The Emergence of Fantasy Gaming in India

by March 13, 2020 0 comments

Fantasy sport as a phenomenon in India was largely unheard of until as recently as three or even two years ago. For a cricket crazy nation with over a billion people finding different reasons to justify their love for the sport, to not be fully introduced to esport (or fantasy sport) wasn’t just surprising, but also inexplicably odd. It took its time, but fantasy sport is well and truly here in India and is one of the fastest growing online businesses to flourish in recent times.

From hardly a few online sports platform catering to the needs of enthusiasts to getting the most ordinary cricket fans to join the bandwagon, the rising numbers of fantasy sport are unbelievable, to say the least. Before dwelling on what exactly has contributed to the immense popularity of fantasy gaming in India, it is important to see how it has transformed the way sport and more importantly cricket is viewed in the country. Besides creating more awareness, involvement, and excitement for the game, it has gotten even the non-cricket lovers to hop on the ride, which is always welcoming for any sporting event.

The Numbers: India is believed to have close to 500 million religious cricket followers, the number that only sees a rise as we speak. From a business standpoint, the opportunity and possibilities are as huge as they can get. While fantasy cricket may not have found its prevalence in the country for several reasons before, the situation right now stands completely changed. As many as 60 or more fantasy sports platforms have surfaced in the last two years alone, paving way for the number of users to more than double up in the same period. The rise in tier 2 and tier 3 centres has been as high as 150-200%. With such a tremendous playground made available for users and platforms to come together, the growth is only expected to hit through the roof in times to come.

Why has Fantasy Gaming caught on like wildfire?

In over 50 years of cricket being loved and followed in the country, there were hardly any avenues that fans could indulge themselves with besides being mere spectators. Fantasy Cricket as a system broke that glass ceiling while having legalities as a solid backing. The breakthrough allowed every last fan on the street to be making money merely by using their cricketing sense without any apprehensions whatsoever. The limited span of time that it has flourished has only introduced us to so many endearing stories about people with humble backgrounds hitting it big through fantasy platforms. With a sport like Cricket that virtually has an influence on every regular household; it is now making them a participant in earning money. One more reason why people hopped on to this concept was for their reading and understanding of the game. With cricket being a topic of discussion at every second corner, no one needed to be walked through the last details of how fantasy sport worked. People got it, and went on with it.

Why it will continue to flourish

If the industry experts and their analysis is anything to go by, online gaming hasn’t even tapped into more than half of its target audience. There are close to 50 million users of fantasy gaming at the moment, the number which could see a 200% rise in the next two to three years. Another reason why this phenomenon will find its way into more unconventional territories is the growing access and consumption of the Internet in India. With more smartphone and internet users in India, fantasy gaming will find its way in. The core base of the users is estimated to be in the range of 25 to 35 years which reflects on how the young but earning section of fans is taking to the concept.

While cricket constitutes as a major play in encouraging the growth of esport in India, the fact that it also involves other sporting domains helps immensely. With sports like football, kabaddi, tennis and even hockey being featured as offerings, the fans of such sports will add to the pool of users. Football events like ISL have already gained enough popularity and have a sizable fanbase to be targeted at this prospect. While a cricketing event like the IPL is itself an opportunity big enough to attract fans to esport platforms, India hugely benefits from its busy calendar as far as cricket is concerned.

How it’s aiding the economy

The legality of esport is a mark of a substantial push in aiding the economy. The taxes liable on every winning made over Rs 10000, totals as heavy revenue generated by the end of each match. The processes that quite honestly should already have been set in place; are nowhere and are looking to help everybody involved. More revenue for the government is always good for other sports that do not sadly get the same attention as cricket or any other popular sport.

Nothing has ever really come in the way of Indians celebrating their cricket and nothing ever will. Fantasy Sport, in a nutshell, has only given those millions of fans across the country a few more reasons to celebrate their favourite sport. These are really good signs!

Authored by Ratul Sethi Founder, Apne11

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