Are fantasy sports leagues the next big thing in India?

Fantasy sports apps

It is certainly a great time to be an online fan of sports like football or cricket. Not only can you watch and re-watch your team’s matches until kingdom come and track and compare the performances of your favourite players, now you can even don the hat of a manager and create your own dream teams with the numerous fantasy sports leagues coming to the fore.

A fantasy sports league is the perfect tool for any major tournament, to get it’s fans absolutely hooked to it. They ask one to invest their time and even money into selecting a few of their favourite players and tracking their performances throughout the tournament, which means watching every single match becomes a must.

In countries like the US, UK and Canada, fantasy leagues of NFL (National Football League), English Premier League etc. enjoy an almost unparalleled popularity, with them generating over USD 10 million in revenue with over 40 million users. And although it’s a relatively new concept in India, it’s certainly gaining a lot of traction as more and more sport leagues introduce a fantasy option. The most popular ones are Dream11 of the Indian Premier League and the McDonald’s FIFA Fantasy league, which has over 1 million downloads on the App Store and Google Play Store, given the current FIFA World Cup happening in Russia adding to the excitement.


The Nielsen Study

A report by Indian Federation of Sports Gaming and Nielsen called ‘SCORING BIG WITH SPORTS GAMING’ is one of the first ever reports made on fantasy sports in India. A survey across 2724 males in the age group of 18-35 years belonging to NCCS AB tier cities and followers of Cricket, Football or Kabaddi was conducted. The respondents were recruited across 12 cities for an all India Urban representation of the category.

Key findings of the report

It states that over 67% of online fans of cricket know about the existence of fantasy leagues and use them. It also says that due to the proliferation of budget friendly smartphones and internet connections, more and more people are getting acquainted with such leagues and they’re helping them transform into serious followers from just casual fans of the sport. And the report has found that these fans are not only emerging from large metro cities but also non-metros.

By asking the fans to build their own team, compare and contrast different players’ performances, join leagues and carefully track performances, these fantasy leagues are demanding that each fan gets completely immersed into the game and doesn’t passively consume the broadcasts in front of his/her television at home. With over 7 million people already on some sort of fantasy league in India, the numbers are growing steadily and soon every sports fan will have a dream team to support.

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