MASTER NOTES: We are our demographic

If you are reading this now, I can probably guess about your demographics.

Odds are you have been playing fantasy baseball for at least 10 years, and probably longer. Odds are you are over 40. Maybe 35, but more likely well into your 40s and possibly even your 50s and 60s. Odds are you are fully invested into your way of playing fantasy baseball.

I could be wrong about any of those three demos but I'm willing to bet most of you do fall into that group. I'm part of that group. So is pretty much every writer here at BaseballHQ.com.

Many of us grew up with this industry. I was there pretty close to the beginning. Been through a lot. Seen a lot. After 30 years, I also know what I like. You probably do too. Sometimes we try new things, but we always seem to fall back on the way we like top play the game.

That's not to say that things haven't changed over time. For some of us, we've seen 4x4 become 5x5. We've seen the gradual loosening of roster restrictions. (How many of us remember those leagues where we couldn't replace a player unless he was DLed or demoted?) Rules have changed around us and we've often had to adjust, willingly or unwillingly.

These new daily games? Frankly, I'm not a huge fan. I've played them, won a few bucks, gave some of it back. It's highly engaging, but it's not the game that I call "fantasy." Still a good game, particularly if you're into that sort of thing.

But... the demographics. I'm going to guess that most of you don't play daily fantasy. I could be wrong. We recently completed a 7-city conference tour—First Pitch Forums—where Todd Zola gave a talk on the daily games. He started each session by asking the attendees who among them already plays the game. Only a sparse few raised their hands. That surprised me a bit. Then he asked how many are thinking about trying daily fantasy. Even fewer hands. People who drop $39 or $49 to go to these events fall into our demographic, which is why I'm taking the leap that you don't play daily fantasy. You should.

I know. Asking you to try something that is significantly different from the way that you've been playing fantasy baseball for at least 10—maybe more than 20 years—is not something anyone should consider an easy task. I know that I love the formats that I love. I know that I kept using the LIMA Plan for years beyond its expiration date. It was a comfortable place for me.

But...

Our demographic, well, it is aging out. And that is reality. We are getting older, and fewer and fewer new players are engaging in the 6-month grind of full-season fantasy baseball. Rolling Stone just ran an article about how a long-time fantasy player was unable to find replacements for owners that dropped out. Maybe some of you have had the same experience. Why hack it out for six months when you could just play tonight? Not my perspective, but those are the people who are driving the growth in the industry now.

These new games are the future. Decisions at very high levels are going to alter our definition of "normal" very, very soon. I'm not an alarmist. Those who've been reading me for many years know that I have a pulse on the industry and a track record of accuracy that goes far beyond telling you what players to draft. The daily games, and all shorter-run formats, are what the majority of the market will be playing 10 years from now. Five years from now. Maybe sooner.

I've seen this coming for awhile. That is one of the reasons I launched my monthly games last year. Yes, that's a quick, non-invasive plug for ShandlerPark.com. But there is a reason that site exists.

We can't keep our heads in the sand and just assume the our status quo will continue forever. I want you to keep your eyes open and watch. Keep tabs on every change you see. Every website redesign. Every information service that starts shifting its content into areas you are not interested in. Every price increase that seems disproportionate to the level of service. Every part of your own experience that you take for granted. Stop. Try something new, just once. Because change is coming soon and our demographic might not be big enough to stop it.

 


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  For more information about the terms used in this article, see our Glossary Primer.