Search Focuses On Fantasy Football

    August 15, 2007

First off, my title may have unintentionally tricked you; this article revolves around what the Brits call “football,” but what we Americans identify as “soccer.”  Sorry, NFL fans.  But followers of the English Premier League have come to the right place, and it’s actually their search activity that has caused all the buzz.

“With football fever back in full swing, more fans than ever are getting into the spirit by creating their own online fantasy teams,” writes Robin Goad, a research director, on the official Hitwise blog.  “Searches for the term ‘fantasy football’ were up by 94% last week compared to the first week of the Premiership season last year.”

A related graph shows a sharp rise in activity in the past month (after interest, as represented by searches, approached zero in June).  I wouldn’t be surprised if that line soon plateaus, or even dives, however – it seems like people would bookmark their favorite sites, rather than run repeated searches.

But even if that’s the case, this fantasy football trend will still have a number of effects; Goad notes, “Each newspaper has benefited from a boost in traffic to its online properties as a result of its fantasy football website.  Last week, Mail Online – Fantasy League was the second most visited site before the Daily Mail’s main site (after Google UK), accounting for 11.66% of upstream traffic.  The same was true for The Daily Telegraph and Metro, with 7.63% and 6.82% of their upstream traffic coming from their respective fantasy football websites.”

Finally, on another sports-related note, both Yahoo and Flickr are taking an interest in a new game called “Faceball.”