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Suspending IPL will slow down momentum, but life comes first, say gaming Cos

Over the last few years, we have seen several gaming companies piggybacking on the Indian Premier League (IPL) and build up tremendous traction while the tournament is on, and even beyond it. Online gaming platforms such as Dream 11, MPL, Ballebaazi.com, My11Circle, among many others, have built up a formidable user base in the last 2-3 years.

With people confined to their homes, gaming, along with online content consumption, emerged as the top activities of Indians during the pandemic period. IPL Season 13 last year saw a sizeable presence of gaming companies among the sponsors.

Thus, the suspension of IPL Season 14 due to COVID-19 infections could put a spanner to the growth of the gaming platforms, which are dependent on live matches. Downloads could also take a hit if the matches are not happening. In the absence of live cricket, there will be no real money gaming happening on these platforms, which is bound to impact their revenues.

According to industry reports, these platforms had planned campaign blitzkriegs and the outlay for the same was in the region of Rs 200 crore to 250 crore. These brands need to spend a lot to get downloads in millions while the matches are on. Some of the brands have also signed up celeb cricketers to promote their brands, which further increases the cost factor.

Speaking to Adgully on the impact of IPL 14 suspension, Mitesh Gangar, Co-founder & Director, PlayerzPot, “Right from the start of the IPL, PlayerzPot as a fantasy sports platform was doing good in terms of acquiring new users and scaling up the revenue growth. But the decision of suspending the IPL will definitely slow down the momentum for some time. The traction was strong during IPL 14; we saw 3x growth in user registrations per day and 2x growth in revenue as compared to the previous month (March). We were assuming to see more than 100 per cent growth in approximately 20-25 days of IPL 14, as compared to the season last year.”

He maintained that in terms of revenue, there is no major damage as of now, because the company started focusing majorly on digital assets and added that this will keep going on because digital is the key for any form of business marketing activities. “We are focusing on our existing users and catering to the newly acquired users during the last 25 days of promotion. Even though physical matches are not happening, the task of engaging the already acquired users will always be there. We are keeping our users engaged and are attracting new players through our series of casual gaming,” Gangar added.

He further said that this industry had already gone through the same situation last year, when the Government announced national lockdown to control the COVID-19 situation. “After witnessing the current situation, this was expected and hence, we were always careful in planning our marketing strategies and to run campaigns online. So, when it comes to marketing and advertising, we majorly started focusing on all the digital assets and collaboration,” he remarked.

For Saurabh Chopra, CEO, BalleBaazi.com, the safety of the players and their respected teams are of utmost importance in these unsettling times. He said, “We at BalleBaazi.com support and comply with the BCCI in their decision to suspend the Indian Premier League. We are encouraging our users to maintain social distancing and put their own safety as well as that of their loved ones’ as top priority. While India is battling the pandemic, we understand that cricket is undoubtedly India’s most loved sport. We are constantly discovering ways to connect with our users and bringing innovation to resonate with them better while maintaining their interest at the same time. With BalleBaazi’s sole mission being to create the best fantasy sports experience for audiences in India, we stay committed in offering a wide range of sports, including kabaddi, football, basketball and baseball.”

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