Sport had effectively taken a back seat during the ongoing pandemic with major international sporting events postponed or halted. But just like a knight in shining armour, emerged fantasy gaming. Carrying the weight load of sports, you will almost certainly see a fantasy gaming sponsor in most sporting events these days. Dream11 were the frontrunners with their major sponsorship roles in the prestigious Indian Premier League. How did fantasy sports break out despite other companies struggling in this forced-economic crisis?
What is fantasy sport?
To sum up, fantasy sports is a concept in which users make virtual teams in a platform based on the current match that is played, and collect points/scores based on the real-life performances of the chosen players. An entry fee is charged per game and winnings are usually distributed from a preset prize pool. Each manager/user is allowed to make changes before the start of play (in fantasy football & kabaddi) or before the first ball has been bowled (in fantasy cricket).
Players can enter small contests, Head-to-heads or join the Mega Contest (as seen on the Gamezy app) with large prize pools distributed based on the finished position in the table. In some applications, choosing a captain and a vice-captain will also give you x2 and x1.5 points respectively.
Innovative companies such as Gamezy have also provided options such as Live Fantasy (making a fantasy team every 5 overs in a T20 match) and 2nd Innings fantasy (fantasy teams in the second half of an ODI match) to further engage users.
Why are fantasy gaming so competitive in India?
All the credit goes to the popularity of the Indian Premier League (IPL) and it’s massive fan-following in India. Cricket in India is a religion, and therefore big cricketers are worshipped. With the emergence of Dream11 in fantasy sports, fans have found new ways to engage with a game that is enjoyed and loved.
According to a recent report published by the FIFS (Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports) and consultancy group KPMG, fantasy sports yielded a revenue of approximately Rs.2400 crores in 2020 and is expected to be worth $3.7 billion by 2024.
Is playing fantasy sports legal?
Fantasy gaming is considered a ‘game of skill’ and is permitted to be played in most states in India under the Public Gambling Act. Apart from states such as Odisha, Sikkim, Assam, Nagaland, Telangana & Karnataka, users can log onto their fantasy app and commence making teams to enter contests. Therefore, applications will not be available for users in these respective states.
Lucrative season with the IPL
The Indian Premier League is no doubt India’s largest sporting tournament and had also reached 367 million users during the first phase of the 2021 season before a COVID-19 halt. Fantasy Sports enjoyed major success during the season. Dream11 acquired the title sponsorship for the 2020 season for an estimated Rs.222 crores, paving the way for other fantasy applications such as MPL, My11 Circle and Gamezy to exploit this illustrious cricketing season.
With over 70 players in the market, it is important to differentiate. One such app- Gamezy were able to do so with 2nd Innings & Live Fantasy contests, guaranteeing you more rewards even after the start of the game. With KL Rahul as their brand ambassador, Gamezy were also able to apply their innovation through TV commercials with a huge brand recall between overs in the IPL.
Fantasy sports is here to stay and will be even more exciting for mobile gamers once 5G rolls out in India. The market has great potential to grow especially in times like the pandemic where users spend more time staying at home and using their mobile devices.