Fantasy football is big business in Phoenix - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Fantasy football is big business in Phoenix

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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

Fantasy football has become a realistic money maker for Valley businesses looking to cash in on draft parties.

Phoenix restaurant Twin Peaks off Camelback Road near State Road 51 is catering to fantasy football clients, advertising the perks of a draft party on Pandora internet radio stations.

"The phone is still ringing. I spend half my day on the phone," says franchise owner Carolyn Vangelos. "It has been overwhelmingly unbelievable the response we've been getting."

Vangelos has booked nearly 70 draft parties in the restaurant over the next three weeks.

Each of those parties, on average, has between 8 to 15 people, and as many as 30. They'll typically spend three to four hours in the restaurant.

"It creates a buzz of where am I going to watch football," says Vangelos.

"So not only do we get the revenue from them spending money on dinner during the draft. It's really about that future sale."

A recent report in Forbes Magazine points to the fact that the NFL reported just under $10 billion in revenue last year. However, a group that keeps tabs on fantasy football found that there's almost $15 billion spent in that arena.

That's right, fantasy generates more money than reality.

"Now I've got interest in all the games on Sunday, instead of just one or two on Sunday," says one fantasy league's co-commissioner John Palermo.

Palermo brought his party of 14 to Twin Peaks Friday night for a 16 round draft.

So, how much do they pay attention to the actual football games being played on TV?

"About 85 percent on fantasy and 15 on the game I'm watching," says Eric Shumaker, who won his league last season.

The Forbes report also indicates that, on average, fantasy football participants spend three hours a week managing their teams.

Shumaker, a manager at Honeywell says his group isn't doing it on the job, except for the occasional trash talking.

"They work together every day so what we develop through this is better communication and teamwork on the job," says Shumaker.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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