MELISSA BLOCK, host:
From NPR News this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
ROBERT SIEGEL, host:
I'm Robert Siegel. And it's time now for All Tech Considered.
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SIEGEL: The football season is here and that means millions of fans huddling in front of their TVs and their computers, because with the football season also comes fantasy football. Some industry estimates say there are more than 20 million players. Among them, a small but growing group: women. NPR's Katia Dunn has the story.
KATIA DUNN: Who would you take?
Ms. JEANETTE CASSELANO(ph): Captain McNabb. I had to do it. I love McNabb.
DUNN: It's a Wednesday night, and four women are bent over their laptops in a living room in Arlington, Virginia.
Ms. CASSELANO: I have a quarterback, two wide receivers, three running backs and a tight end. I think I'm going to go just go for a defense.
DUNN: Jeanette Casselano is kicked back on the couch wearing an Eagles jersey making draft picks. These women started their all-girls league after watching their guy friends play. Casselano and her teammate Susie Schoenberger(ph) say it's a slightly different game with women.
Ms. CASSELANO: I'm sure many guys don't pick some of their players based on looks.
Ms. SUSIE SHOENBERGER: Mm-hmm.
DUNN: Are looks a real factor for you?
Ms. CASSELANO: It's not a real factor but it could be part of the strategy.
Ms. SCHOENBERGER: I mean I guess if all of your favorite players were gone and that's all you had to go on, okay, yes, for sure.
DUNN: Casselano is also making draft picks for the league she's playing in with some guys from work. She says she's excited to show them she can hold her own.
Ms. CASSELANO: Because a lot of times when you're telling people you play fantasy they're like, oh, that's awesome. They're like, wait, who's in your league? And you say all girls, and they're like, whatever. But we play just as hard and watch the games every weekend and really enjoy it. We know what's going on and can intelligently talk about it.
DUNN: But the women in this league do admit that they spend less time every week trading players and choosing lineups than some of their male friends.
Mr. DAVID GELLER (Director, Fantasy Sports Products, Yahoo): They're realizing that, hey, I don't need to spend 50 hours a week dedicating myself to poring over, you know, data in order to have fun.
DUNN: David Geller is the director of Fantasy Sports products for Yahoo. He says that more than 14 percent of Yahoo's fantasy football players are female. He thinks new online tools are making the game more accessible for both men and women.
Mr. PAUL CHARCHIAN (President, Fantasy Sports Trade Association): Karen(ph), thanks for your patience this morning.
KAREN: I am calling on behalf of Mama's Musclemen and fighting for my playoff position.
Mr. CHARCHIAN: Wonderful.
KAREN: I have a wide receiver question….
DUNN: Paul Charchian is the president of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association and the host of a fantasy football radio show. Charchian says the men he talks to haven't minded women joining them on the virtual field. In fact, for men who are married to these fantasy enthusiasts, it's a point of pride.
Mr. CHARCHIAN: It's almost one-upping your friends who have to try to carve out a few hours to sit in front of the TV on Sunday because their wife doesn't like it. And they don't understand it and it's an area of contention.
DUNN: It's kind of hot.
Mr. CHARCHIAN: It is hot. Absolutely.
DUNN: Charchian says many of these men are so happy to be sharing the game with their spouses, they don't even mind losing to them.
Katia Dunn, NPR News.