MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota loves its fantasy sports. When it comes participation, Minnesota ranks the highest in the country per capita.

So, who’s playing fantasy sports? Good Question.

Fantasy sports used to be the purview of mostly men. (They’re still the majority, with one in three men in the U.S. Canada report having fantasy teams.) But according to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, the biggest growth is in kids under 18. Women now make up 30 percent of fantasy sports players.

The average age is 32. The average number of leagues for those who play is 4.5.

“What happens is you have your friends’ leagues, but, then there’s this office league and you say I’ll join that,” says Paul Charchian, president of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association.

Football is king when it comes to fantasy sports. About 80 percent of people with teams play football. According to Charchian, about half of that number play baseball and then half that number play basketball.

But, why is Minnesota tops?

Charchian attributes part of that to the weather, where people hunker down in the winter and look for activities indoors. But, he says when fantasy sports football started picking up steam in the 90s, Minnesota radio station KFAN was a big supporter.

Minnesota also had a local writer in Cliff Charpentier, who published a magazine called Fantasy Football Digest each year.

“Because we’ve been doing it longer, it’s had time to grow in the state,” says Charchian.

Over the years, technology has made huge difference in how fantasy sports are played. Its popularity has also changed how people watch.  Just more than 60 percent of people say they watch more live sports on television because of their fantasy teams.

“If you don’t like fantasy, you might not like what you see on Sunday because so much of it is geared towards fantasy sports audience,” Charchian says.

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