The NFL is pulling the plug on fantasy football for kids

by: 

David Monahan

After a two-year campaign by CCFC, the NFL has ended a controversial fantasy football game for children. 

In 2015, we issued an in-depth report on how the NFL intensively targets children, including their NFL Rush Fantasy Football game, where kids aged six to twelve won weekly prizes like an XBox One or $1,000 cash and a Grand Prize of $5,000 cash or a vacation for three in Hawaii. Our report documented how the league even created a “curriculum” to promote fantasy football in schools! 

In February 2016, we sent a letter to the NFL demanding that they stop promoting fantasy football with valuable prizes to children, and stop offering a school curriculum based on fantasy football. We told the NFL that it was unconscionable to entice children to engage in the adult activity of playing a game with the incentive of valuable prizes, and we shared research that shows fantasy sports participation is correlated with gambling-related problems. 

NFL attorneys met with CCFC and the National Council on Problem Gambling to hear our concerns, and the NFL agreed to make significant changes to the game for the 2016 season: prizes would be awarded based on a random drawing rather than success at the game; cash prizes or “scholarships” would be eliminated; and the NFL was discontinuing the school curriculum based on the game.  

These changes were a big step in the right direction, but the best news was yet to come: the NFL is now ending the Rush Fantasy game for children completely. Their decision comes on the heels of an extensive expose in the Huffington Post: "Hooked for Life: Inside the NFL’s relentless, existential, Big Tobacco-style pursuit of your children." The article was based, in large part, on CCFC’s efforts to bring these marketing tactics to light.

We applaud the NFL for this decision—it’s the right thing to do! We’re glad that the NFL will no longer encourage young children to get into the habit of playing fantasy sports for money and prizes. 

Blog Category: 

Comments

Should we also ban golf?

For many adults golfing is an activity thouroughly intertwined with gambling as well.  Would you suggest that as a nation we should put our collective foot down to keep kids from golfing?  What about other games, like gin, backgammon, or uno?  They all were once games on which one primarily gambled.  My point, if it's not obvious, is that while children shouldn't gamble, we also don't need to chastise the NFL for marketing to children.  Fantasy football isn't blackjack, plenty of people play in free to play leagues.  Chill out and let a kid win Xbox. 

Add new comment

Refresh Type the characters you see in this picture. Type the characters you see in the picture; if you can't read them, submit the form and a new image will be generated. Not case sensitive.  Switch to audio verification.