SAN DIEGO - As the first week of the football season comes to a close, the fantasy season begins in earnest.
Over the past five years the popularity of the virtual game has exploded.
"The industry as a whole is growing at 10 percent per year so it's about as recession proof as it gets," said Brad Evans, a longtime Yahoo! fantasy sports writer. "There's more and more people getting involved due to the explosion of broadband internet for everybody. You're even seeing more women getting involved."
The Fantasy Sports Trade Association said membership has spiked 60 percent over the past four years.
Employment consultant firm, Challenger, Gray and Christmas conducted a study that estimated 21 million US workers play.
Their 2006 study on fantasy sports found that businesses could be losing $1.1 billion a week due to productivity loss.
Not only has fantasy itself become a multi-billion dollar business, it's also gotten into the political arena.
According to thehill.com, the Fantasy Sports Trade Association hired a full-fledged, capitol-hill lobbyist just this past year. The lobbyist is a first for the industry.
"Fantasy five years ago was part of the Dungeons and Dragons crowd," Evans said. "We were cast as nerdy, geeky types but its part of pop culture."
A consensus top two fantasy pick this year, Houston Texans running back, Arian Foster, derided the virtual masses on his twitter account saying fantasy managers worried about his injured hamstring were "sick."