Who Invented Fantasy Sports: Uncovering the Origins

There are a few more popular options among sports fans than playing fantasy sports. You can find out all about the history of the game here.

Fantasy sports have been a regular feature in modern life for sports fans across the world, with millions engrossed in various games looking to win the most points. The history of the sector started from humbling beginnings, and few could have predicted just how popular the game would later become.  

Nowadays, there is no shortage of fantasy sports options across a variety of different sports, with the most popular option for rugby fans coming in the form of Oval3. Millions continue to play some of the top options around the world, but you can find out more about the history of the game and find out who invented fantasy sports here.  

Who Invented Fantasy Sports?

The roots of the early history of fantasy sports can be traced back to the late 1970s, as the godfather and the man who invented fantasy sports is Daniel Okrent. However, the American could hardly believe that success that his idea would later achieve, as he originally set out the play to just put himself and his friends against one another in a baseball league.  

The first fantasy sports competition in history was staged between Okrent and his friends for the 1979-80 MLB season, with the squad assembling their teams via a draft on the night before the opening round of matches. The competition would see each of the entries put forward $250, with the top finishers in the league splitting the prize money between them. This first fantasy competition was later called the ‘Rotisserie baseball’ in homage to the New York restaurant where they held their first ever draft.  

Okrent’s league was mostly made up by players involved in the media, and books were later released in 1983 to help players select the perfect team to top the leaderboards. Despite being known as the man who invented fantasy sports, the American has never been able to cash-in on the idea, and he and his friends always struggled to find a way to copyright the idea. The name of the league was later copyrighted, which prompted other competitions to go by the names of ‘fantasy baseball’. Okrent revealed that he never regretted not being able to cash-in on his creation.  

Fantasy Sports In The Digital Age

Since the late 70s, fantasy sports have been able to take on a life of their own, with competitions stretching far away from just baseball. Nowadays, players get involved in fantasy leagues centered around the action in basketball, American Football, and soccer.  

The success of the industry has seen its valuation surge to $1.5 billion, with major corporations such as Disney, CBS, and Yahoo becoming massive players in the game. Future investment in the sector has followed in the form of upstarts, including FanDuel and DraftKings, which both raised over $300 million from various investors including major teams across the NBA, NFL, and NHL. The growing popularity in fantasy sports saw both platforms surge in terms of valuation, with both quickly being worth more than $1 billion each.  

New companies to the sector are always attempts to broaden the options available to players based on the initial idea made by the man who invented fantasy sports. One of the freshest names in the sector is Oval3, which is a standout option among rugby players that are looking to get closer to the action that is taking place on the field.

At this platform, users will assemble a team five players from the best national side and domestic clubs across the world, before competing against friends and family and other users on the platform. Building a team is the first step at Oval3, with users having to select a front row, 2nd/3rd row, a half, and a back. The final player can be a star that plays in any position.  

The platform enables users to learn more about the available players before making a final selection, which includes examining the player’s information, their last five scores, and their key attributes that could contribute to them scoring points throughout the season.

One of the standout features at Oval3 is the way in which the site rewards top players for their excellent performances. Top ranked users on the platform can expect to pick up unique digital player cards after excellent point-scoring weeks, while an excellent addition is the option to win match tickets for some of the biggest fixtures on the planet throughout the season.


Fantasy sports have grown immensely throughout history from the late 70s when they were formed in a New York City restaurant. Few could have predicted the rise in popularity that fantasy games would have enjoyed following that first breakthrough, as they have become a worldwide phenomenon, with users from all four corners building fantasy teams across at least one sport.  

That success only looks set to continue over the coming years, with fresh platforms such as Oval3 forming new ways to revitalize the options available to players involved, including the option of winning money-can’t-buy prizes.


Who Is Considered the Father of Fantasy Sports?  

Daniel Okrent is considered to be the man who invented fantasy sports after forming the first fantasy sports game ahead of the 1979-80 MLB season.  

When Was the First Fantasy Sports League Established?

The first fantasy league of sorts was put together by Wilfred Winkenback in the 1950s as the businessman put together a golf fantasy game. However, Okrent’s Rotisserie League is the first modern day fantasy competition.

How Has Technology Changed Fantasy Sports?  

Technology has aided the growth of fantasy sports across the world, as users can now select players for their team from the comfort of their own home. That means that players from around the world can compete against each other.  

Are There Legal Challenges Associated With Fantasy Sports?  

There have been legal issues in the United States throughout history, with state laws regulating the competitions. However, it is less regulated than traditional sports betting.

What Is the Current Size and Popularity of Fantasy Sports Worldwide?  

Fantasy sports is one of the biggest sectors, as it is currently valued at around $1.5 billion, with billions of fans competing in fantasy games across sports such as soccer, American Football, and basketball.  


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