Online fantasy gaming not a fantasy but a USD 1-1.5 billion industry
Online fantasy gaming not a fantasy but a USD 1-1.5 billion industry
Soumil Kumar

All thanks to the Indian Premier League (IPL), online fantasy gaming is going to grow as fans are expected to spend USD 1-1.5 billion (Rs 7,000-10,000 crore), according to industry players and analysts. This money will not only flow to platforms like Dream11, My11Circle, HalaPlay but new entrants like Paytm and Mobile Premier League (MPL) will be seen competing too, stated TOI report.

Due to the lockdown and growing preference to opt for entertainment sitting at the comfort of one’s home, the demand for esport has witnessed a sharp rise.

After market leader Dream11 won the title sponsorship of IPL for Rs 222 crore last month, along with crores spent in marketing this online gaming, there will be a surge in business further.

The number of consumers on fantasy sports platforms, where cricket accounts for over 80 per cent of the action, is projected to grow from 90 million to 120-150 million, according to industry players.

Dream11 expects its total user base to increase from about 82 million to at least 100 million. “Sitting at home, consumers don’t have a lot to do. We can see what is happening in the stock markets in India with increasing retail trading on platforms like Zerodha. That is the same manifestation expected in fantasy sports,” said Manish Agarwal, CEO of Nazara Games, which has backed fantasy platform HalaPlay.

According to a report by industry body FIFS with KPMG, the fantasy gaming market saw 167 per cent growth in the contest entry amount (CEA) to Rs 16,500 crore in FY20 on the back of the World Cup and IPL last year.

Companies typically make 10-20 per cent of the CEA amount as revenues when a player withdraws the winnings from the platform. With the onset of COVID-19, most of the April-June quarter has been a washout for the industry.

Last year, fans spent USD 550-700 million (Rs 4,000-5,000 crore) contesting on fantasy gaming platforms during IPL, according to industry estimates. “IPL for fantasy gaming platforms is like Diwali for retail. It is 40-50 per cent of the industry and revenues for any players as well. Last year, 50-60 million customers played IPL on fantasy gaming platforms and there is a match every day continuously,” said Sudhanshu Gupta, COO of Paytm First Games.

“We are expecting to grow 100 per cent (in terms of users) during this IPL... Given that 2019 was our first year in the industry, a comparison between last year and this year isn’t appropriate in our view. But, if I were to give you an idea, I would say a 9X increase in contest entry amount,” said Bhavin Pandya, co-founder, and CEO of Games24x7, which owns My11Circle.

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