A Brief History of Fantasy League Auction

By: Matt Sims 12th February 2018


We're often told, "We've been playing Fantasy League since it started!" Well, unless you were one of the few trial leagues taking part way back in the 1990/1 season, then that's not quite the case...


Yes, the phenomenon started in the early 1990s - many years before the internet revolutionised the way that fantasy football is played today. Indeed, some of you reading this article may not have even been born...

In those days, completed teamsheets were sent through Royal Mail or even by courier following auctions up and down the country (and beyond) and were loaded onto the Fantasy League network manually by a team of data inputters. Team changes were made by either phone or fax. No weekend changes or Supersubs.

Chairmen would also receive weekly reports by post, but many couldn't wait so long as for the postman to arrive on Tuesday morning and phone us for their eagerly anticipated league positions and points in the meantime.



The first version of the (read only) website came during the 1996/7 season. However, the introduction of an automatic telephone line allowed managers to make team changes right up until 15 minutes before the first kick-off time on Saturday without the need to speak to an operator.

Here they could also get access to team news, with Teletext the most common source of such information at that time.

Suspensions, team sheets and player lists were available via a faxback service, whilst two Fantasy League handbooks were also published.



The website evolved, but for many years there was a section of the audience who still used the more traditional methods of team changes and continued to get reports sent through the post.

Even though all the required information was now on t'internet, not everyone had access to it.

Mr Pink, editor of the Fantasy Pink, came on board to give regular news updates from the football and fantasy football world.



During the mid-noughties was when the Fantasy League Professional (as it was known back then) site really developed, with League Lobbies, Online Auctions, Sealed Bids and the much-loved Supersubs functionality coming into effect. Points were updated live on weekends.

Soon it became compulsory to manage your team over the website and those without home access felt compelled to jump on the bandwagon of this "new-fangled technology" or risk falling behind their rivals.



With the rise of the 'Facebook generation', it was important for Fantasy League to keep up to speed, allowing managers to post messages on their league's bulletin boards or simply to make comments on news articles and their favourite player profiles.

In terms of design, gone were the days of square and rectangular boxes and in came rounded corners...



As the use of smartphones and tablets to access websites has increased dramatically in the last decade, Fantasy League have brought out several iterations of the Fantasy League iOS app, as well as optimising the site for use on a mobile phone.

However, despite the overwhelming progress in technology over this period and a change in name, the underlying Auction format that we all know and love is little-changed from when it first came onto the scene some 27 years ago.

Quite simply, Fantasy League Auction remains the original and best fantasy football game around.



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