After taking a hit during the first few months of the lockdown, fantasy cricket is back and is now generating quite a buzz.The Indian Premier League tying up with Dream 11, an Indian fantasy sports platform, has definitely helped.
In the last year, India has seen the fantasy sports sector grow threefold, according to a report by the Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports. The sector’s gross revenue jumped to Rs 2,400 crore in financial year 2019-2020 from Rs 920 crore in financial year 2018-2019, according to a report called ‘The evolving landscape of sports gaming in India’published byKlynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler (KPMG).
According to the report, there are 140 such platforms available on the web in 2020, when only around 10 were there during 2016. The industry’s contest entry amount also doubled to Rs 16,500 crore in the last financial year from Rs 6,000 crore during 2018-2019, says the report. The sector currently has around 10 crore users.
Cricket is the most played fantasy sport in India with 77 percent users opting for it, says the KPMG report.
“I found fantasy cricket very interesting during college. I didn’t participate back then, but gave it a shot this year. It really has grabbed my attention. The best part about it is that now I watch matches for player performance and not just to support my city,” said Shreya, a new entrant in fantasy cricket.
Maximum engagement from paid users is seen during the IPL as the league contributes to 35-40 percent of the revenue for the sector, according to the report. “People take fantasy sports seriously because they pay for it. There’s always the hope of winning something, and a few extra bucks don’t do anybody any harm,”added Shreya.
But this year user acquisition is expected to be reduced by 30-50 percent compared to last year. With increased competition, fantasy cricket platforms have introduced new offers, and main players like Dream 11 have invested heavily in advertisements. Here are some of the top players in the market.
By bagging the Rs 222-crore sponsorship of the IPL, Dream 11 has become the face of fantasy cricket in India. In 2019, Dream 11 raised 60 million dollars by hedge fund Steadview Capital, and got the title of a unicorn company. It also clocked in Rs 700 crore as revenue in the 2018-2019. The platform has nine crore users and is attracting more players by the day.
“I’ve played Dream 11 for two years. It is really addictive because I am a huge cricket fan. All my knowledge and skills about the game were constantly put to use there. I spent almost two hours each day on it,” said Prajwal, a cricket and Dream 11 enthusiast.
It also has the provision foronline communities to discuss the sport with other cricket lovers. “There are always cash incentives if the players you bet on play well. Also, it’s a very user-friendly and competitive platform,” added Prajwal.
Created by RummyCircle, this platform currently has more than seven crore users. Sourav Ganguly, president, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), is also part of the platform. In addition to over 50 contests, low entry fees, and various rewards, the game offers playing against experts.
If a user defeats experts like Sourav Ganguly, Shane Watson, and Rashid Khan, they can win double the prize money and get discounts in mega contents like Weekly Crorepati.Cricketer Virender Sehwag is its brand ambassador.
With Yuvraj Singh as their face, Ballebaazi is the only fantasy cricket platform with the maximum number of contents. It narrows down contests to batting only, bowling only, worst team wins and more. This gives users a chance to bank on their strengths and interests.
It currently has more than four crore users and is also one of the very few platforms with an entry fee as low as Rs 2. Even if a user loses a match, they still win BB coins which can be redeemed while buying merchandise.
Mobile Premier League
After multiple accusations of being fraudulent by users, MPL revamped their transparency policies and emphasised on a 24X7 customer support. Currently, with Virat Kohli as their brand ambassador, users are gearing up to give this app another shot.
The app has more than four crore users and comes with multiple offers. Free contests can be played, with a chance of winning money. Moreover, if a user loses a paid contest, 5 percent cashback is guaranteed.
Questions over the legality of fantasy sports have often risen. But, the Supreme Court clarified this by calling it a “game of skill” and not a “game of chance”. According to the SC, the game requires understanding and strategy, and cannot be clubbed with something like gambling which works on “chance”.