There are between 20 and 30 million people in America who play fantasy football during the 17-week regular season with some of them participating in several leagues. But what do millions of loyal fans who spend up to nine hours a week on their team all have in common? They are part of an estimated $2 billion fantasy sports business that is growing quickly and has already caught the attention of advertising executives. (For more, check out A Quick And Dirty Look At Sports Gambling.)

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A Marketing Touchdown
An article in USA Today last year said that the entertainment value for online players is high because most users sign up for free leagues, and during a time where people are looking for ways to find entertainment that doesn't cost much money, fantasy sports is a great value. The article explained that big advertisers such as Snickers, Best Buy (NYSE:BBY), Ford (NYSE:F) and Coors Light (NYSE:TAP) have seen the value of the dedicated group of online players and have invested money into being a part of the online sports trend.

Last year, Jason Ankeny of Entrepreneur stated that the demographics for fantasy sports is a marketer's dream, based on the fact that most players are male, have above-average income and higher levels of education. Considering that the average fantasy football player makes between $60,000 and $100,000 a year, marketers can use the demographics plus the estimated salary range to target their products to a specific market. (Love sports? Don't miss this The "Next Big Thing" In Pro Sports.)

A Business Nightmare
These days, Facebook gets all the attention at businesses as the big time waster, siphoning off productivity and revenue with every status update, wall post and Farmville click. But maybe businesses should be taking a harder look at those avid football fans who exchange statistics in the hallways and talk about how well the players they don't even like are doing because of how they're boosting their fantasy points. (Don't commit these social networking faux pas. Read 6 Career-Killing Facebook Mistakes.)

A report that came out several years ago estimated that the millions of people who log on to their fantasy football leagues spend an average of 50 minutes a week managing their teams at work. This time spent away from actually working costs businesses an estimated $1 billion a week loss in revenues. However, not all businesses hate the idea of workers spending a little time at work changing up their players online; some see an element of teamwork that can be fostered when workers share a common interest in fantasy football.

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The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, and each game, there is money to be made and lost from fantasy football. Marketers see a dedicated fan base with time and hopefully some money to spend, businesses see a potential productivity blitz every day of the week and fantasy football players simply see a little cheap entertainment to keep their love of the game going strong all week long.

Fantasy football doesn't show any signs of significant slowdown and as long as the diehard fans keep coming back week after week for the games, the online team tweaking won't be far behind. (For more, check out Play Video Games; Become A Millionaire.)

Check out the latest financial news in Water Cooler Finance: History's Biggest Rogue Trading Scandal.

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