How Peyton and Eli Manning’s Rap Song Foretold the Future of Mobile Fantasy Football

The Manning brothers' "Football On Your Phone" rap was a viral hit last year, but there's a lot of truth to it, particularly in the realm of fantasy football.

Feb 21, 2014 at 10:03AM

Now's your chance,
To have football in your phone and football in your pants,
Look at this guy using his phone as a phone,
Your phone ain't for calling,
Your phone's for footballing.

--Peyton Manning & Eli Manning, "Football on Your Phone" rap

These lyrics, from a DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) ad last year, showed a comedic side to the Manning brothers many hadn't seen. Peyton's fake mullet and Eli's nonexistent flow were ridiculous. But there's a lot of truth to the rap. 

According to Nielsen's latest Year in Sports Media Report, a lot of people really do love football on their phones. Ten million Americans used mobile fantasy football apps at the beginning of the 2013 NFL season, mostly from Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) and Disney's (NYSE:DIS) ESPN. Last September, each user spent over a half an hour per week checking their fantasy team, opening their app of choice nearly once a day.

Depending on how much you play fantasy sports, it may or may not surprise you that the average fantasy football fan is a fanatic -- CSA and The Aspire Group found that 60% of all users manage three or more teams at once. But it comes as no surprise to the companies involved in this marketplace.

Espn Fantasy

2013 ESPN Fantasy Football App. Image via author.

The business of mobile fantasy football
If Nielsen's statistics are correct, about two of every five fantasy footballers use a mobile app. The Fantasy Sports Trade Association approximates that the 25.8 million people who play spend nearly $2 billion  each year on league fees and analytical tools like Bloomberg's Decision Maker, ESPN Insider, Fantasy Football Xtreme, and ScoutPro.

Although exact figures vary, the "big four" of Yahoo, ESPN, CBS (NYSE:CBS) Sports, and make somewhere between $5 billion and $10 billion in additional ad revenue. Forbes estimates that when players' opportunity cost is included (the value of lost wages), the total value of the fantasy football market is between $40 billion and $70 billion annually. That trumps the NFL by as much as sevenfold, and at its peak approximation, is about 75% as big as the entire video game industry.

The next generation
It's clear fantasy football is enormous, and mobile is a huge part of the business. But if you're asking what's next, that's a tougher question. The number of mobile fantasy football users grew by 15% from one year ago, twice as fast as the growth experienced by the overall industry. Similar expansion over the next decade projects fantasy football will have 60 million users by 2024, with almost three-quarters of the market accessing the game through an app.

Screen Shot

Sources: Nielsen and Fantasy Sports Trade Association. Growth estimates and graph compiled by author.

As this vision becomes a reality, fantasy providers should place an even greater focus on mobile. The league's own fantasy game, for example, now has 3 million players, about one-third the size of Yahoo! or ESPN's service.

Much like stadium upgrades and social media interaction, encouraging football fans to become fantasy GMs is good for retention. "Even if your team isn't playing well," Commissioner Roger Goodell said last month, "you're still following your fantasy league or … your mobile device."

The future
While it's impossible to predict exactly what the next generation of fantasy football will hold, major providers like ESPN and Yahoo! are keeping a close eye on the NFL. The league's RedZone and Game Rewind products give it a significant streaming video advantage over any other service. In addition, the sheer number of resources at its disposal suggest that eventually, the fantasy landscape may become less duopolistic.

Going forward, I also expect analytical tools to place a similar importance on mobile. The market's already worth billions, but there's significant upside on the horizon. By the middle of the next decade, it's safe to say the majority of players will be using their phones "for footballing." 

Peyton and Eli were right all along.

The next step for you
Want to profit on business analysis like this? The key for your future is to turn business insights into portfolio gold through smart and steady investing … starting right now. Those who wait on the sidelines are missing out on huge gains and putting their financial futures in jeopardy. The Motley Fool is offering a new special report, an essential guide to investing, which includes access to top stocks to buy now. Click here to get your copy today -- it's absolutely free.

Jake Mann has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Walt Disney and Yahoo!. The Motley Fool owns shares of Walt Disney. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Money to your ears - A great FREE investing resource for you

The best way to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as “binge-worthy finance.”

Feb 1, 2016 at 5:03PM

Whether we're in the midst of earnings season or riding out the market's lulls, you want to know the best strategies for your money.

And you'll want to go beyond the hype of screaming TV personalities, fear-mongering ads, and "analysis" from people who might have your email address ... but no track record of success.

In short, you want a voice of reason you can count on.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich," rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

And one of the easiest, most enjoyable, most valuable ways to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as "binge-worthy finance."

Whether you make it part of your daily commute or you save up and listen to a handful of episodes for your 50-mile bike rides or long soaks in a bubble bath (or both!), the podcasts make sense of your money.

And unlike so many who want to make the subjects of personal finance and investing complicated and scary, our podcasts are clear, insightful, and (yes, it's true) fun.

Our free suite of podcasts

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. The show is also heard weekly on dozens of radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers are timeless, so it's worth going back to and listening from the very start; the other three are focused more on today's events, so listen to the most recent first.

All are available for free at

If you're looking for a friendly voice ... with great advice on how to make the most of your money ... from a business with a lengthy track record of success ... in clear, compelling language ... I encourage you to give a listen to our free podcasts.

Head to, give them a spin, and you can subscribe there (at iTunes, Stitcher, or our other partners) if you want to receive them regularly.

It's money to your ears.


Compare Brokers