New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) passes while pursued by Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Adrian Clayborn (94) in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) (AP2013)
As lawmakers face off in Washington, tackling budget issues while playing offense or defense for President Obama's health care plan, some Americans are buying insurance to help protect their interests in fantasy sports leagues that offer everything from simple bragging rights to thousands of dollars in cash and prizes.
Nearly 25 million Americans are involved in Fantasy Football leagues, a game where fans take the helm as pretend owners of NFL-type teams, using the weekly statistics of real NFL players to compete for money and prizes.
Fantasy Football players scout and draft players, play against other owners of fantasy teams, pick up and release athletes and even trade players.
“We came up with the idea in 2008 when Tom Brady was injured in the first game of the season.”
- Henry Olszewski, a vice president of Intermarket Insurance
And now, Fantasy Football league owners are even insuring their players to safeguard against being knocked out of competitive play, WCBS-TV reported.
When an athlete is injured and cannot play in a regularly scheduled game, he misses the fantasy game, too, and a player's season can be over in the time it takes for a ref to blow his whistle.
Fantasy Football player Denis O'Leary experienced the real-life heartache when one of his players suffered a season-ending injury.
“You’re banking on him to be the cornerstone of your team, to be the one you can brag about week in and week out and now your season’s shot. So it was heartbreaking,” O’Leary told the station.
So, O'Leary decided to protect his investment and purchase insurance from Fantasy Sports Insurance, one of two companies offering fantasy insurance nationwide.
“We came up with the idea in 2008 when Tom Brady was injured in the first game of the season” Henry Olszewski, a vice president of Intermarket Insurance, which runs the website FantasySportsInsurance.com, told KTVT-TV.
According to KTVT, a recent study shows the average fantasy player spends an average of $467 annually in various sports.
According to the Fantasy Sports Insurance website, fantasy team owners can insure players for $100 to $1,000. If an injured player misses nine games, there’s a payout. For a fee of 10 percent of the costs of entering a league (average $50-$100 per sport, per year), the company insures a roster’s top players. Injured players or those with a high risk of getting injured aren’t available for insurance.
The company paid out more than $15,000 in losses due to injuries to key players in 2012.
“I can watch the game now in peace instead of every tackle being a stressful event thinking that your fantasy season is going to end, so it’s good,” O'Leary said, according to WCBS.
Football is the most popular of the insurance plans, but insurance is also available for hockey and baseball.