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Modern Day Fanaticism

Today, the Fantasy Sports Trade Association estimates that between 15 and 18 million Americans play fantasy sports, a huge leap from a sportswriter and his friends in a Manhattan restaurant.

Major television networks, especially ESPN, have hour-long shows preceding major sports seasons. In late March 2007, when the baseball season was near getting started, ESPN aired fantasy shows that broke down each position in baseball. When they show scores of a baseball game, they often give fantasy alerts for certain players.

Entire magazines are devoted to fantasy sports. Sports magazines devote large portions of issues to fantasy sports when the beginning of certain sports' seasons near. The cover of ESPN The Magazine's March 12 issue boldly proclaims that it contains "35 Pages You Can't Live Without," and the issue contains player projections for 258 major leaguers.

Click on the image below to see more examples of magazines that cover the 2007 fantasy baseball season. All nine, yes, nine of them were found at only one store. How would a fantasy lover know what to choose? Or know which information to trust? Many of these magazines have analysis of more players than there are major league roster spots.

Fantasy sports have their own section on Web sites such as ESPN.com or CBSsportsline.com or even Yahoo. Anyone can sign up for free fantasy sports on the Internet and can take advantage of live drafts, free statistic tracking and tough competition. Fantasy sports are in such demand, that people pay money to have more advanced features in their leagues.

Even though the NFL season is still months away, Web sites like CBSsportsline.com are already preparing for the 2007 fantasy football season. Projections and rankings for every player in the NFL are available. Besides the basic football and baseball, sports like basketball, hockey, car racing, golf and many more now have fantasy status. Even Congress and hip-hop have a fantasy life on the Internet.

Here is a brief news report about the upcoming 2007 fantasy baseball season from NewsTeam Boulder. NewsTeam Boulder is a cable television program produced by students in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado.

The kid in the interview even used my 1992 Dream Team comparison.

Needless to say, fantasy sports are here to stay. Worldwide, the phenomenon continues to grow. Who knows how many pages and hours will be devoted to the game in the coming years?