into a real time statistics and digital illustrations.

In this article I will discuss fantasy web leagues as an example of "new" sport consumption. I am interested in Internet gaming tightly related to spectator sports – but also in the communication included in the games. I will analyze the communication between gamers of fantasy web leagues. I will try to find out how the discourse of following sports and the discourse of digital gaming are mixed. I will also describe some special features of this digital phenomenon.

According to my research material, the function of fantasy web leagues is to bring extra excitement and extra interest into spectator sports. Fantasy sport creates a new level of sport consumption. Competition between gamers and making good use of knowledge play a central role. Gamers build their own individual routines of media use. They follow sport events more carefully because of their own involvement in fantasy web leagues and that changes the nature of spectator sports in terms of a single game.