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In fantasy leagues, the field is level

New York Times
July 28, 2007

By Abigail Lorge

Last summer, a friend confessed that her boyfriend's postcoital routine often included an abrupt shift from the bed to the computer so he could check on his fantasy baseball team.

"I can understand if he doesn't always want to cuddle with me," she said over drinks, her face conveying a combination of bewilderment and revulsion. "But why does he want to cuddle with Albert Pujols?"

These days, more women understand. Female participation in fantasy sports has increased substantially over the past decade. As recently as 2000, these leagues were an almost exclusively male domain, with women comprising less than 3 percent of all players by most estimates. Today, at roughly 15 percent, women represent a significant — and growing — portion of the fantasy-sports-playing population. Perhaps it should not be a surprise that more women are participating.

"We're seeing women from athletic families who grew up watching sports and playing sports, and now they're playing fantasy because it gives them another reason to watch the games," said Thomas Bowers, co-director of the Kelley MBA Sports & Entertainment Academy at Indiana University. "This is a big change from seven years ago."

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