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New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick doesn’t care about much outside of football — real football.

He made that clear during the media scrimmage at training on Thursday.

“Fantasy football means nothing to me,” Belichick said.

In 2022, Belichick’s opinion is unpopular with an industry that is rapidly evolving into the centerpiece of sports.

According to the Fantasy Sports and Gaming Association, in 2019 the US and Canadian fantasy sports industry was valued at more than $7 billion, and an estimated 78% of fantasy sports participants play fantasy football. Of that 78%, more than half of the participants were between the ages of 18 and 34.

LinkedIn valued fantasy sports at $20.69 billion in 2020, and the industry is expected to reach $48.07 billion by 2027. This growth is expected due to increased availability and investment in mobile technology and online gaming. There are currently 15 major players in the fantasy sports market, with connections around the world.

The origins of fantasy sports date back a quarter of a century to 1997, when CBS launched the first online fantasy football product. In 1998, an estimated 500,000 people in the United States played fantasy sports. An estimated 40 million people played fantasy football in the US in 2021, and there could be close to 150 million players worldwide by the start of the 2022 season.

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