Fantasy Sports Platforms Are Scoring Sixers This IPL Season!
Authored by Mitesh Gangar, CoFounder & Director, PlayerzPot Media, a leading Fantasy Gaming Platform
From Sachin Tendulkar conjuring a ‘Desert Storm’ in the late ’90s to 2020 where the gentleman’s game was played in stadiums, without an audience in the stands, cricket fans have witnessed highs and lows that they previously never imagined. Despite being unable to experience the euphoria of watching matches live at a stadium, the the mood amongst the cricket enthusiasts has hit fever pitch again, all thanks to the upcoming edition of the IPL and Online Fantasy Sports platforms.
IPL 2020 was a welcome break and a harbinger of things slowly moving back to normal. With fans cheering on their teams via a screen, the cricketing carnival resulted in a record-breaking number of eyeballs tuning in to watch the matches. As per BARC India viewership data, the tournament clocked a cumulative reach of 405 million viewers. With fantasy sports platforms thrust into the limelight with major title sponsorships and endorsements, the awareness amongst fans also increased exponentially, drawing a large number of users to these platforms.
With widespread awareness of the benefits and risks associated, coupled with massive marketing promotions, fans are thronging to fantasy sports platforms to engage with their favourite game and teams. And getting paid to do something you love and are good at, is an opportunity that few would turn down. With every Indian household sporting at least one connoisseur of the game, fantasy sports are fast becoming a serious option for fans in India, who are looking to make some extra money.
With confusion on the nature of the industry – whether they fall under ‘Games of Skill’ or ‘Games of Chance’, fighting legal bans across many states due to being classified under Real Money Games and a slew of negative publicity revolving around debts and associated deaths of players, online fantasy sports gaming industry has collectively rallied and powered through this all. The formation of the FIFS to self-regulate and provide a voice to the industry and tackle relevant concerns, has gone a long way to helping address some of the misinformation and stigma around the industry.
The industry saw platforms exploring new means of engaging audiences in the absence of live sporting events. From engagement through cricket leagues in Finland, Czech Republic, Switzerland and various other countries, to expanding into Real Money Games (RMG) like online Rummy, Poker etc, to introducing fun casual games like Bingo, Housie, Snakes & Ladders and Ludo etc, platforms have explored a plethora of methods to hold on their users.
However, with the IPL resuming, the smiles and excitement is back in full force! As per the recently released FIFS-KPMG Report, 30-40% of OFS platforms annual revenue is based on the IPL. A cancellation of the event could have seen a lot of startups in the space shut their operations. But with the new year dawning bright, and hope in sight with regards to vaccine availability, IPL is now ringing in fresh enthusiasm and excitement for all.