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Fantasy sports in India gaining fast popularity on the back of IPL

Bengaluru-based Ashutosh Singh (identify modified on request) was not large on cricket, actually not the T20 avatar. The 33-year-old communication skilled is an avid soccer fan, loyal to Manchester Metropolis. Just a few years in the past, he bought hooked on Fantasy Premier League — a web based recreation the place the subscriber, as a supervisor, creates a staff and scores relying on the efficiency of the gamers and the staff.

What started as an informal quest for bragging rights amongst his friends turned an obsession of types. A lot in order that in the course of the earlier version of the Indian Premier League, Singh determined to use his fantasy sports activities acumen to cricket. That led him to Indian fantasy sports activities platform Dream11. This yr, he’s profitable extra than simply bragging rights as a result of efficiency of two of his staff’s everlasting fixtures, Sanju Samson and KL Rahul. In two weeks, Singh has received round Rs 5,500 on Dream11. He’s gunning for extra, even because the competitors is changing into stiffer by the day.

Welcome to the world of fantasy sports activities, the place anybody with a smartphone can join on one of many 100+plus platforms functioning in India now. They’ll immediately create a staff, pay a nominal entry payment to take part in tournaments and begin profitable money prizes.

That’s the core of the fantasy sports activities enterprise mannequin — purchase customers free of charge, cost them in the event that they need to participate in a match. Nearly half of this pooled cash goes to the winner or winners, because the case could also be, and the remaining is shared by different customers. Dream11 expenses a platform payment or a “take price” of 10-20 per cent of the gathering.


Navin Honagudi, managing director of Kae Capital, says: “Take charges had been as excessive as 20 per cent. However intense competitors has made this sub-15 per cent.”

Kae Capital had invested an undisclosed quantity in fantasy sport platform HalaPlay. Gaming firm Nazara acquired that stake in July for Rs 14.6 crore.

The fantasy sports activities market is large enterprise overseas. Within the US, for instance, it’s a $7.8 billion market in 2020, says market intelligence agency IBISWorld. In India, a FICCI-EY report mentioned the net gaming phase was value Rs 6,500 crore in 2019 and it could contact Rs 18,700 crore in 2022. The IPL fantasy league shall be value $1 billion, says KPMG.

“Fantasy sport platforms have robust community results. Extra the gamers, higher the rewards”

— Navin Honagudi, MD, Kae Capital

Trade consultants say IPL followers are more likely to spend Rs 7,000-10,000 crore as becoming a member of charges or bets on these platforms this season. “The 2020 IPL would be the deciding issue for lots of Indian startups within the fantasy gaming area,” says an trade insider requesting anonymity as a result of he’s not authorised to talk to journalists.

The businesses are additionally elevating cash now because the going is sweet. In September alone, Dream11 raised $225 million at a valuation of $2.5 billion, whereas Cellular Premier League raised $90 million.
(Disclosure: Instances Web Restricted, a subsidiary of the Instances Group, the writer of ET Journal, is an investor in Cellular Premier League).


These platforms additionally earn cash on commercials. Final yr, Dream11 earned Rs 775 crore, a considerable soar from the Rs 225 crore it earned the yr earlier than. Dream11, the market chief with some 90 per cent share, can be the title sponsor of the IPL. MPL sponsors the Kolkata Knight Riders and the Royal Challengers Bangalore within the event. Dream11 and MPL refused to remark for the story. A number of different stakeholders didn’t need to be recognized.

Regardless of this reluctance, the market has grown by leaps and bounds. There have been 10 gamers in India in 2016 and 140 in 2019. Lowentry obstacles, the prospects of a extremely engaged and transacting person base, and the lure of simple profitability maybe led to this proliferation.

One other issue fuelling this sector may very well be the regulatory haze. The Bombay Excessive Courtroom had in July 2019 mentioned these platforms weren’t unlawful as no betting or playing was concerned. Customers had to make use of their abilities to win, it mentioned. However critics say these platforms can be utilized for betting and playing, too.


The court docket ruling won’t give the sector a blanket safety, says Nandan Kamath, a Bengaluru-based lawyer who specialises in sports activities, know-how and media legal guidelines. “Just by calling itself fantasy sports activities, a recreation format doesn’t qualify as a recreation of ability. The operator should show that ability has a predominant affect in figuring out the profitable consequence within the specific format.” Fantasy sport platforms might be related provided that they’ll entice extra customers and in addition reward them higher, says Honagudi of Kae Capital. “The gamers must really feel that they’re profitable.”

Dream11 has been making an attempt to make that reference to customers utilizing an ecosystem that includes fantasy sports activities, a sports activities journey & experiences platform and a content material platform. The corporate can be stepping into merchandising. “Dream11 is a transparent winner on this area. Others can’t match its partnerships and monetary muscle,” says an trade insider.

Arrange in 2008, it has raised $385 million from marquee inventors. In 2019, it turned India’s first gaming unicorn. An trade analyst says: “It most likely has extra KYC and checking account particulars of individuals than the broadcasters. When you join, they begin providing distinctive built-in experiences.

I can see them go the BookMyShow approach.” Within the rush so as to add customers, nevertheless, most of those platforms add obscure tournaments and matches from internationally. Just like the 20-over matches between Dhanbad Dynamos and Dumka Daredevils.

This fantasy phase has to maintain it actual if it desires to be within the recreation.

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