India Fantasy Sports Market Size, Trends, Growth

Rapid digitization has left no sector unturned. In the realm of sports, technology transformation offers a new world of fan engagement with Fantasy sports. Basis a published report by Custom Market Insights, the Indian fantasy sports market is expected to have a CAGR of 13.9% from 2023 to 2030. It is anticipated to reach a valuation of US$72.06 billion from its earlier valuation of US$28.98 billion in 2023.

What is Fantasy Sports?

It is a game often played on the internet where users put together a virtual team of players. These players are proxies of real players from a professional sport. Once users have made their respective teams, they compete with many other user teams like in a real tournament. This competition is based on the statistical performance of the players in the actual game. Users and participants in fantasy sports games often dive deep into a thorough understanding of the sport and its players. The winner gains access to a cash prize or other rewards based on their team’s performance.

Factors influencing the rise of Fantasy Sports in India

Wondering what is creating such a dynamic buzz for the fantasy sports market in India? Here are some key factors influencing its rise in India:

1. Rapid digitization

The public and private infrastructure in India is committed to making an inclusive digital economy. One where access to the internet and smartphones at various affordable price points is available. Brands like Paytm, PhonePe, and public services like Rural digital services are bringing the remote population closer to internet access and its many opportunities. Offering a chance to partake in fantasy sports, leading to wider adoption of fantasy sports in India.

2. Cricket fan base

Cricket is the most popular sport in the country, and brands are now using this fan base to attract cricket fans to cricket-based fantasy sports games. Fantasy Cricket is a popular fantasy sport in India and accounts for a significant percentage of the overall market.

3. Rise of the middle class and disposable income

The rising middle class today has an increase in discretionary spending on leisure or entertainment activities of their choice. Users are now able to spend money on in-app purchases, subscription fees, and other fantasy sports-related services to lead in the game.

4. Sports sector partnerships

Another key reason for the growth of fantasy sports is the strategic partnerships that fantasy sports brands have fostered with many leading sports leagues. For instance, Dream11, an online gaming platform had a prior partnership with the Indian Premier League (IPL) to be its official Fantasy Game partner. Dream 11 is now outbidded by My11Circle. Another example is Dream 11 being an official fantasy sports partner with the Pro Kabaddi League. These partnerships help the leading fantasy sports brands to reach a wider and already engaged audience.

5. Legal status

While online gambling has many facets that are yet to be taken into a policy framework, Fantasy Sports has been legalized by the government of India. It runs under a regulatory framework that brings transparency and legitimacy to the sector. This itself has helped to build trust in users and fostered a growing investment culture for the rising fantasy sports sector.

Brands Leading the Fantasy Sports Gaming in India

1. HalaPlay

HalaPlay is based in Bengaluru and was founded in 2016. It is a leading and trusted name in fantasy sports in India and offers users on its platform to partake in fantasy football, cricket, and kabaddi leagues. The brand is known to offer close to INR 10 million in daily prizes as per an article by Zartek. It has received investment from renowned names like Kae Capital and Nazara Technologies.

2. Dream11

One of the oldest players in fantasy sports, Dream11 was founded in 2007. It has been at the forefront of revolutionizing the online gaming sector in India. Capturing the sports enthusiast in the nation. It is the first fantasy sports startup in India to also reach the global unicorn list. Dream 11 has been the first official partner for the IPL appointed by BCCI. It raised $275 million in funding from 14 investors including Tencent Sequoia India, TCV, D1 Capital Partners and Alpha Wave Global. Users can play fantasy sports games across various sports like kabaddi, hockey, futsal, rugby, cricket, etc.

3. Games24x7

Another unicorn start-up in online gaming in sports is Games 24×7. Founded in 2006, the brand offers a significant number of games on its platform that are both skill-enhancing and casual games for entertainment. The brand boosts on 500 million fantasy teams created on their platform alone in 2023. Where users have been rewarded for their knowledge and passion for their favourite sports. It offers gaming in fantasy cricket, football, kabaddi, and other games.

4. Mobile Premier League (MPL)

Started in 2018, MPL is another leading fantasy sports and mobile gaming platform in India. It offers a wide category of online sports like card games, puzzles, action games, and fantasy games in sports like cricket, football, basketball, etc. The brand has strategic partnerships with major sports leagues like Pro Kabaddi League and NBA. To expand its fantasy sports outreach and community engagement, in 2021 the brands bought over Gaming Monk, an esports community platform.

5. Fantasy Akhada

A startup kickstarted in 2020, Fantasy Akhada is dedicated to the sport of Kabaddi. However, it does offer fantasy sports leagues in other popular sports like cricket, football, and basketball. The platform has different skill levels to target all categories of gamers in India. It also has customized experiences for users who seek a deeper engagement.

Other platforms are Paytm First Games, Zapak, My11 Cricle, Sports Junki, etc.

The propelling sports culture in the country and the rising investment opportunities in the sector are some significant factors of growth for fantasy sports. The growth sprout is particularly high across tier 2 to tier 4 cities and towns where digital literacy and connectivity are given prime significance by the public sector. As the FDI policy invites new investment opportunities, we can only see the sector growing further in India creating highly skilled jobs in the country.

These new career opportunities will open doors for sports marketers, partnerships and sponsorship managers, technical analysts, business intelligence analysts, and more.

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Author: Mankiran

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