Journal of Scientific Papers


© CSR, 2008-2019
ISSN 2071-789X

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  • General Founder and Publisher:

    Centre of Sociological Research


  • Publishing Partners:

    University of Szczecin (Poland)

    Széchenyi István University, (Hungary)

    Mykolas Romeris University (Lithuania)

    Alexander Dubcek University of Trencín (Slovak Republic)

  • Membership:

    American Sociological Association

    European Sociological Association

    World Economics Association (WEA)




An effective distraction? Fantasy football during the times of COVID-19

Vol. 16, No 1, 2023

Sayantan Ghosh Dastidar


University of Derby,

Derby, United Kingdom


ORCID 0000-0002-3174-9335


An effective distraction? Fantasy football during the times of COVID-19


Sharanya Basu Roy


University of Derby,

Derby, United Kingdom



Abstract. The popularity of fantasy sports has increased exponentially over the last few decades. The existing literature has predominantly focused on the negative effects of fantasy football (or, fantasy sports in general) on mental health because of its association with gambling and internet addictions. Using primary data collected through online surveys, this study attempts to examine the role of fantasy football within a completely new context by asking whether it acted as an effective distraction for the fantasy football managers during the COVID-19 pandemic. About 70% of the participants consider fantasy football to be an effective escape from day-to-day activities. Approximately two-thirds of the managers in our sample report that they were negatively affected by the suspension of fantasy football at the advent of COVID-19. Once resumed, fantasy football helped mitigate some of the negative emotions caused by COVID-19 and it worked as a distraction for 78.5% of the managers during the pandemic. The statistical analysis indicates that though the role of fantasy football as a distraction was evident across all age groups the effect was more acute in case of the highly involved managers (defined by, level of competitiveness and time invested in the game during weekends).


Received: January, 2022

1st Revision: December, 2022

Accepted: March, 2023


DOI: 10.14254/2071-789X.2023/16-1/10

JEL ClassificationL82, L83

Keywords: fantasy football, COVID-19, English Premier League, fantasy sports