The relationship between economic principles and Fantasy Premier League (FPL) has been previously explored on this site by Robbie Butler, which can be found here. Fantasy Premier League is the most popular online fantasy football game with over 3 million participants. Each participant assembles an imaginary team of real life footballers and score points based on those players' actual statistical performance or their perceived contribution on the field of play. Robbie discussed the principle of opportunity cost in relation to squad selections for the upcoming season and this got me thinking about other economic principles at play in the game.
Firstly, the basic fundamental economic problem is scarcity i.e. problem of having seemingly unlimited human wants in a world of limited resources. In FPL terms, each player is given £100 million to spend on 15 players. Ideally, one would like to choose all the top scoring players in the game yet due to scarce resources, each player must make choices. Selecting Sergio Aguero currently costs a player £13.2 million, over 10% of overall budget. As Robbie notes the opportunity cost of having an Aguero is perhaps giving up a Costa or Rooney. Because of scarcity people choose and all choices have an opportunity cost.
Another basic principle of economics is Price signals i.e. the information conveyed to consumers and producers, via the price charged for a product or service, which provides a signal to increase supply and/or decrease demand for the priced item. In Fantasy Premier League, players can buy and sell players in a virtual market. The idea is that underperforming players may be replaced by in form players. The basic principle of supply and demand are at play in the market. When demand for a player goes up significantly, price rises. When demand for a player drops significantly, price falls. Mahrez (Leicester) has had the highest price rise so far this year with his price increasing by 0.6 million in the first four game weeks of the season, with 1.14 million players purchasing the player since the season began.
Finally, economic (dis)incentives are at play in FPL. Under the rules of the game, players have unlimited trades each week. However, only one of these transfers is for free, with each additional transfer costing the player 4 points. Essentially, FPL places a tariff on all trades after the initial free trade. This measure discourages managers to make too many transfers every week as the point’s reduction reduces the benefits of potential transfers.
It is evident that the virtual market of FPL complies with many of the basic principles of economics. However, my current overall rank (somewhere in the region of one million+) indicates an inefficient use of available resources.